Athletic and leisure? Sign me up! Outfits that make a plus size gal look like she’s a gym warrior but is also down for a plate of fries? Yes, please. Athleisure outfits are one of my favorite. Long gone are the days of basic cotton see-through plain black leggings. Leggings are now getting styled up as more people embrace it’s comfortable stretchy powers. My new obsession? Stretch mesh leggings from EXPRESS.
I have always sworn by the Banana Republic loungewear legging as being go-to for comfort. The soft cotton on though makes it hard to dress up due to it’s t-shirt like appearance. It offers great coverage though, and a lot of room in the waist band to fit someone XXL and up. But, when I discovered Express’s athleisure mesh leggings line I become a quick convert. I don’t usually drop $50 on a pair of black stretchy pants but when they look good, feel good, and are opaque, you can’t go wrong.
OC views & stretch mesh leggings
This is one of my favorite spots in Orange County. It’s a light hike up a dirty path to a rocky landing that overlooks all of Irvine, Tustin and Santa Ana. During Friday nights and throughout the weekend, this spot is a popular hangout for teenagers. What they are doing here I can only imagine. Though, the following monday when I do an evening hike up the hill I do tend to find a lot of empty beer cans.
What’s great about these mesh leggings is that you can wear them to the gym and wear them out to hang with friends. In this case, I did a quick hike in plain ol’ slip on shoes and a poncho. It was pretty early in the morning and the rest of the OC hadn’t woken up yet. The fiance and I wanted to do our usual brunch routine but realized at the rate we were eating, we really need to fit in more exercise. I was easily able to take this athleisure look from the hills of OC to Eat Chow for a breakfast burger and cup of coffee.
Mesh leggigs as pants debate: pro or against?
When leggings first started to take over the fast fashion scene in 2009, it seems there was a strong group for leggings as pants. On the flip side, there was also a strong group against leggings as pants. I don’t understand what the issue is with wearing leggings as pants. I would wear yoga pants out in public. They make my ass look great! I also wear skinny jeans out in public. But alas, people are still so hostile to the idea that you can wear leggings without having a shirt or dress cover your butt. A good pair of leggings, like these mesh leggings, are thick and decently structured to stay up.
Now, if you buy the leggings in a pack from say, Charlotte Russe or Forever21 and expect them to be quality, think again. Any item you get from a pack or is wrapped in a way that hosier would be, you can bet is see through. In the dawn of leggings, these used to be the only way to get them. Most of the time the fabric was stiff, cheap, see-through and barely came up to your mid section, let alone stayed there when you would walk around in them. Not wearable in the slightest.
Leggings aren’t just for comfort anymore
Leggings have come so far since 2009! Higher quality brands like Express now make them in breathable material for a range of sizes. Hello, these mesh leggings are a size large and they also come in extra large. You can pull them up over your tummy without worrying about having a camel toe too. Beyond just the material and quality, retailers are finally diversifying the styles. In 2010, I could never get mesh leggings or ripped distressted leggings.
Leggings are thunder thighs’ best friends
This summer I literally never wore shorts. Shorts used to be a summer time staple for me since Southern California gets so hot. Not any more. Because leggings come in so many varietys, cuts, styles, and colors, you can wear them almost all year round. The mesh panels on these leggings make it breathable and give this look a little extra flair. I even have a pair of ripped leggings that are so torn up (intentionally) that I had goose bumps while wearing them a few weekends ago.
If you are wondering why anyone on earth would wear leggings during summer, I’m guessing you are a proud owner of a thigh gap. You see, when the earth warms up and the days get longer, the beaches get crowded, and ice cream sales sore, the thighs get sweatier. When the thighs get sweatier and you are not an owner of a thigh gap, there is just too much love and friction between your legs to have a good day. If you haven’t ever experienced thigh chafing, consider yourself lucky.
Protecting your inner thighs from chaffing
Leggings protect your inner thighs from chafing in the summer. It used to be embarrassing to wear them during the warmer months, but leggings are so common place now that no one even notices. Which is great for us! That means athleisure can be rocked all year round and no one will bat an eye.
Having something easy and comfortable to throw on is always a plus. I can’t tell you how many times I needed a pair of pants to just walk out the door in. When the majority of your clothes veer more on the comfortable side, you can have fun with different styles athleisure styles. T-shirts and leggings don’t have to be boring! Just look at all of Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid’s street style photos. Most of the time they are rocking athleisure to some extent. It all comes down to how you style it.
You can make a basic athleisure look more interesting by adding some layering pieces like a leather jacket. Or, like I did with this look I added a cape. If it’s too hot for a layering piece, consider tying a knot in a loose t-shirt or rolling up your leggings to show off more of your shoe.
Mirly black glitter slip on shoe – ASOS – $30 (Get ones like it here)
Green native graphic print tank – Qs fashion – $10 (Get a similar graphic tank here)
Knit black and beige hooded cape – gift (Get one like it here)
Outfit total: about $113
Shop the look:
I also styled this tank in a similar fashion in this Tribal knit poncho look.