If you’re anything like us, there’s a good chance you’ve got at least one Reformation dress hanging in your closet. Perhaps you splurged on it, maybe you waited until it went on sale, but either way—you’re probably obsessed. That said, we’ve been a little lax in opportunities to wear dresses over the past year, so it’s no surprise Reformation has decided to expand their offerings into athleisure. A few weeks ago, they launched Ref Active, a line of leggings, sports bras and other essentials great for working out or relaxing at home. Now, our Ref Active review will put the new line’s fit to the test.
STYLECASTER’s Fashion & Lifestyle team is all about only recommending the stuff we truly know and love, so when we first heard one of our go-to sustainable brands was launching activewear, we knew we had to try it out. After all, we’ve been working remotely for a full year now, so we’ve earned the right to add “Leggings Expert” to our fashion-heavy resumes. With this in mind, Bella, our Fashion Editor, and Julia, our Trending Fashion Writer, decided to give Ref Active a go.
Even better, our two team members differ in body shape and size, with Julia rocking Ref Active‘s size Small and Bella the brand’s Large. They also took on both of Ref Active’s specialized fabrics, EcoMove (best for medium to high-impact workouts) and EcoStretch (best for low-impact workouts or lounging). Prepare for the full scoop, folks.
Below, check out their honest thoughts on Ref’s activewear range and shop the sets they loved most.
Our mission at STYLECASTER is to bring style to the people, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale.
Bella in EcoStretch
Her Usual Size: 10/12, anywhere from M-XL depending on a brand’s sizing.
How She Likes It: I was pleasantly surprised by this set—I knew EcoStretch would be comfy, but I didn’t expect it to be so soft! In truth, I ended up wearing it multiple days in a row while working from home. I have other sets that definitely leave me looking more snatched, but I think that’s a job for EcoMove, so I’m glad to have this EcoStretch duo for when I want to be comfortable (but still cute!).
As a curvy gal, I definitely prefer cropped tanks over sports bras with my leggings, and I liked that this one offered a decent amount of support, but no compression. I’d definitely need a sports bra underneath to do a real workout, but I also didn’t feel like my chest was on display when I wore it for a Starbucks run, either.
As for the leggings, so soft! So good! The fit was fantastic. I’m 5’1 so they were a little long at the ankles, but that just comes with the territory when you’re especially short. My lower tummy is definitely the area I’m most insecure about in tight-fitting clothing, and while this set didn’t compress it, it also didn’t draw attention or highlight it, which is a win in my book.
Lastly, I’m glad I went with the Clay colorway for the entire set; I’m one to always wear black leggings, so the trendy neutral made me feel like a truly hip Ref girl. Oh, and for any ladies larger than me, know that all the Ref Active pieces come in extended sizing!
What She’d Buy Next: I definitely plan to buy the Ivy EcoStretch Cropped Tank in more colors (Classic Black and Limon for summer!), but I’m also planning to snag the Tori EcoMove Cropped Tank to compare. Oh, and probably the EcoMove Bike Shorts for working out, too!
Final Rating: 9 out of 10! 8.5 for fit, comfort level and aesthetic, plus a bonus .5 for the extended sizing options for my curvy girls. Other activewear brands—more of this, please!
Julia in EcoMove
Her Usual Size: 00/0, either XS/S depending on how things run.
How She Likes It: What initially attracted me to this set was the vibrant green color. I have so many black matching sets, so I wanted to try something new. I wasn’t looking for anything that could handle a high-impact workout because, even on my best of days, I’m only doing activities like pilates or yoga. That being said, I was really surprised about how supportive this bra felt. It’s designed to keep everything in place, so I definitely would recommend this set if you are doing more active workouts these days.
I can also say that this set isn’t restrictive—like, at all. It’s supportive for sure, but it’s not shapewear-level tight. I still feel like I have room to move in it without something popping out or going lumpy, which I love. I could probably size down to an XS if I wanted more of that fitted feeling, but I’m perfectly happy with how it fits in a size Small.
I love high-rise leggings because I feel like options that sit lower than my ribcage end up making me look shorter than I already am. These legging sit a little lower than I would have expected, but I am pleasantly surprised at the fit. And as Bella said about the EcoStretch, the EcoMove material is also seriously soft. Like, they’re one of the softest pairs of leggings that I own. I’m not very tall, so they were a little long on the ankle—but that’s nothing a little trip to the tailor can’t fix.
I also loved the slight sheen that the EcoMove material has. It’s nothing crazy (read: you won’t look reflective), but it does add a little something special. Like I said earlier, I just love this color. If you’re scrolling the Ref site and thinking “Woah, that’s a bright shade of green,” don’t let it scare you away! In fact, as far as greens go, I’d say this one is fairly neutral. I’m new to the whole not-wearing-black thing and this set has officially convinced me to try out some of the other shades.
What She’d Buy Next: I love the EcoMove, but I want to try Ref Active’s other fabric, too. I have my eye on The EcoStretch High Rise Legging in either Limon or Morning Glory and the matching Sammie EcoStretch Bra or Ivy EcoStretch Cropped Tank.
Final Rating: 9.5/10! 10 for the color, 9 for the fit, and 10 for the softness!