Are You Too Old to Wear Leggings?

February 27, 2015

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.

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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: www.fashionfitformula.com

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!

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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.

  • cgins

    Thanks for this, Ginger. I’d thought leggings were age-inappropriate for me. Looking forward to experimenting with jeggings and perhaps regular leggings as well. (Just not sure I want to invest in the new long top inventory I’d need for the latter.)

  • Rose Laurie Schloff

    Best article on Leggings ever. Main reason for wearing them is COMFORT!! As long as we apply Ginger’s gems!!

    • Thanks, Laurie! And, yes, they are SO comfy and cozy and we need as much cozy as possible here in the Boston area this winter!!

  • Wonderful article! Keep up the good writing.

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