Oh my gosh, is this what a panic attack feels like? I can't go in there. I look crazy, right? I'm totally "that girl." Who do I think I am wearing this to a barre class? Bella Hadid? People are going to stare at me. I can't handle that right now. I'm going to change. No. Don't change. Just do it. You might feel good afterward. No one even cares what you look like. No one will even be looking at you. Lauren, get out of your head, and walk in there. You've got this.
That was the inner monologue that played every single time I wore one of the four controversial legging trends I am about to share with all of you. I'll be honest—at first, it was scary, intimidating, and I definitely felt out of my comfort zone, but by the end of this "controversial" experience, I can say it was well worth it. In fact, some of the pairs I tried are actually my new favorites.
We frequently talk about leggings and legging trends of all kinds here on Who What Wear, especially ones that err more on the controversial side. You know, naked leggings, white leggings, unitards—the leggings we all like to admire on supermodels but are too anxious to try on our own. Well, I took one for the team and decided I should give some of the most talked-about risky legging trends a try IRL as a non-supermodel, non-celeb, normal girl who just likes cute workout clothes.
Alo Yoga was generous enough to provide me with the legging trends I was searching for, including naked leggings, white leggings, uni-leggings, and corset leggings. After all, they are one of the biggest trendsetting athleisure brands around. Here, you'll get a glimpse into my life and thought process as I tested these styles out in actual workout classes. Find out if people stared at me, complimented me, and how each trend made me feel below.
Go on to read about my experience testing out four controversial legging trends in real life.
Yep, I went there: white leggings. Trust me, I was just as nervous to try them as you might think. My first time around (because yes, I wore them twice throughout this process), I wore them to hot yoga sculpt class. I figured yoga is zen and pure just like these leggings, so this is the perfect class to try them in. Considering I was already nervous they would be see-through and show dips and curves I typically try to hide, this was not the best choice. As you know, yoga requires a lot of bendy movements, compromising positions, and, in this particular class, sweating. Every time I went into Standing Split, bent over, or transitioned into Warrior Two whilst knowing my neighbor had a full-access view to my backside, I felt extremely uncomfortable.
The good news is Alo Yoga's High-Waist Moto Leggings are in fact not see-through at all. I was just in my head too much, and because of that, yoga was not the place for me, personally, to wear this legging trend. I decided to give these babies another try and wore them to a classic reformer Pilates class. In this class, I was on my own reformer, everyone in the class was lying down a majority of the time, and the machine requires so much attention to detail that I felt confident no one was looking around (i.e. at me). It was during this class that I fell in love with these white leggings and actually felt confident while wearing them. They made me feel fashion-forward, totally on-brand for Pilates in general, and extremely accomplished for trying something that pushed me out of my comfort zone.
What I Learned: Wear white leggings to Pilates, barre, or any other class that requires small, isolated movements and minimal sweating.
You may or may not remember when Bella Hadid rocked the exact set pictured and totally pulled it off. Did I compare myself to her while wearing this set and feel inadequate? Yes. (I'm human, okay?!) I wore this matching "naked" set to a barre-like sculpting class, and it was the perfect place to wear it. The instructor was a dancer and ended up complimenting my full nude look after the class, which made me feel really good. That's not to say I wasn't completely nervous to strut into a class I frequently go to wearing a head-to-toe statement-making look.
I definitely got some stares, but I expected that. It's not every day someone wears nude leggings and a nude sports bra to a workout class. A lot of the sculpting we did took place on a mat in front of a mirror, so you know I was checking myself out the whole time analyzing where the leggings hit me, how the color looked on my skin tone, and of course, thinking about what I was going to say about them in this story. After a lot of staring at myself and a full iPhone photo shoot with my BFF, I once again grew to love this controversial legging trend.
What I Learned: These leggings can show underwear lines easier than your typical black pair, which is completely understandable, so plan accordingly. I did sweat through them a tad, so I recommend wearing these to a low-intensity workout like barre or Pilates.
Did I wear a unitard to a workout class? Yes, yes I did. Did I enjoy every second of it? Yes, yes I did. To preface, I grew up as a ballet dancer, meaning I pretty much lived my entire childhood in leotards. I really don't even think I owned a pair of leggings until college. That being said, slipping into a unitard, or "uni-leggings" as I like to call them, weirdly felt like home.
I wore this getup to a ballet barre class which you may be thinking is a cop-out because leotard-like apparel is welcome and expected there, but you've got to give me a break. I wore white leggings to a hot yoga class for heaven's sake! Anyway, this two-in-one piece is so incredibly comfortable and insanely convenient that you almost forget about workout tops. The mesh detailing on the side breathes some life into the piece, and I am all for it. You can't see from the photos I took (shout-out to all my co-workers for helping me shoot this story), but the back is even cuter than the front and has total ballerina vibes.
What I Learned: Unitards are amazing. Everyone should try one. The end.
While these might seem like the least controversial of the bunch, they still made me a little anxious to wear to a workout class. This was another pair that I wore two times during this experience. The first was to a boxing class. I paired the leggings with an oversize black T-shirt to combat the exposed sides of my legs. Maybe this was just due to my body type, or maybe I should have gotten a different size, but the lace-up sides were a lot wider on me than they are on the model, but I didn't mind. These were perfect for boxing which is extremely high-impact, involves a lot of sweat and movement, and is basically no joke. The leggings stood up against the intensity and made me feel confident throughout the entire class.
A lot of people gave me compliments when I wore them again to a hot yoga class. The yoga community is a little more in-tune with workout clothing trends than the small boxing gym I go to, so this was kind of expected. To no surprise, these leggings served me just as well in yoga as they did in boxing and actually cooled me down a bit since the room can get a little toasty.
What I Learned: These are a great pair of leggings to own for those days when you can't wear your go-to pain black ones anymore. Switch it up with this fun trend.
In case you haven't noticed, the more I stepped outside of my comfort zone, the more I learned to not only love these controversial legging trends but also to love my body. Being able to feel good while wearing certain items I had subconsciously deemed as only appropriate for the celebs and It girls of the world was a definite confidence booster—a good reminder that anyone, with any body type, at any age, can wear whatever they want as long as it makes them feel good about themselves. I encourage everyone to push themselves when it comes to fashion whether that be in the athleisure realm or your day-to-day attire. You never know what you will learn about yourself.
What are some trends you're too nervous to try? Let us know in the comments below!