Boy oh boy, leggings are misunderstood. What’s not to love about these incredibly comfortable and increasingly sophisticated pieces? If you don’t already know it, leggings are versatile and flattering. Find the right pair, and you’ve got a wardrobe basic you’ll turn to time and again.

To be clear, we aren’t talking athletic wear, but curve-hugging stretch pants that are appropriate everyday wear. A decade ago, you would have been hard pressed to find legging designs that went beyond basic cotton-blend knits in solid colours. Then came the jegging, the legging’s durable denim cousin. In the last few years, however, companies, like Lyssé and Brenda Beddome, have pushed the boundaries with a host of new and sophisticated textiles that give today’s leggings some of the substance of your favourite pants.

The basic characteristics remain the same: fabrics are breathable, machine-washable and provide a comfy four-way stretch. What’s fresh is the variety of new fabric designs and weights that are off the charts: ponte (a premium, stretch-rayon blend), vegan leather, vegan suede, and knit denim. Once dominant solids have moved over to make room for stylish checks, plaids and herringbone patterns.

In terms of fit, leggings should follow your curves without being overly tight. Too tight, and you won’t enjoy their claim to fame as a comfortable, second skin. Too loose, on the other hand, and the unique, sleek silhouette is lost. When leggings fit properly, they are slimming. If you’re modest about your curves, you can relax knowing that many leggings are now designed with control-top panels.

Put together properly, leggings are more than stretchy lounge pants. Pair them with a beautiful cashmere sweater or knit wrap for an easy, sophisticated look. Relax your style with a youthful vibe by matching them with an oversized boyfriend shirt. When you pull your favourite leggings on under a tunic or dress, they work like a cozy, contemporary pair of leotards. Wear your favourite dressy leggings with a tailored jacket and your polished style will naturally take you from the office to a night out.

Convinced? We are. Long live leggings!