Nurturing Beauty Style Secrets Blog

Are You Too Old to Wear Leggings?

It is often understood that if you lived through a trend the first go around, you should not indulge a second time. I’m sure this recommendation is there to keep us all from looking silly, but must you heed it? Leggings are one of those trends. They resurfaced a few years ago and the controversy about them still exists. Should you wear them? Not wear them? How do you decide?

Clearly, if the idea of wearing leggings is not appealing then the decision is made for you. But, if you are intrigued, albeit hesitant, let me put your mind at ease.

The key is not IF you wear them (you certainly can if you want to), but HOW you wear them. Let’s eliminate the confusion so you can have some fun.

What Top Do You Wear with Leggings?

Leggings are not pants! No matter how old you are (well, maybe if you’re 8!) your top needs to cover your butt. No, I’m not old, stodgy and prudish. I just don’t want to see what I see when leggings are worn as pants. Those wearing them can’t see behind them so they think it doesn’t matter, but it does. And, when they bend over…yikes!

The length of your top depends on the weight of the leggings and your comfort level in showing your legs. Let me explain.

Without stockings or tights I would never wear a dress above my knee—I’ve never been fond of my knees and that’s even more true now as I have gotten older. But, by wearing a pair of leggings, my knees feel more contained, if you will, and, as a result, I will wear a shorter dress or tunic over them. So, I have everything from longer (mid-thigh) jackets to sweater dresses that end 3-4″ above my knee that I wear with leggings.

If my leggings are more like a tight thicker ponte knit pant, I will wear a top, tunic or jacket that comes just below my butt. More leg is showing, but I don’t feel exposed because the fabric is heavier and provides more coverage.

Can You Wear Any Color?

As I mentioned above, fabric matters. Lighter weight leggings call for longer tops and heavier ones can more easily stand alone with less coverage.

The next step is to decide what color(s) your leggings will be. Not surprisingly, black is by far the most prevalent because it goes with so much. But, I have a fabulous pair of dark brown fleece-lined leggings (no, they are not bulky) that looks great when I don’t want to wear black. You can also choose a charcoal gray, deep navy or eggplant depending on your coloring and wardrobe. All are versatile and can easily complete an outfit.

With solid neutral colored leggings you have many options for styles of tops. What you choose will depend on your personality, body and lifestyle. Everything from a tunic to a dress to a top and long cardigan will look great. If you carry weight in your lower hip and thighs you will want the top to cover your widest part. For help on exactly where that should end (for everyone, not just those of you with fuller thighs), check out the Fashion Fit Formula. I use this with all of my clients:

What if you want to get a bit more edgy? There are really fun patterned leggings out there.

Those are just two examples. I have chosen some of my favorites to share with you in this special catalogue.

The lighter the color of the legging the more attention will be drawn to your legs. So, think about where you want the eye to go. Obviously, patterned leggings draw the eye to your legs anyway, so keep the rest of the outfit understated—a solid color, with not too much bling or competing details often works best.

Be very wary of white leggings. They seem like a great idea, but they are not at all forgiving. I’ve tried them and have yet to find a pair that doesn’t make me feel like one big blob of cellulite. Plus, the white is so bright that it draws a lot of attention to my legs which is not where I want the focus to go. I promise I’ll share some viable white-ish leggings if I find them or feel free to share what has worked for you in the comments’ section.

Also, if you get one of the pairs of denim leggings, because most of them look like jeans you do not need to wear a top that is as long. Here is one example and there are more in the catalogue.

How Do You Spice It Up!

One of the best things about leggings is that a whole variety of shoes will work with them. In the colder months they are perfect with knee-high boots or ankle boots. In the warmer weather a pair of pumps, wedge, ballet flats or sandals are stunning with leggings.

Then, of course, you will want to accessorize your outfit to suit your personality and blend with the colors and patterns of the leggings and top. Pendants are a wonderful choice – they create a long line and generally have a casual flair to them—and they are very on-trend this season.

You can also add a belt over a tunic or dress to add flair and give more shape to the outfit. I am a big fan of stretchy belts because they are more comfortable, but lower slung belts can work, too. This is an opportunity to get creative.

As you can see, the sky’s the limit with accessorizing your ‘legging’ outfit. Have fun with it and rest assured you look great…even if it is the second time around!

Click HERE to view many more of my suggestions for leggings, shoes and accessories.

Note: All garments pictured here are vegan-friendly (made from fabrics that did not harm any animals).

Some of the affiliate links may generate commissions for Total Image Consultants which helps support the time spent creating these very specific recommendations.

Eco-friendly Wardrobe Secrets You Never Knew Part 3: Conscientious Consumerism: How to Discard Your Unwanted Clothing

When you buy something new to wear you think (hopefully!) about how wonderful you will feel in it, where you will wear it, how it will keep you warm—in other words, everything to do with what you will do with it NOW. What doesn’t generally come to mind initially is what you will do with the item when it no longer serves you.

That’s not surprising – there is nothing fun about imagining the item stained, worn out or too big/small all of which render it unwearable.

There does come a time, however, when the item has seen better days and must leave your closet. At that point, I am sure you are doing all the right things to be conscientious about what happens to them. The item had a good life with you and now it is time to pass it on so you:

  • periodically clean out your closet of things that are worn out, do not fit or you’ve stopped wearing for myriad reasons.
  • have a big pile sitting on your bedroom floor.
  • feel energetically lighter as you look in your closet and see only what you love and wear hanging there, and
  • feel a sense of peace and goodwill as you pack up the clothes headed for charity.

It’s a win-win, right?

Well, maybe…or maybe not.

While visions of less fortunate people happily leaving the thrift store with goodies from your closet feels honorable and comforting, believe it or not, that is not usually what happens.

In order to consider the full impact of your clothing choices from pre-production through its afterlife, you must take a candid look at what really happens to your clothes once you drop off your donation. I promise it is eye-opening!

As with the production of clothing, there is a mythical fairytale belief floating around that your cast-offs are someone else’s treasure. Who wouldn’t want to believe this? While there is some degree of truth to it, it is much less than you would imagine. Instead, the impact your donations have are much more far-reaching than you would suspect from the persistent fairytale.

What can you do to minimize the footprint your cast-off clothing has on the environment, other people and different cultures?

Here are 3 steps to help you make good decisions about your clothing’s afterlife:

1. Never Throw Your Clothes In The Trash

Even clothes that are stained or in disrepair can be donated. If you toss them in the trash they inevitably end up in a landfill where their decomposition is severely hampered. Even those items that are biodegradable take many, many times longer to break down in a landfill than in the open air. Decomposition requires light and oxygen neither of which is plentiful in a landfill! According to Green Living Tips “Even newspapers dumped in landfill have been known to be still readable after many years.”

It is common to hear lots of statistics thrown around about how long it takes something to biodegrade. According to, “decomposition is very dependent on the environment where the material is decomposing. For example, look at the difference between how fast steel rusts (a form of decomposition) in a humid salt air environment such as the coast vs. a dry environment like the desert.” By throwing something in a landfill you severely hinder its ability to decompose as quickly as it might when open to the elements. And, if you live in a very dry climate the decomposition process will be slowed down as well.

Of course, I am certainly not suggesting that you just toss all your unwanted clothes in your backyard and hope for the best. Clearly this is not an option on so many levels and could take a few years to never for things to full disintegrate, but what do you do instead?

2. Option A: Keep The Cycle Going By Consigning

Everywhere you look consignment shops are popping up. Since people are constantly culling their wardrobes of their ‘mistakes,’ clothes that no longer fit or are damaged, or items they have tired of wearing, there is no shortage of pre-owned clothing to be had and a consignment shop is a good place to keep their usefulness going.

Usually the items need to be less than two years old, in great condition and many consignment stores specify certain brand names they know will sell. If you can meet those requirements, consigning is a great way to recoup some of your cost, make someone else happy and keep the clothes in circulation. A triple win!

This is a picture of a consignment shop near me – Mint Boutique

There are even online consignment stores like and while not exactly consignment, eBay is a great place to move along clothing in good repair that you no longer want to wear.

It is important to know that even if you consign some of your clothing (the items that don’t sell) could still end up at a charity. This brings us to the next, very important concern.

3. Understand The Truth About Clothing Donations

The most common place discarded clothing ends up is at a charity where, according to Elizabeth Cline, author of, Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, “Only 20 percent of the clothes we donate are sold in charity thrift shops (There’s simply too much to resell it all!). About half of secondhand clothing is turned into fibers or wiping rags. The rest is shipped overseas as used clothing.”

We want to believe that someone else will be thankful for our donations—it is human nature, but is it true? Elizabeth Cline expresses it well when she says, “Most Americans are thoroughly convinced there is another person in their direct vicinity who truly needs and wants our unwanted clothes. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Charities long ago passed the point of being able to sell all of our wearable unwanted clothes. Used clothing is now the United States’ number one export by volume, with the overwhelming majority sent to ports in sub-Saharan Africa.”

“Well, that’s okay,” you say, “Let’s spread the wealth and help out other people across the globe.” At first glance this seems like a very charitable idea and it offers some peace of mind that the clothing is going to a good home and where it is needed and appreciated. But, the truth goes much deeper and is considerably more complex than that.

The article by Robyn Curnow and Teo Kermeliotis, “Is Your Old T-Shirt Hurting African Economies,” spells it out. “‘The long-term effect is that countries such as Malawi or Mozambique or Zambia can’t really establish or protect their own clothing industries if they are importing second-hand goods,’ says Andrew Brooks, lecturer at King’s College London and co-author of a study called ‘Unravelling the Relationships between Used-Clothing Imports and the Decline of African Clothing Industries.’

‘Your t-shirt may be quite cheap for someone to buy, but it would be better if that person could buy a locally manufactured t-shirt, so the money stays within the economy and that helps generate jobs,’ he adds.”

As a result, the African economy loses since their country’s designers, manufacturers and retailers cannot compete with the low cost of imported second hand clothing or even new cheap fashions from Asia.

Robyn Curnow and Teo Kermeliotis continue by adding, “To deal with the problem, a number of African countries have banned imports of second-hand clothes in recent years as part of efforts aimed at protecting their national textiles industries. Amongst them are the continent’s two biggest economies — South Africa and Nigeria — while many more are also debating restrictions.”

Clearly, the only real solution is for each of us to buy less and wear what we buy (see part 1 of this series, “6 Steps to Green Shopping Habits and Fabric Choices” – HyperLINK), but as you know, even with the best of intentions, that is often easier said than done.

While disposable fashion is a real issue these days, most of the women with whom I work are not chasing trends or interested in only being seen sporting the latest style. My clients and readers want clothing they feel beautiful wearing, styles that are current and meet their lifestyle needs. And, in fact, many of them profess a deep desire to have fewer clothes that they wear more often.

Where things often go wrong for them is when they can’t find what makes them feel beautiful and they keep shopping and buying things that are so-so or good enough and never truly feel happy with what they own. They watch helplessly as their closets get more crammed with stuff and yet they still have trouble getting dressed. So many of these items later end up being donated—often with tags still on them. All of this changes, however, once they understand how to choose a wardrobe that excites them and that they truly want to wear. That is when they wear items more often and keep them longer. Fewer items end up in landfills or charities or fly halfway across the world to potentially subvert another country’s fashion industry.

My purpose in sharing this information is to bring to light the complexity of the fashion industry and the far-reaching effects our wardrobe choices have on the world at large. Awareness is always the first step in making changes. I know that my research has opened my eyes and I hope that you, too, have developed a new (or growing) appreciation for the full impact of each and every wardrobe selection you make. Simply keep this in mind the next time you shop and please feel free to share any resources, ideas or questions in the comments section on my blog or on my facebook page

A very special thanks to Janet Wood-Cunliffe, the creator of the ‘Fashion Fit Formula’ for her help in finding resources and her passion for fashion and a healthy global environment.

Categorized: Fashion, Tips & Tools

Eco-Friendly Wardrobe Secrets:
Keep it Clean & Green (Part 2 of 3)

The environmental impact of your wardrobe doesn’t stop at production: Until I did some research it had never occurred to me that how I cleaned my clothes had such a significant impact on how environmentally friendly they were. I knew, of course, that dry cleaning used intense chemicals and that anything that involved heat required extra energy, but I hadn’t realized how much!

Continue reading…

Eco-Friendly Wardrobe Secrets You Never Knew (Part 1 of 3)

A year or so ago I read an incredibly enlightening book, “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion,” by Elizabeth Cline. I was both mesmerized and appalled as I read page after page of well-researched information about what has happened to the world of fashion and the far reaching impact of our changing approach to buying clothes. Continue reading…

Impulse or Inspiration?
How to make sure you wear what you buy

Do you find your wardrobe at the mercy of impulse purchases? Cambridge Dictionary defines an impulse buy as, “something you buy suddenly and without thinking carefully.” My definition when it comes to your wardrobe is an item you enthusiastically purchase but never wear—its home becomes the bottom of your closet where all the other impulse items reside.

Continue reading…

Categorized: Fashion, Tips & Tools

Are You a Scarf Person?

Are you intrigued by scarves, but don’t wear them because they feel fussy, messy and bulky? Do you wonder if scarves are worth the trouble and investment (no matter how small), or are they a trend you should ignore?

Continue reading…

Categorized: Fashion, Tips & Tools

3 Wardrobe Resolutions You Can Practice Every Day of the Year

Have your New Year resolutions already fallen by the wayside? Did you enthusiastically get on the treadmill for a week and are now draping clothing on it in a futile attempt to hide it so you don’t feel guilty? Did you commit to clean out your closet or sort through all the books on your bookshelf, but somehow the days have flown by and everything is still where it was?

Continue reading…

What Not to Wear to the Gym

Whether you are firmly entrenched in a regular workout routine or you have made a New Year resolution to get moving, the topic of what to wear while you are working out is always timely.

I’ll be honest. I have not been a fan of working out. I know for some people it’s a must and they cannot imagine not doing it, but that has not been true for me most of my life. Continue reading…

Is Black and White Flattering on You?

It seems that nearly every season black and white, despite the fact that it is one of the hardest contrast levels to pull off successfully, is touted as the go-to color combination.

And, each year I sigh in resignation and shake my head. Continue reading…

3 Self Check-In’s to Make 2015 Epic

2015 is nearly here! How fast did this year go? With each passing day it seems that you resurface at dinner time or later after a sea of meetings, carpools, family events, holiday preparations and an occasional crisis (hopefully minor) here or there. It is so easy for a week, month or year go by and wonder where did it go and what did I do that was rejuvenating and fun. The end of another year should be a time to celebrate not a time to collapse on the nearest couch with a sigh of relief.

Continue reading…

Jackie: Before
Jackie: After
Diane: Before
Diane: After
Amanda: Before
Amanda: After
Donna: Before
Donna: After
Jan: Before
Jan: After
Sara: Before
Sara: After
Marianne: Before
Marianne: After
Annie: Before
Annie: After
Meryl: Before
Meryl: After

I just got my Fashion Fit Formula results and your new ebook. This will help SO much. Oh my gosh, it’s like the missing link as far as altering things. I went through EVERYTHING in my closets and dumped years and years worth of stuff that had been sitting around not doing anybody any good. I generated two Hefty bags worth of stuff to get rid of. One is for a high-end consignment store and the other is for Goodwill. I had a ton of stuff from Coldwater Creek sample sales. Some of them are incredibly beautiful, but don’t work with my hair etc. 

There are going to be some happy small women in Sandpoint when they find this stuff at the consignment store. I tried on everything and isolated all the stuff that needs to be altered/fixed. It was so much fun! When I’m done, I’ll have a bunch of “new” clothes. Susan Daffron