Welcome to Refinery29’s So, How Is It Really? where we take a look at all of the topics that have the internet talking. In studying them up close, we answer the question of what it’s really like to try out a trend, a viral product, or an unexpected TikTok hack.
Let me preface this by saying that I never wear leggings outside the house (the only exception is the gym). Even at the height of the loungewear craze when the lines between indoor/outdoor clothing blurred, I remained loyal to my jeans. The leggings I own are too sheer (visible panty lines are the bane of my existence) or too thin or too casual. And if I were to wear them in the winter — at subzero temps — well, I might as well be not wearing anything at all.
But then I discovered fleece leggings, courtesy of Cuddl Duds, the brand famous for making heat-insulating layers feel like a hug (or a cuddle, if you will). And so, on one chilly, plan-filled Saturday, I decided to eschew my normal sweater-jeans combo and, for the first time, build multiple outfits around leggings.
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The first thing I noticed about this particular pair is that they’re incredibly soft and luxuriously thick. As soon as I slipped them on, my legs felt toasty and warm — a sure sign that they’d be shielded from the chilly, 50-degree morning. A butt mirror check banished my worst fears: no underwear lines. The first stop was brunch with friends, and the only available reservation the restaurant had was “patio” seating, which meant we'd be eating outdoors. Great.
I’m a cold-weather gal through and through (I grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago, went to college at Syracuse University — where it snowed from October to April — and now reside in New York City), but I am, not to be overly dramatic, terrified of the cold. So, I styled my leggings with not one, but three different tops: a turtleneck, a printed fleece top for a pop of interest, and a fleece zip-up (the thumbholes are especially cool). Since it was windy, I added gloves and earmuffs because, again, the cold. To finish, I dressed up my look with a pair of white Chelsea boots.
I ran a couple of errands before making a quick stop at home for an outfit change — a date(!) in the park. The aesthetic I wanted to convey: impossibly cool and unapologetically bold. That meant layering a checker-print top over a black turtleneck, a sleek leather jacket, grungy platform boots, and leather gloves. Same leggings, but a whole different vibe. (The date went well, in case you were wondering.)
Am I a leggings person now? If anything, I’m most definitely a fleece leggings person. The biggest takeaway: a fleece pair is the ultimate winter essential. Expect to see me living in these for the next three months.