For a long time, every time I would clean out my closet, I would be left at the end with a three-foot-tall pile of black leggings that I simply could not get myself to recycle on. Some were ankle-length, some were calf-length, some had designs, others had pockets... and all of them, I convinced myself, had to remain in my closet — whether I wore them or not. No matter how my style changed over the years, I always needed an extra pair of leggings to throw on (or at least that’s what I told myself), even if I didn’t love every single one of them. They were just leggings, after all. And because of this mindset, I used to believe that all leggings were created equal. And then I tried Girlfriend Collective’s leggings.
The first time I tried Girlfriend’s leggings, I was writing a review of different plus size leggings and seeing how they compared to one another. I tried more than half a dozen pairs, and most were just fine. They did the job. But none could compete with Girlfriend. I’ve only tried Girlfriend’s classic compressive high-rise leggings and sports bras, but those two pieces alone had me convinced that I would never buy another pair of leggings anywhere else again. I loved how the pieces felt on my body. They were soft, yet sturdy and compressive enough to be functional for workouts. The leggings actually stayed at my waist when running instead of gradually falling down over a mile or so, and they were breathable enough to make wearing them in summer heat bearable. Being sustainably made and available up to a size 6XL was just the cherry on top of an already great experience.
Unsurprisingly, soon after trying Girlfriend, that pile of unworn plain black leggings started to feel a little bit different to me. And while I haven’t quite donated or given away all of those old black leggings yet, I do know that I won’t be purchasing another pair unless they’re Girlfriend. And, if my leggings do get worn out, I have the option to recycle them with Girlfriend's "ReGirlfriend" upcycle program. Trying leggings that I loved — that made me excited to put them on and wear out in the world — reminded me that just because an item is functional doesn’t mean it has to be boring. It doesn’t mean that item shouldn’t make us feel as good as possible. Clothing should bring us all joy, even if it’s the type of clothing that has been deemed basic or boring. When you really love a piece of clothing, it doesn’t matter what it is or where you’re wearing it, because it can never basic or boring in that case.
None of us really need ten pairs of black leggings — or ten pieces of any single type of clothing for that matter, probably — if each and every one of those pieces doesn’t make us feel great when we put them on. Why feel “just OK” about clothes when you can feel amazing? Leggings might not seem like the most exciting, groundbreaking type of clothing in the world. But feeling good about your clothes every day, in every moment, especially if you are a size that is often ignored in the fashion world — well, that actually is kind of groundbreaking.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.