Girlfriend Collective Leggings

You probably saw the storm of posts from your friends on Facebook — the up-and-coming company Girlfriend Collective ran a promotion to give away their leggings for free (although you pay the $20 shipping from the factory in Vietnam). I decided to go for it because I love leggings, and it’s nice to try a new brand without spending the $50+ good-quality leggings cost nowadays. I knew that even if I didn’t wear them much, $20 is not a huge loss.

As I read about the company, the more I was sold. The company is fair-trade and uses recycled materials (they fully explain all of this on their website). In fact, the leggings are made from recycled water bottles, yet the company claims that they’re extremely soft. They also claim that these leggings keep you warm when it’s cold, and cool when it’s hot. Oh, any they’re quick-drying, so you won’t feel gross while wearing them, and they dry in just a few hours after you wash them. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like either pure magic or marketing lies. Either way, I wanted to find out for myself.

I placed my order back in January, right before the promotion ended. I was told they’d ship in April. Sure enough, I got an email at the end of March telling me to expect a shipping confirmation, and I got the tracking number in mid-April. As soon as the leggings arrived, I had another email from them with a note about the fit. It was basically a reminder that these are compression leggings and might feel tight at first, but over time the leggings will shape to your body without losing their shape (they apparently have a 98% bounce back rate!).

The package

The leggings arrived in a double-bag. I unfortunately don’t have a photo of it.

The tag has a quick summary of the fabric and factory. What I was most interested in testing out was the claim that these leggings are “sheer-proof and soft as a cloud full of kittens.” Obviously, I can’t make a direct comparison to a cloud full of kittens, but I can imagine.

Feel

Now for the real test: how do these leggings feel? I first wore them for a quick walk and shopping trip. My first impression was that the leggings are very thick and warm. It was a chilly night, so I was grateful for that!

And yes, these leggings are incredibly soft, yet strong. It turns out the description was pretty accurate. However, I don’t know if they’ll stay soft over time, or even after the first wash. I trust that they won’t lose too much softness, but you never know!

It’s also very clear that these are compression leggings. They felt really supportive. I wondered if they’d be too thick for a workout, though, so my next wear was to the gym for some strength training. I was a bit worried they would be too hot and my legs would get sweaty and gross ten minutes in (the worst!). Luckily, they weren’t too hot despite being thicker than my other leggings, and I felt totally dry at the end of my session. Plus, these leggings are truly squat-proof. I wasn’t worried at all about giving my fellow gym-goers a show.

So, all my boxes are checked here.

Fit

Fit is where I have more mixed feelings. I obviously can’t speak to these forming to your body or anything, since I’ve only worn them a handful of times. But I may have ordered a size too big.

I’m always an XS or S in leggings, depending on the brand. But I hate how hard it can be to get leggings on, and I do feel like a lot of the XS leggings I purchased when I was underweight might not be the size I’d go for if I were purchasing the same pairs today. When I got up to a healthy weight, I swear it was all in my bottom half!

Jean sizes are never a good source of truth because they vary so much, but for most jeans I’m a size 26 (for sizes that use inches for scale, not like the 0/2/4/etc. system). I used the sizing chart from Girlfriend Collective to decide what size to get, and of course, I felt kind of between sizes. I opted for the S instead of XS because I figured I’d rather have them be too big, and I wasn’t sure how returns would work for a preorder.

For the most part, this was the correct size. They don’t feel as tight as maybe they should for being brand-new compression leggings, but they definitely hug my body. The length is good as well. I’m about 5’3″ and as expected there is some extra length, but it’s not very much. When I’m just walking around or lounging, they’re a perfect fit. It was when I was exercising that I noticed I might have gone too large. They were shifting a bit, and the seam in the back (attaching the waistband to the “butt area”) settled lower than I’d like, although it’s already pretty low.

I think I’m quite literally between their XS and S. I love how the S fits for the most part, and I think trying to pull on the XS would be way more difficult than the slight shifting is annoying. I just have to be mindful of them moving around for certain exercises, like squats.

Details

There are a couple details to highlight here, specifically the seaming design and the pocket.

There’s a seam down the front of the leggings that help make your legs look longer and narrower, and a seam on the side from the mid-thigh to above your butt that may or may not have a purpose outside looking interesting. I think it might make your butt look smaller, but I don’t know.

Leggings on, front viewLeggings on, side view

The waistband is very tall, making these leggings truly high-waisted. I love high-waisted leggings, so this is great news for me. However, as I mentioned, the waistband comes down very low on the back, which I think kind of shrinks my butt. As someone in the middle of a strength training program that works on glutes, I feel a little sad. The trend right now is “growing tha booty,” and companies have been coming out with leggings that make your butt look bigger, not smaller.

Side note: I love how the trend is moving towards encouraging women to be strong (like growing their glutes) versus shrinking down. I’ve seen so many companies coming out with sports bras that show off back muscles, sleeveless tops, and leggings that highlight quads and glutes. I think it’s a much healthier message than hiding or “camouflaging” your “trouble areas.”

Anyway… Here’s a better look at the seaming details. You can see on the front view that there’s a seam on each side that breaks off and goes towards the back of the leggings.

Front of leggings with side seams

And here’s the back of the leggings. You can see the “butt area” is pretty short.
Back of leggings with low waistband

So I like the side detail, but I’m not a huge fan of the low waistband in the back.

The pocket is a nice detail. It’s inside the waistband at the back of the leggings. I like being able to hold keys or an extra hair tie, but I’m not going to get much use out of it, as I bring a small bag to the gym.

The major difference between this pocket and the pockets on my other leggings is that this pocket doesn’t seem as secure. In other activewear, the top flap overlaps with the opening pretty tightly, but that’s not the case with this one. Although, there is a strip of rubber or silicone that’s meant to help keep things in place. Of course, this is just my first impression. Maybe the compression keeps everything in place.

Final thoughts

These are my favorite leggings! I feel totally confident wearing these leggings at home, out, and to the gym.

The full collection isn’t quite up yet, but you can sign up for their email list on their website to get notified when you can order a pair of these for yourself! These leggings will go for $70, but the shipping will be much cheaper than $20 because they’ll have a warehouse in the US. I don’t know what other activewear they’ll be offering, but I’m looking forward to checking it out.

Did you get in on this promo? What do you think of these leggings?

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