Pari Passu Makes the Absolute Best Plus-Size Leggings, According to Real Women Who’ve Worn Them
We wish there were more brands that offered plus sizes, but the truth is that designing for larger bodies is not as simple as adding more fabric. Perhaps no one knows this better than Shanna Goldstone, founder of the plus-size fashion brand Pari Passu. “I spent about 18 months just doing research and development before we even launched our first product,” she told me recently.
Pari Passu has its own unique sizing system that takes into account not just your waist, hip and chest measurements, but body type as well. Because woman carry weight in different ways, and those differences become even more pronounced for larger sizes. Goldstone’s solution is to take one design and reconfigure it three times over to fit the three most common plus size figures, thereby creating what should be the best-fitting plus-size leggings of all time. And based on what real Pari Passu customers have to say, she comes pretty damn close to perfection.
Pari Passu’s best-selling Goldie leggings come in 21 sizes, seven for each of the three plus-size body types Goldstone landed on after analyzing research from multiple studies and demographic information. Shape B refers to a classic hourglass. Shape C is for women who are more or less straight up and down on the sides, carrying weight in their bellies with thinner arms and legs. And Shape D is what Goldstone calls a modified hourglass—about even in the bust and hips with a slightly smaller waistline.
And while this sounds all well and good, the best way to demonstrate its real-world meaning is by getting reviews from actual plus-size women who’ve worn Pari Passu’s leggings—so that’s precisely what we did. Here, four fashionistas of varying body types give their honest opinions on what it is that makes Pari Passu stand out from the sea of black spandex.
wearing a size D4
Pari Passu has a fit quiz on site to help shoppers determine which body type—B, C or D—will fit best, but we had all four women try all three to really get a sense for the differences between them. “I honestly was surprised that the construction of each pair varied so greatly,” says Ratliff, a fashion-obsessed mom working in tech. Rather than an elastic waistband, like most plus-size leggings, Pari Passu’s designs come with a flat band made of the same super soft modal/rayon/nylon blend as the rest of the legging. The result is a fit that won’t dig in or “leave you with the muffin top or discomfort you get with an elastic waistband,” as Ratliff put it.
As for the fabric, all four testers noted how luxe it felt, but also that it offered support without excessive compression. “The quality of these leggings far exceeds the others that I own. Normally leggings rely on lots of stretch materials so that they can be sort of one-size-fits-all. These have stretch but the fabric is thick and has some weight to it, so the cut and tailoring really define the fit more than the stretch. I’ve already worn them to work from home and out of my house to shop, visit friends, etc. which is a first for me—I used to never wear leggings outside.”
Final verdict: “It is so hard to find well-made clothing for plus-size bodies, so it’s really nice to actually have quality options like this to choose from.”
wearing a size C1
“As someone who doesn't have much curve in her hips, but has a full rear and lower belly and solid thighs, calves and even ankles, leggings are tough for me,” says Gary, founder of Wardrobe Oxygen. Luckily, the Pari Passu leggings fit significantly better than Gary expected. “There was room for my curves, but my curves didn't distort the line of the leggings,” raved Gary. “I actually wore them the other day with a boyfriend blazer and sneakers and felt fully dressed which is never a thing for me with leggings.” And while she wasn’t initially convinced that the three different body shapes were all that different from one another, all it took was an afternoon of walking around to change her mind. “It was so interesting because when I first put them on [the B, C and D sizes] felt essentially the same, but as I moved in them really I saw how they were shaped differently.”
Final verdict: “I’ve tried $25 leggings and $125 leggings and I always end up frustrated. To have leggings that feel almost custom made for my curves—and be made from such soft refined knit—I honestly think they’re phenomenal.”
wearing a size C3
Ife Omotade knows clothes—she recently launched her own fashion line, Mimi Blaque—so she was super excited to test out something that promises such a custom fit. And just like Ratliff and Gary, Omotade was impressed by the notable ways in which each body type offered support in different areas. “The B kept rolling down in the waist,” she says, “but the D fit my hips really well. The C had more hold in the belly area and was definitely a keeper for me!”
“These leggings are softer than all other leggings I have ever owned.” And while other pairs may have been confined to hanging at home, the thick, luxe fabric makes Pari Passu’s more appropriate for a greater range of events or activities. “They’re great for work or for going out with friends, because they look dressier” than Omotade’s old go-tos.
Final verdict: “The high-waisted fit gives a slimming effect, which I really loved. And they really do fit my curves perfectly.”
wearing a size B5
Pugh, a fashion consultant and model, was excited by the individualized fit of the leggings, but she loved the material. “Oh, the fabric is my favorite thing about these leggings!” she gushed. “They feel so luxe! The comfort is absolutely beyond and they are thick enough to not highlight any cellulite but they’re not so thick that I felt overheated.” She agreed with the other testers that these leggings felt enough like pants to be comfortable for casual hangs, work or fancier occasions (like dinner with friends). “I would pair this with a nice long tunic and some booties for work. I also love dressing up comfortable clothes so an oversized blazer, hoodie and heels feels very New York chic.”
Final verdict: “These definitely made me feel more secure than my favorite leggings because of the thick, high waistband. The coverage is great, and I don’t worry as much about them rolling down.”
The Goldie leggings may not be your new go-to for working out, but they’re “definitely worth the splurge if you’re the type of person that values quality and comfort,” says Pugh. For anyone who’s been struggling to find that ultimate pair of do-anything leggings, we might’ve just found you a perfect match.
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