Leggings are hugely popular and one of the easiest garments to get wrong. Women have been reaching for leggings since they became streetwear in the 70 and ’80s. Are they still in style? How can I wear them over 50? There’s an art to wearing leggings. Women 40, 50, 60, and beyond can easily wear them with great style when you keep a few tips in mind.
Let’s start with the most important feature of leggings. It’s fabric.
This is critical because leggings are not the same as footless tights! I’ve seen too many women traversing the airport wearing footless tights as leggings which shows the world way too much. The fabric of leggings needs to be thick, 100% opaque (not see-through), and very stretchy. They should closer to stretch pants than tights. Here are some great fabrics for leggings:
- heavyweight ponte knit
- faux suede
- denim also called Jeggings
- faux leather
All of these fabrics need a high spandex or Lycra content so they spring back in the knees and seat, Fabrics with a four-way stretch fit the best and have the best recovery. Darker colors are more slimming and dressy. Patterns are tricky so choose the smallest ones in subtle colors.
Leggings are meant to be snug but if they feel like a sausage casing, go up one size. You won’t sacrifice the style and they will be more comfortable. Choose high rise leggings with a wide, no-roll waistband. There’s nothing worse than sitting down and feeling your waistband roll down under your tummy.
FAUX SUEDE LEGGINGS
Tops To Wear Over Leggings
It doesn’t matter how shapely and fit you are, leggings require a top that covers your crotch and backside. Full stop here ladies. This is critical. Even the heaviest weight leggings look best worn with a top that’s long enough to cover your lady parts. Leggings look great worn with:
- tunic sweaters
- long line blazers
- tunic-length shirts
- thigh-length blouses
Choose tunics with some shaping through the torso. You don’t want tight, but too boxy is just as unflattering. You’re going for length, not width and bulk. Side slits in tunics and blouses are great for elongating your legs and helping to balance the proportion. Try a knee-length cardigan worn open over a fingertip length blouse. Unbutton lower buttons of longer jackets to show some leg. Beware of extra bulky sweaters which can make your legs look like stick figures and your torso look huge by comparison. Proportion is key here.
STRETCH VELVET LEGGINGS
Footwear To Wear With Leggings
So what do you wear on your feet? Knee or riding boots are a classic combination. Choose boots in a color similar to the leggings to create a long lean line. Ballet flats are another classic look, think Audrey Hepburn. Low heeled pumps or sandals look great with leggings but beware of the stiletto which is hard to get right and can easily lean toward trashy. Booties are perfect with leggings. Here are other ways to wear booties.
With A Dress or Skirt
Wear leggings with a dress or skirt in similar weight fabric. Floaty, lightweight dresses can look overpowered by a substantial pair of leggings. Leggings are great a great option for those dresses you feel may be on the too-short side for you.
What’s your favorite way to wear leggings?
Thanks for reading and remember to wear what makes you feel confident.