My obsession with Friends started at the ripe age of 8 years old, when it was one of the few shows my family and I would watch together every week. Even though most of the jokes flew right over my head, I was obsessed with Rachel. I even begged my mom for the ‘Rachel’ haircut—and succeeded.
While my shaggy Rachel bob is a thing of the past, my adoration of Jennifer Aniston is not. In fact, when the actress shared her current must-haves with InStyle earlier this month, I immediately wanted to try every single recommendation.
The first item on the bucket list: Sweaty Betty Zero Gravity Leggings ($108, was $135; sweatybetty.com). Along with Varley leggings and Outdoor Voices sports bras, they’re one of the fitness staples Aniston said she’s currently “loving.”
Other than briefly walking through a Sweaty Betty store in New York to admire the selection, my interaction with the cult-favorite activewear has been pretty limited. I knew the company was British and made plenty of fun prints (part of the brand’s goal to create stylish activewear for women when it launched 20 years ago)—however, I had never worked out in a pair of Sweaty Betty’s Aniston-approved leggings or even tried them on.
My first impression of the so-called bum-sculpting leggings out of the package was that they felt like an unexpected cross between a windbreaker and spandex leggings. The super lightweight fabric made a strange crackling sound when I aggressively brushed my hand over the delightfully aesthetic black and maroon print. I couldn’t imagine the lightweight (and noisy) fabric offering any sort of compression, let alone squat coverage. I felt duped and immediately questioned everything Jennifer Aniston stood for.
Headed to a typically sweaty dance class, I meekly pulled on the high-waisted leggings prepared to sweat the night away while making subtle wooshing sounds with each cha-cha-cha. Despite my concerns, they were the *perfect* high-waisted fit.
And I stand corrected—the supportive fabric actually curved perfectly to my derriere and even gave a subtle lift that I spent a moment too long admiring as I entered my workout class (so this is what they meant by ‘bum-sculpting’). I didn’t understand how a fabric that felt barley-there could also offer the sculpting support I only expect from my thickest workout leggings.
At the gym, my next mission was to determine if these leggings were squat-proof. The site advertises the Zero Gravity design at just 80% squat-proof, so I boldly asked a few fellow classmates to report whether they could see my underwear when I squatted or not. Every person adamantly replied they couldn’t see a thing. Even when I explained I was testing the leggings and needed the truth, their answers stayed the same.
I was also pleasantly surprised to discover the lightweight fabric made *zero* sound as I walked around. I can’t explain why this was such a strong fear, when I happily clomp around the office all day in booties. But the thought of rustling like the wind through a dance routine was almost enough for me to opt for a solo workout that night instead.
Relieved that these leggings were closer to 100% (than the advertised 80%) on the squat-proof spectrum and completely quiet, I proceeded to dance my heart out for the next 55 minutes.
To buy: Sweaty Betty Zero Gravity Leggings, $108 (was $135); sweatybetty.com
Next came the sweat test. The lackluster air conditioning in my local gym combined with my workout (which, in this case, was a cardio-heavy dance sesh) almost always results in sweat-soaked fabric that clings to my body, and leggings that stay damp until I unceremoniously peel them off. But not this time! The material was like sweat-wicking magic on my skin. Believe it or not, by the time I left the gym, my sweaty (betty) leggings were already dry.
While the fabric isn’t magic, it is a brand-specific performance fabric that’s designed to be quick-drying. The elastane and polyamide blend is made from hydrophilic fibers that swiftly wick away moisture for an unbelievably speedy drying time post sweat sesh. Considering damp leggings are a breeding ground for yeast and bacteria—and just straight up uncomfortable—this single feature alone sold me on these leggings forever.
Of course, there’s plenty of other awesome design components that also stand out, including outer pockets large enough to fit an iPhone and an adjustable drawstring waistband that results in a super comfortable fit. But the sensation of riding the subway home completely dry after a workout isn’t something I’m ready to give up any time soon.
Best of all, they not only come in a plethora of fun prints to choose from for fall, but they also come in 7/8 length with a shorter inseam (a great option for short legs or increased air flow during your workout). Plus, the trendy leggings are 20% off on Sweaty Betty right now, knocking their total price down almost $30.
If there’s anyway to live like Aniston, these high-quality leggings are as close as I’ll get. While stylish haircuts make come and go (RIP The Rachel), a good pair of leggings can last a lifetime.
To buy: Sweaty Betty Zero Gravity Leggings ⅞ Running Leggings, $108 (was $135); sweatybetty.com
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