While you might have a LBD you swear by for last-minute fancy occasions, what about some LBL — little black leggings — for your date nights with Netflix? In recent years, leggings have become an essential wardrobe staple, as trends in athleisure have supercharged the market.
Ideal for trans-Atlantic overnight flights, blowing off steam in your favorite boxing class, or pairing with a smart blazer and heels for a networking event, simple, sleek and well-fitting leggings are multipurpose.
The hurdle, of course, is figuring out how to find the right style for your shape and ensuring your leggings are appropriate for the occasion. Thanks to the popularity of this aesthetic, plenty of companies have created a wide range of cuts, embellishments and purposes.
Here, some of our favorite black leggings for, well, everything:
Great for slimming: Belly Bandit Mother Tucker Legging ($79.95; amazon.com)
Everyone has areas of their body they wish they could improve. While we all know you should practice healthy self-love and not put yourself down, there are leggings that help to slim your middle section, making you more comfortable to attend yoga class, pick up groceries or meet up with pals for Sunday brunch. High-waisted and featuring this brand’s signature “Muffinology” technology, these are meant to smooth and shape so you won’t have to worry about how much you’re showing or any bumps.
Great for errands: David Learner Classic High-Rise Legging ($66; shopbop.com)
Sometimes when your weekend is packed with to-do list errands, you can feel like you need a weekend to recover from your weekend. To make getting around town easier — and let’s face, it, more comfortable — consider these chic high-rise leggings. They sculpt to your body with ease and are ideal with an oversized sweater, flannel shirt or even under a dress. You won’t have to worry about giving anyone a peep show from behind when you’re bending down or lifting up, since these are truly black.
Great for work: Crane & Lion Original Tights ($95; amazon.com)
The structure of this attractive pair of tights makes them versatile, but the thickness means they’re definitely work-appropriate. If you pair them with a long jacket or blazer and give yourself some height on your footwear, you’ll look smart and trendy — and no one will notice you’re rockin’ leggings. Especially for those sweaty-palm board meetings or presentations, you’ll appreciate their “CoolMax” crotch gusset that’s meant to keep you cool.
Great for year-round: Tani USA Silkcut Leggings ($55; amazon.com)
Though you might be more keen to wear heavy-duty leggings in the winter to keep warm, you’ll need lightweight options for when the sun finally decides to show its face. These ridiculously soft leggings are thin and airy, making them a solid bet for a long tunic. You’ll want to make sure you wear a top that covers your bottom with these, since the material can become opaque for some body shapes and sizes.
Great for dates: Commando Control Top Leggings ($72; nordstrom.com)
Meeting up with your No. 1 — or someone you think could be The One? You’ll want to wow with your grand entrance on date night, and these leggings will do the trick. They’re sleek, slimming and contoured to fit every curve. Made with European fabrics, they’re a bit more luxe than a lot of other leggings, making them the right choice for special occasions. We suggest a wrap dress with these LBL.
Great for running outside: Free Country Women’s B Uplifted Legging ($39.88-$50; amazon.com)
No matter the season or the temperature, you can’t resist getting in a quick run. But when the weather is less than rosy and the sun sets before you leave the office, you need a pair of leggings to keep you warm and safe. These four-way stretch jersey black leggings allow you to hit the ground running, literally. They’re comfortable, flattering and feature a reflective logo, so you don’t have to worry about them falling down, or someone not seeing you as you glow along your path.
Great for namaste-ing: Hyde Yoga Laurel Leggings ($87.33; amazon.com)
The birthplace of leggings was a yoga studio. Okay, perhaps not really, but one of the most essential uses for workout pants is when you’re mastering your vinyasa. As you flow from one pose to another, these organic cotton leggings stretch with your body and stay up high above your hips so you can focus on engaging your core, not on wondering if you’re flashing someone behind you in class.
Great for high-intensity classes: Manduka Women’s High Line Leggings ($63.73, originally $98; amazon.com)
You’re not sure how it happened, but your overeager and highly energetic bestie is in town, and she’s somehow persuaded you to join her at a boot camp class. You love her — and OK, hate her — and you know you’ll need to give all your attention to not falling off a treadmill. To your rescue are these high-line leggings, perfect for cardio-heavy workouts. From boxing to Tabata and everything in between, grab a few pairs so you can keep up with your pal.
Note: The prices above reflect the retailers’ listed prices at the time of publication.