Regardless of what is happening in fashion and trends, the female leg is essential for all seasons. Legs are no longer hidden during Fall/Winter waiting for their yearly debut when the warm weather hits. The leg is now featured year round peeping out from under dresses, skirts, leather shorts and tunics. The significance of the leg brings back a new, important focus on leggings. When searching for the perfect legging, it is important to consider fabric, shape, comfort and appearance. There are so many options available when it comes to leggings, so let’s break it down.

In terms of a high-end designer legging, The Row is the best by far. They manage to produce the ideal legging in every fabric season after season. They are the most well fitting, luxurious and comfortable legging on the market that will last forever. Unfortunately, leggings from The Row come with a less appealing price tag that makes them unrealistic for most consumers. (They range from $500 – $2000 depending on the fabric.) If we take it down a notch, Helmut Lang is my next choice. (They range from $200- $1000.) Helmut Lang offers a fabulous jean inspired legging in a variety of colors along with some nice leather and classic styles.

There are fashion leggings out there in the $160 dollar price range that I believe are well worth the investment. The best of the bunch is Live the Process. This legging shapes the body and keeps it tight without creating unnecessary lines and bulges that tend to come out with brands like Spanx. Live the Process leggings are super comfy with a high waist that is comfortable and flattering. It can be folded or cinched on someone who is not comfortable in high waisted garments. The lines on this legging are stitched in just the right way to accentuate the best angles and create a slimming effect. Live the Process leggings even come in a cool white and black zip pouch, which makes you feel like you are truly buying something special.

For the person who is looking to expand their legging collection and venture out into some cool prints, We Are Handsome is an amazing collection. They are form fitting, comfortable, unique leggings offered in great prints that are colorful, whimsical or animal inspired. When worn in the right setting and paired with the right top and accessories, these rock the world of leggings! They are also celeb favorites. Style icons like Rhianna, Beyonce, Diane Kruger and my girl, Kate Moss, are often spotted in We are Handsome. These leggings are not cheap (they range from $200-$300), but I do not recommend cheaping out on printed leggings – the difference is marked.

If you are not one willing to shell out over a hundred dollars on a pair of leggings, American Apparel is my recommendation. They have a huge selection of leggings in an assortment of colors, fabrics and prints. All are easy, comfy and well priced (They range from $30 – $60). I think the best American Apparel leggings are the basics. One is light weight and appropriate year round. The other is heavier and lined for the cold weather. I also like the black lame metallic legging. It has a similar look and feel to a leather legging for a portion of the price. I was less impressed with American Apparel’s novelty styles like prints, riding pants and denim inspired leggings. Unfortunately, they look the price and do not have the same effect as the designer version. H&M and Top Shop are also very popular options at this price point, but I prefer American Apparel.

The final category of leggings is produced as gym, dance and yoga wear. However, there are some great, sporty leggings that can remain undetected outside of the gym/studio when styled well. Some great options are Danskin, Capezio and Lululemon. All are as flattering as they are comfortable and long lasting. I often wear my Lululemons with boots and a cute top and no one is the wiser! The dual purpose of an athletic legging makes the investment easier to swallow when it can be worn often in all venues. (Danskin/Capezio range from $30 – $60. Lululemon is pushing $100 but are thicker and more durable than the other two options that tend to be more opaque and fragile.)

I also stand by Under Armor for working out. They last forever, shape the body and absorb sweat well. However, I would not wear these outside of the gym!

Now let’s talk money:

The cheapest leggings out there are often the least flattering and don’t last long. When you pay $9.99 for leggings, do not expect high quality, comfort or longevity. Be prepared to discard and replace these after a few wash and wears. Would you rather go this route and replace leggings every couple of months or buy one good pair infrequently? The decision is yours.