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The Modern Way To Wear Leggings After 50

Anyone who tells you that leggings are dead or women shouldn’t wear them is sadly mistaken. With more of us living casual lifestyles, leggings can be a great fashion option, when worn with attention to a few details. How to wear leggings after fifty has been an extremely popular post, so I’m updating it with some new ideas and fresh resources to help you look fabulous wearing leggings.

over 50 fashion blogger jennifer Connolly wearing talbots Ribknit poncho in Blackwatch Plaid

 

woman wearing lysse white leggings for spring with blue tunic shirt

Leggings are hugely popular and one of the easiest garments to get wrong. We’ve been reaching for leggings since they became streetwear in the 70 and ’80s. They now have style details and shapes that resemble pants, so they don’t all look like workout gear.

Are tunics and leggings still in style? You bet. Can you wear them and still look polished? Absolutely! Can older women wear leggings? Yes!

Related – Leggings For Spring

 

Here are the best leggings to wear over 50 and tips for wearing them. Let’s start with the most important feature of leggings…the fabric.

You might also enjoy  What To Wear Instead Of Leggings This Fall

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
  • velvet
  • faux leather…no these are not just for young women and yes, they are comfy!

Jennifer from A Well Styled Life showing how to wear leggings after fifty

On the subject of faux leather leggings, they’re no different than other spandex leggings and they do breathe and the best fit doesn’t feel or look like a sausage casing.

Jennifer from A Well Styled Life styling how to wear leggings after fifty

All of these fabrics need 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.

Faux Suede leggings have long been a favorite of mine. They give a softer look than faux leather and feel more relaxed. Here are some great options.

Related – How To Wear Leather Leggings over 50

 

Fit

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.

tunic jacket over leggings on Jennifer Connolly

Tops For Leggings Over 50

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
  • dresses, both long and short
woman wearing velvet leggings with a dress
I’M WEARING VELVET LEGGINGS HERE WITH A DRESS THAT FEELS A BIT TOO SHORT.

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 the 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.

over 50 fashion blogger showing how to wear leggings after fifty

Shoes To Wear With Leggings Over 50

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.

Related – How To Wear Ankle Boots Over 50

What’s your favorite way to wear leggings?

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Thanks for reading and remember to wear what makes you feel confident.

 

 

 

231 Comments

  1. I have a drawer full of leggings purchased for my barre classes. I normally would not wear them at other times but during the pandemic I have started wearing them as a comfortable outfit at home, especially with some type of longer tee and then a longer cardigan as the third piece. very comfortable and warm too. I love Zella leggings from Nordstrom and added a couple pair of Everlane last winter that I like a lot.

    1. I’ve been borrowing my daughters Zella leggings and love them. So soft:)

  2. I have never cared for leggings on me, so I don’t wear them. They are also very uncomfortable in really hot weather. However, anyone who does like them should go for it whether they look good or not. Wear what makes you happy.

  3. I love this blog post, such a great job of describing the leggings and tops. Thank you for posting this especially for women that are in their 60’s and older. People like to tell us what to wear when we get older, such as underwear and clothes. I do not want to wear frumpy underwear or frumpy clothes or shoes.

    1. Yay leggings done right!

      When you sit in front of a computer for 10-12 hours a day (going on 7 months) you want comfort and these fit the bill! 💜

  4. Love this post and all the comments! There is such a big difference in the fabric weight and stretch of leggings. I love leggings for wearing around the house, they are so comfortable! Most of my leggings are heavier weight knit slim pants, fitting like leggings, but have more substance…not like typical “workout”leggings. I always wear a top that covers the crotch area and my butt and often add a longer cardigan, vest or kimono, depending on the weather, just in case my rear end is not completely covered. Tunic tops and shorter dresses also work well for me with leggings.
    I often see young and old putting everything they have on display and that just looks tacky and trashy. Age is just a number and we should all be able what makes us feel good. Looking like you don’t care or have no self respect is not good at any age.
    My next purchase just might be faux leather or faux suede leggings. I already have some faux velvet leggings that I love.

    1. Where do you by the heavier weight knit slim pants?

  5. I’ve tended to “collect” leggings and not wear them, even though I love the look! Tried wearing them just at home, but even with fleece lining, I still get too cold ( possibly the temp my hubby sets the thermostat at!)

    What are your thoughts of wearing 7/8 or capri length with either short or longish skirts? Short dresses? Long dresses? Thinking boho-ish.

    1. I think it’s a very cute look! My legs are short so I have to be careful with the proportion

  6. I welcome your style tips – so valuable to me, as an “active 80” who simply wants to look my best without looking as though I’m imitating my granddaughter!!!!!

    So special thanks for the information of weight and colors, and how to style the rest of the ensemble.

    On this day, let us remember the lives and families of 9/11 and blanket them in God’s love.

  7. I wish people under the age of 50 would read your blog. I find the younger generation wear short t-shirts with their leggings! It looks horrible!

    Leggings are great and cheaper than most dress pants or jeans.

  8. Barbara K. says:

    I have just started wearing leggings in the last 6 months or so. It seems that longer tunic-style tops are everywhere right now, so it’s easier to put together a nice outfit. My favorite place to buy leggings is the catalogue NorthStyle. The leggings fit me so well – not too tight around the waist (which is where I carry extra weight, darn it!) and not too tight around the bum and thighs. Comfy without looking sloppy. I bought crop length for the summer and just put in another order of ankle length for the winter. I love them!

  9. Linda Henderson says:

    Still laughing about “sausage casing!” And the dark blue (sapphire?) wrap is great on you.

  10. Francesca B. says:

    Thanks Jennifer for the post very timely as I wore my first pair of leggings yesterday from Old Navy with a long plaid shirt and loved the look! I did buy a pair of faux suede leggiings in the NSALE but they had a zipper right at the back and it did not have a hook and eye and it would just run…jikes… so they went back.
    Hope you and yours are ok with the fires.

  11. I read some of the other comments. Some women feel they can’t wear certain things because they are “wider than they are tall”. It is all about proportion. I am only 5’6″. Sometimes I see a big difference even 1/2″ makes for a top or a pair of pants. Lucky for me, I can sew. My advice is to have a full-length mirror at home and see if raising or lowering a hem makes an outfit look better. If you can’t sew, you probably know someone who does.

  12. Great advice, Jennifer! For years, leggings have been my go-to choice for indoor winter wear around the house as find them comfortable however do wear them on occasion for street wear as appreciate their versatility in options of footwear that can be worn with them during our Fall and Winter seasons. i.e.: Can even look great with a pair of chunky socks with a rolled down cuff and hiking or combat boots …. ☺. (I live in Canada.) Favourite brand is Hue and particularly favour their faux suede, though they do have some wonderful patterns ‘n textures to choose from as well.

    1. I’ll have to keep an eye out for their faux suede ones. I love that look.

    2. Footnote: Forgot to add; due to their styling when temperatures drop they also can be successfully topped off with a layer of knitted (footless or stirrup) leg warmers which will not only add extra warmth BUT also add some character to otherwise plain ones. Also if wearing a tall boot; knitted boot-cuffs can be a great addition a well for a different look.

      1. I agree wholeheartedly.
        I cut sleeves off old jumpers and use them for extra warmth over my boots!

  13. beth byrd says:

    Great tips, Jennifer.

    I enjoy leggings, but I have a long torso and shorter legs so I have to be careful that the tops I wear over them are not too long. I like to wear leggings with a tunic and cropped jacket to keep the look proportioned. I also enjoy wearing them with boots or booties.

    1. Some tunics look like dresses on me so I have to be careful too.

  14. Paulette Levy says:

    I too just love my leggings-/ponte knit and high waist as well as my denim pair. They are comfortable and flattering and what I love is that they can be dressed up or dressed down.
    I do occasionally see women with shorter tops and do cringe . We all need longer slimming tips with these! You are so right!

    1. Ponte knit is a favorite of mine too. So comfy and more pant-like.

  15. Thank you so much for this much needed reminder!!!

  16. I’ll be glad to see the end of skinny pants and long tops, which have been around so long. To my eye the combination makes legs look very short and skinny. I prefer straight leg pants and a top that doesn’t quite cover the crotch. I think this look elongates legs and is more elegant.

    1. Sharon Satterfield says:

      Noelle,

      I totally agree with your assessment on skinny pants and long tops. I too prefer straight leg pants and shorter tops. I thought the skinny look was on its way out however I’m fairly conservative.

    2. I find that the elegance is in the fabric and accessories. I am petite (4’11”) and find that the leggings and tunic (correctly proportioned, of course) make me look taller.

  17. Jennifer, you can never say this too many times, cover your bits! I know some would like the world to know they have been working out and are fit, but really do we need to see all the area. By the way, as in the pictures above, you look gorgeous in the soft white, and blues. I cannot imagine you in a peach lipstick let alone all warm tones…..just me of course. Have a good weekend.

  18. Pear shape here, I wear exercise leggings because I work in a gym. I don’t wear leggings , mostly dresses and occasionally jeans, when done with work. I appreciate my exercise wear, but need a break from it also.

  19. I only wear leggings in Winter because I live in Florida. I have some fantastic fake suede ones from Calvin Klein that I just love! I bought them two years ago but they did have the same style last year, so look around for them. They are heavy so best for cold weather. It is a definite must that you wear a longer top with these! I am not skinny so covering the belly area is crucial!!! I do have a pair of regular (not compression) leggings from Soma which are very comfortable. I like leggings because of my shape regular pants are too wide in the legs after having to fit my hips. I did try Spanx faux leather leggings and they were just too tight and not my style. I did not feel that they looked like leather at all.

    1. The Spanx ones are very popular but they’re not my look either. I prefer mine a bit looser

  20. I have never worn leggings, afraid my heavy thighs would look too bad! I am going To try them after reading these comments. I have a dress I haven’t worn yet (which I love) because it is above my knee which has scar from knee replacement.

  21. I love the *idea* of leggings or jeggings…..but, I am a petite, with short legs & “cankles”…no ankles. Showing off the worst part of my body with clinging stretch fabric is a nightmare scenario for me. And, wearing “booties” (to “hide” my cankle problem) at my height is another downer….makes me look like I’m walking around in shoe boxes. Some of us just have to recognize that fads and fashion do not pander to us, and have to find our own way….like back to softer, flowing materials and designs that flatter everyone…….

    1. Oh I can relate to not being able to wear them.
      The candle thing is another issue altogether. Best thing is getting tan on these legs in summer, it does help.

  22. Does anyone have recommendations for plus size leggings that aren’t see through and sit well around the tummy area? Sizing of 22 upward.

    1. I just ordered some plus size leggings from shapermint and they are wonderful! Get the empetua high waist style.

  23. I love this look!! I live in a senior community & am known as a stylish Diva, I volunteer at many of ours parties, always coming up new outfits for each. I always wear my leggings with Superga Italian sneakers. I have 38 pair. There so stylish. At 71 I have foot problems & need to wear custom orthotics. Superga’s allow me to do that & be comfortable & classy all day. Anyone can pull this look off with the right Tunis top. You go girls!!!
    My favorite legging is Hue & Lysse. I carry all my weight in my tummy & these don’t cut in.

  24. Should this not apply to all women who wear leggings? Not just women over 50. I’m 52, fit, and look better in my choice of clothing than some 20 year olds. Just cause you are over 50 does not mean you’re frumpy.

      1. I agree I am 56 and I wear clothes that’s in style regardless of my age . Don’t allow your age to dictate your fashion too much a. If so we would like a bunch of frumpy ladies

  25. Life is short. Forget all the rules. People going to judge no matter what. Wear what makes YOU happy! 😁❤

    1. As the saying goes, “people will stare so make it worth their while”. Just enjoy yourself.

  26. Katrina Burns says:

    I love Lysse leggings. Yes the top should be longer.

  27. I love to wear dresses over leggings…I can’t agree more with the advice to cover the crotch and the backside – nothing is worse than someone wearing them with a regular shirt…kinda takes away the observer’s will to live! I’ve lately become fascinated with Old Navy’s Dresses, especially when they put them on sale for $10….I’ve also been pleased with the look of some J Jill dresses. I wore them with boots in the winter; as the weather warms up it’ll more likely be a slip on sneaker or a ballet flat.

    1. LOL, it really does:) I’m checking out more dresses than ever so I will have a peek.

  28. My favorite way to wear leggings is: in da house. 🙂 But IF I wear them outside the house I wear a dress over them. Thank you for your common sense and modest approach to this article regarding a somewhat touchy subject! There are women who need to know! 🙂

  29. Paulette Levy says:

    I too love my pointe knit leggings (in summer time I Reach for my Jill cotton knit leggings in navy white and black). Lighter weight.

    I wear tops similar to yours, long white shirts with interesting cuts and accents, tunics, longish flowy tops too!

  30. I love the blue knee length cardigan, can you tell me where you found it?

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