Ah, black leggings—I love to hate them. I’ve tried many in my day: different fabrics, cuts, rises…. I’m a relatively active person who only wears black, so you’d think they’d be my bread and butter. But I’m also someone who cares a lot about aesthetics (hello, fashion editor), and it’s not easy to make black leggings feel special. In my book, the ultimate find would be a pair that is fitness-friendly but also incredibly stylish, ones that, indeed, you can wear as pants. For a while I thought this idea was too good to be true.
Then I was introduced to Époque Évolution. The line was founded by two friends, who traveled together to Morocco: One noticed the other packed everything she needed—for hiking, wandering, cocktails, dinner, and everything in-between—in a single backpack, which inspired them to design clothing so versatile and no-fuss, you could fit it all into a small bag and not have to worry about it. That turned into a collection of tops, sweaters, skirts, dresses, jackets, and trousers—all made from sustainable materials—that retail for under $500. And that includes its signature Orion leggings, which come in at $98.
What instantly drew me to the Orion—other than the price—was the measured slit on either leg, right at the ankle. It reminded me of a pair of leggings that had come down the Céline Fall 2016 runway that I never got my hands on, something I regret to this day. (Phoebe Philo forever.) That collection was a seminal one for the Great Leggings-as-Pants Comeback, encouraging styling people everywhere to wear their black leggings under dresses, tunics, and so on. Céline instantly made it the cool thing to do—but because I couldn’t get those black leggings, I never actually tried the trend for myself. Since then, more designers, from Paco Rabanne and Jil Sander to Off-White and Burberry, have introduced their own version of the Fashion Legging, with have made me even more eager to incorporate it into my day-to-day.
It wasn’t just the Philo-ness of the slit that I loved—it was also the material and fit: high-waisted with a wide, no-pitch waistband that doesn’t dig in, made from a sleek 35% Lycra, 65% Econyl fabric that doesn’t pill. The leggings are also water-friendly, meaning you can literally do water sports or swim in them, and the quick-drying, moisture-wicking style will hold up. Other cool things about them: They come with built-in sun protection (UPF50) and don’t sag or stretch out with wear.
When I wore the Orion leggings to the office—because yes, I wear these to work—someone stopped to ask me if they were indeed Céline. (Is there a greater compliment you could give a fashion editor?) They’ve come with me to yoga and Pilates, on dog walks and road trips, and to professional functions. I’ve worn them with Birkenstocks, sneakers, kitten heels…any shoe, really, because the slit is great for showing off your footwear.
For me, these leggings aren’t an afterthought, or a lazy-day outfit solution—they’re my new go-to bottoms, for any and every scenario. I’ve turned two other editors onto them: Both are new moms who were looking for pants that looked chic but would also allow them to keep up with their kids. Between the three of us, we’ve really put them to the test. Our conclusion? These are truly the ultimate black leggings.
You can shop Époque Évolution’s Orion leggings here.