Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Stretching It: How London Fell for the Power Legging; Trends; on the Treadmill and on the Tube -- the Capital's Fittest Women Won't Leave Home without Their Lycra, Says Emma McCarthy

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Stretching It: How London Fell for the Power Legging; Trends; on the Treadmill and on the Tube -- the Capital's Fittest Women Won't Leave Home without Their Lycra, Says Emma McCarthy

Article excerpt

Byline: Emma McCarthy

IF YOU'VE stood in line at Starbucks recently, or joined the queue for a green juice in Whole Foods, you'll have noticed that our faithful jeans have become second-class citizens. Leggings have stolen their crown. No longer saved for soya-swilling yogis, Notting Hill's school-gate mums and avocadoshopping in Waitrose, leggings have taken up the mantle as the go-to offduty staple for high-performing London women. These days our stretchy sidekicks are rarely far from our side -- and that's whether we're bound for the gym or not.

But this newfound love of the power legging is more than just the mark of a time-poor Londoner -- it signifies a cultural shift in the way we view sportswear. Trainers, and their transformation from streetwear to high fashion, are the other obvious example. Nowadays we're so attached to our Stan Smiths that it's almost impossible to comprehend a time when it wasn't acceptable to wear them in the office. And it is this relaxation in dress codes that has led to leggings' emergence as acceptable apparel -- whatever your agenda. So much so in fact that wearing your workout gear away from the exercise mat has become a means through which we boast about our healthy lifestyles.

"The wellness revolution has meant that working out and eating well have become somewhat of a status symbol," agrees Sally Dixon, a former fashion director turned Pilates instructor and founder of luxury sportswear label Every Second Counts. "It's become socially acceptable -- if not applauded -- to be seen in your workout kit; and let's face it, they're so much more comfortable than a pair of jeans."

Agreed. But what to look for in the perfect pair? For Caroline Lucey, founder of sportswear e-tailer ActiveinStyle, versatility is key. "You should be able to add trainers, a sports bra and tank and be ready to work out, or throw on a loose tee and a jacket and go to a meeting or to lunch," she advises. Her current leggings of choice include Lorna Jane's bold jungle-print pair, or the monochrome rose-print versions by ethical Aussie brand Dharma Bums, while Dixon suggests that we consider comfort above all else. …

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