While I usually wear leggings to work out in cold weather, lately I’ve been yearning for a pair of pants I could wear out to the grocery store or library afterward without feeling like my outfit screams, “I just exercised!” You know, a pair of pants that would not only keep my lower half warm (no leg drafts, please!), but look great on too. And so the search began.

It wasn’t easy. In the end, I tried a dozen pairs (only one of which is available in a color other than black—what’s up with that?) from nine different companies. Now granted, I’m not doing my morning walks in the frosty snowbanks of New England, but even down here in Alabama, it’s often in the 30s or low 40s—with a stiff wind to boot—when I head out for my predawn walks.

Was I naive to expect perfection? Perhaps. As it was, not one pair of cold weather workout pants met my dual criteria of being super-warm and super-flattering. Still, three pairs stood out from the crowd:

Champion Double Dry Microfleece Pant

Pros: The warmest pair by far. After a very brief initial draft up the legs, they kept my lower half toasty on a windy, below-freezing morning. They’re super soft and cuddly too; after I put them on, I was actually tempted to just curl up on the couch and skip the walk altogether. (I didn’t.) And you can’t beat the price (a mere $32).
Cons: They’re like big, fleecy sweatpants—the cut isn’t very flattering and the fit is too generous (next time, I’d order a size down). Also, they don’t have pockets.

Saucony Bliss XPT Pant
Pros: With a sleek (but not too tight) fit and nearly invisible zipper fly, these were extremely flattering. (They look really skinny-legged in the photo, but they’re not.) They’re waterproof and windproof, which helped in the warmth department, and they have two handy zippered pockets (also nearly invisible).
Cons: They didn’t keep me as warm as the Champions did, and the zipper stuck a couple of times, making me wonder how long it would last.

Lucy Fleece Powder Bootcut Pant
Pros: Comfy and soft, almost like pajamas, but made of a thinner fleece than the Champion pants and much more stylishly constructed. The cut is flattering—so much so that I could see myself reaching for these even when working out isn't on the agenda.
Cons: Again, not as warm as the Champions, and for some odd reason, the back waistband dips lower than the front, making me feel at times like my shirt was about to become untucked (not good in cold weather!). Also, there are no pockets.

Toasty warm or truly stylish? It appears that sometimes a girl just has to make a choice.

Products: Champion Double Dry Microfleece Pant, Saucony Bliss XPT Pant, and Lucy Fleece Powder Bootcut Pant

Category: Apparel

Cost: Double Dry Microfleece Pant, $32 at ChampionUSA.com; Bliss XPT pant, $75 at Saucony.com; Fleece Powder Bootcut Pant, $58 at Lucy.com