I’ve had a love-hate relationship with leggings since I was about 20 years old. Being both plus sized (a 20 at that point) and a wee alt-babe, I was always on the hunt for a bold print or design to build up my wardrobe. I would learn quickly that not all size 2/3x’s were created equal and that I would have to do some research on fabrics to understand what exactly I was buying. In these days, Modcloth (still under original ownership), carried leggings that would actually go over my hips/waist/stomach and not stop dramatically short of my navel before rolling down to the mid thigh area. Soon after, my search for comfortable leg-wear lead me to a dedicated plus size shop, Chubby Cartwheels and their fantastic creator Shawna (whom I still follow and order from periodically today!).
In my mid 20’s, my interests in leggings dwindled. I had found new items I wanted in my closet, my fashion sense was evolving, and joggers had become an acceptable clothing item to wear both to work as well as around campus. It wouldn’t until about 2019 or so that my love for the stretchy bottoms would come back. There was just something about the look of leggings and large sweaters or hoodies in Autumn last year, it was effortlessly cute and comfortable and pushed me to find ways to make leggings work year round.
Here are some brands and shops that I currently keep my eyes peeled for while shopping for leggings:
I own three pairs of leggings from Pastelaxy and that’s only because these are the only prints the shop currently offers. I cannot say enough good about the brand or the owner who not only answered my sizing questions but also generously offered to replace my last order when it went missing on route from overseas production for over 4 months. Thankfully the package turned up and I was able to add the Banana and Pink Strawberry prints to my collection.
Pricing: $38 AUD (about $26 USD at the time of entry submission)
Sizing: They go all the way up to 5X!
Notes: These have excellent stretch.
If you’re more interested in the darker, goth portion of my wardrobe, you’ll be happy to know that Killstar does indeed carry some plus size options for leggings every few releases. However, much like the rest of Killstar’s plus size range- it’s often a toss up.
I only own two pairs of leggings from them and they couldn’t be more different from one another. One pair is a soft, jersey-like material that feels fairly thin but stretches without going white or losing the Skeletor print (yes, I got those Skeletor leggings) on my thighs. I bought them in a size 4X and they have plenty of room left to go on me. I probably could have sized down to 3X but I wasn’t sure how tight they would be and didn’t want to miss out on the release by waiting for someone else’s review.
The other pair is a very beautiful velvet pair with a cutout design. This pair was also purchase in a size 4X but is not nearly as stretchy- in fact they just about fit my hips and probably wouldn’t fit anyone with more than about a 54 or 55 inch hip measurement.
Pricing: About $40 a pair without a sale
Sizing: up to a 4X but inconsistent
Notes: Check for fabrics, their Instagram tag for real people wearing the leggings, or just… take a chance. (This is the best I could do without tossing up a shrug emoji lol.)
I was aware of BlackMilk for years before ever actually getting anything. I envied blog posts and selfies from ‘Sharkies’ with their hauls and their ability to participate in the fun, sometimes competitive, world of collecting. That was, until I learned this stretchy secret- the brand does not currently have a dedicated plus size range but many of their items can accommodate plus size bodies. For reference, I’m 5’3″ and about a 52 inch bust, a fluctuating 41-44 inch waist, and a 53-54 inch hip- and I have several BlackMilk dresses, tops, and leggings.
For anyone interested, I have 2 bits of advice:
1. Shop second hand before shopping direct. I was able to get my hands on a rare pair of Adventure Time BMO leggings on Depop for cheap to test the stretch. In fact, most of my items from this brand are second hand as I missed so many fun prints over the years.
2. Get familiar with the different styles. In my Poshmark adventures, I found a pair of BlackMilk‘s toasties (a slightly thicker line of leggings with light fleece lining for cold weather wear) and learned that while I could still fit them, they were far more snug than the various types of legging fabric they use. And there are many types.
Pricing (New): $39-$89 AUD ($28-$64 USD)
Pricing (Secondhand): $30 USD all the way to $100 USD if it’s a rare print
Sizing: XLs in certain fabrics stretch to an US 3X/22 (no specific plus size)
Notes: BM makes wardrobe basic solid colors as well as licensed fan merch and art prints, the prices of both used and new leggings will depend on this and where or not it was a limited release.
Aaaah the shop that started it all in this alternative fashion journey of mine. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the changes Hot Topic has made over the years but adding a full plus size range has been my favorite. The leggings they offer are usually very stretchy and true to size. I don’t own many because I seem to miss the prints I would really like and make it to the site just in time to see the same Pusheen print pair that has been on sale for half a year… Ahem. But last Autumn, I was able to grab a nice pair of shredded leggings as well as a basic black that is just the right amount of sheer. They also make fantastic bike shorts!
Pricing: Around $30 new but Hot Topic often has sales!
Sizing: 1X up to 6X!
Notes: This store is really good for people who want to grab articles of clothing that rep their fandoms and pop culture interests.
This is another shop I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to the owner of and getting to know. It started one day when I noticed a friend’s super cute photographs featuring some TokiDoki leggings that sent me all the way back to my teen years. I have always loved TokiDoki prints and had to ask about sizing to see if there was any way I could make PlushiePink a part of my wardrobe. After some helpful advice from the shop owner, I went ahead and got two pairs as well as some hot pants and a crop top to test out the fit.
I. Was. Stunned. Everything fit like a dream and I was shocked to only need a size 2X! No uncomfortably snug bits either. If anything, I could have likely sized down to a 1X for the a fit similar to the BM leggings I have. The 2X could definitely accommodate someone with up to about 55 inch hips (probably larger) or a US 24. And there is even a size 3X above it. I really appreciated the personal sizing help I got before placing my order, PlushiePink is definitely all about customer satisfaction.
Pricing: Around $47 USD
Sizing: Goes up to 3X (where available)
Notes: Don’t underestimate the stretch!
I hope this helps in your search for fun leggings!