fitness

CULT BUY: "The $54 exercise tights my bum is now obsessed with."

Whether you workout regularly or not, finding exercise tights that won’t let you down is a lifelong quest.

They’re either too tight or not tight enough. Too long or they cut your legs off at a weird spot. Not durable enough or so thin you could spit through them. And they cost too much or are nice and cheap, but don’t last.

It’s enough to make you not bother with exercising at all.

Feel like doing a workout at home? PT and former Bachelor Sam Wood showed us these easy exercises you can do during the ad break of your favourite reality TV show. Post continues after video.

Video by MMC

For a humble pair of tights to reach epic proportions in my books, they need to:

  • Suck you in so you feel confident a roll won’t flop out mid-burpee.
  • Not ride or roll down and make you pull them up every five minutes.
  • Be thick enough so the person behind you can’t tell what pattern of undies you’re wearing.
  • Finish at a flattering spot on your leg.
  • Come in an inclusive sizing range, not just S, M and L.
  • Hold their shape in the wash, because sweaty tights MUST be washed.
  • Be affordable – not everyone can justify spending a week’s worth of groceries on tights.

I know, it’s a lot of things. But I refuse to settle for a crappy pair of tights and I feel like you shouldn’t either.

In my search for a new pair of tights for my semi-occasional workouts, a new design from London fashion brand Marks & Spencer popped up.

They’re called the M&S Collection Perfect Blackout Cropped Leggings and they’re a very tidy $54.

M&S tights
The M&S tights on the model. Image: Supplied.
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M&S tights
A close up of the booty and the back pocket for your phone. Image: Supplied.
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Who doesn't look like this when they've finished exercising, am i right? Image: Supplied.

Despite being an iconic British clothing retailer, Marks & Spencer have made a quiet-ish entrance into the Aussie retail market.

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I've seen some of their great new season winter clothing on Instagram - they have an incredible trench coat, and my editor Leigh Campbell talks about M&S in her pregnancy fashion Instagram stories.

A post shared by Alexis Foreman (@alexisforeman) on

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But, I had no idea they did activewear, and I literally just tore a hole in my lovely but quite expensive Lululemon tights when I put my keys in my pocket.

The thing I really wanted to know is, are they really blackout tights? When I drop down into a deep squat (OK, a half squat), will the people behind me be able to tell me in detail what cut, brand and colour underwear I'm wearing?

To find out, I've been wearing the tights for three weeks to all the usual places you wear tights -  pilates, a circuit class, netball training, weekend walks, to the shops to get snacks that defeat the purpose of aforementioned exercise, and around the house.

The first thing I loved about these tights is how they fit. The M&S Collection Perfect Blackout Cropped Leggings are a three-quarter length cropped tight (on my short legs, they stop an inch above the ankle and look more like 7/8s) and come in sizes 6-24. The fabric is sturdy and has a shiny, satiny finish, but not so much that it puts a disco ball on any bumps or bits that stick out, and the waistband comes up to just above your belly button.

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The tights IRL. Image: Supplied.
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This is me very clearly BEFORE doing physical activity in the tights, in the flash changerooms. Image: Supplied.
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Here they are at reformer pilates. Don't @ me. Image: Supplied.
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I had to embarrass myself to get this side on photo, but I liked how to sucked my tummy in. Image: Supplied.
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This is the staged photo I put on Instagram. Image: Supplied.
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Although this might seem like the normal fit you'd expect from a pair of leggings, if you have a butt on you, you'll know it can be hard to find an affordable pair of tights you can get over your bum without stretching the material further than it's meant to go, but still nip back in at the waist. For example, some of the cheaper tights I've tried look great, but as soon as I start moving my limbs, the crotch or waist falls down.

For styles of exercise like walking, pilates, yoga, barre, brunch, strength training or circuit training, the M&S tights do the job. I didn't find they rode down at all, the waistband didn't flip or roll over, the legs didn't slip down and they were really comfortable to wear.

I also took one for the team and asked the strangers minding their own business in the gym if they could see my undies, and they all said no. They could've been trying to get rid of me, but I'll take their answers at face value.

The M&S leggings didn't fare so well at netball training. As there's a lot of running involved, I found the fabric of the tights slid down my legs a bit. Even though the waist stayed put, it was almost like the crotch of the tights slipped down as I ran, leaving me to yank them up after each centre pass or face looking like I'd done a sh*t in my pants.

This was really the only place I feel like the tights fell short, which is kind of fair enough because they're listed on the M&S website as being flexible tights for low impact exercise.

As for how they go in the wash, I've machine-washed my tights about six times over the last three weeks (I don't wash them if I've just worn them to drink coffee and eat halloumi, sue me), and the material hasn't gone bally or faded in any of the important places.

For $54 bucks, my bum and I are really impressed with the M&S tights. You can essentially get two pairs for the price of one more expensive label pair, which means less washing and more exercising.

Or in my case, thinking about exercising.

Do you have a favourite pair of workout tights you always buy again and again? Tell us in the comments!

Want more activewear recommendations? Read more below:

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