A Leg Up - une femme d'un certain âge

A Leg Up

In recent months, I’ve noticed a few women my age and older wearing leggings with dresses or longer tunics and looking très chic. I wore and loved them in the 80’s, but have been hesistant to try them again, thinking that old adage about not wearing a trend the second time around may be true. So what do you think…should women over forty wear leggings, or leave them for the kids? I’ve put up a poll to the right.

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  1. December 4, 2008 / 1:34 pm

    For me, the problem is less about age and more about shape. A legging that ends at the ankle cuts the leg in the same way an ankle strap on a shoe does — if your legs are short or heavy enough that you shouldn’t wear an ankle strap, then probably you should stay away from a legging, as well. Go for a footed tight instead.

  2. December 4, 2008 / 2:16 pm

    I agree it’s a multi-factor consideration till aun certain age-maybe one’s mid 50s? Then unless you are maybe Lauren Hutton it looks a bit muttony. Of course there will always be the exception,like my 62 year old GF who looks great in a nearly mini skirt with leggings.

  3. December 4, 2008 / 6:38 pm

    I’m 39 for two more weeks–may I comment?

    I wouldn’t wear leggings unless I had something solidly covering my derriere and upper thighs. Even the flawless undergrads I see around here look like they’ve forgotten pants if the top is any shorter than that. Just my aging $0.02.

  4. December 4, 2008 / 7:32 pm

    Miss J thinks it depends on the wearer. Some of “the kids” shouldn’t be wearing them IMJO. Like Miss Deja, Miss J rocked the leggings in the 80s. She’s not sure she has the legs for it anymore. If Miss Deja’s got legs and knows how to use them, by all means do so!

  5. Carlene
    December 4, 2008 / 2:11 pm

    I’m not tall tall (5’7″), but I’m a yoga girl with splotchy legs; they work with my style (with a tunic, dress or skirt).

    I like the kind that are really long and actually go under the foot, with flats.

  6. metscan
    December 4, 2008 / 2:36 pm

    It depends.. I personally favor Wolford 66 or 80 den. opaque tights. I don´t like to wear shoes without stockings, and sandals-well all the sand gets inside. Maybe leggings would be nice at home,but running in and out all the time, there is again that shoe problem.

  7. see you there!
    December 4, 2008 / 4:20 pm

    It depends (so says my vote). Body type? Occasion? I think they are a risky choice for many reasons only one of which is age.


  8. La Belette Rouge
    December 4, 2008 / 5:21 pm

    I am an opaque tight lover. No leggings for me.
    p.s. I am going to Cole Haan today.:-)

  9. The Good Life in Virginia
    December 4, 2008 / 6:00 pm

    i too, like opaque tights versus leggings…thinking leggings are for the “younger” generations. just my thoughts.

  10. Kalee
    December 4, 2008 / 10:43 pm

    I speak for a woman about to 25 in a few months, and I say it depends on many things….but mainly how do you feel? If you feel you no longer feel young enough, or that you have the right legs, then you would be uncomfortable while wearing, and that is never attractive. But if you love them, the seem comfortable, and you figure outfits that are chic and classy that work with them (and I have no doubt that if you choose to wear them, you will find those outfits) then I say go ahead and rock them! I have found as I have gotten older that how you wear something (confidence wise) has as much importance as whether they particularly suit you….because a woman like yourself would never wear something she didn’t feel suited her, not just her age!

  11. Tee
    December 5, 2008 / 7:16 am

    I’m 45 and I wear them, though not in the same way I did in the 80s.

    1980s me thought wearing them with squashy ankle boots and a short tunic/ oversized sweater was simply ‘it’. These days I wear them with ballet flats or wedges under skirts or dresses. I’ve just bought a 50s-inspired watercolour print skirt which works well with this look.

    I find leggings have been handy transeasonal pieces when it’s been too cold for bare legs and too warm for boots. They’re also handy for covering ‘mozzarella knee’ in skirts just that little bit too short.

    I think any age can wear them with the right combination. The other day I saw a women who must have been over 60 looking great in a pair worn with a grey jersey skirt, white teeshirt and black ballet wrap cardi.

  12. Karen
    December 5, 2008 / 4:04 pm

    No leggings. Isaac says they are OVER, and I agree. use slim pants instead.

  13. December 6, 2008 / 2:35 pm

    StyleSpy – from the knees down, my legs are pretty good, but I’m thinking that leggings would have a shortening effect on me…not what I’m looking for.

    Carlene – you mean like a stirrup pant? Or just a long legging that goes over the heel?

  14. December 6, 2008 / 2:37 pm

    Duchesse – yes, the 60’s-ish women I saw who were making it work had more of a bohemian look overall, and it worked for them. I think you’re right that it does depend a lot on the person and their style.

    metscan – I keep hearing about these Wolford tights…I’m really going to have to try them!

  15. December 6, 2008 / 2:39 pm

    Wendyb – darling, you still get CARDED! Of course you can wear whatever the hell you want (and look fabulous!).

    Darla – I agree, which is why I’m not seriously inclined to go that route.

  16. December 6, 2008 / 2:41 pm

    LBR – I think I need to think more seriously about tights, now that the weather has taken a cooler turn. Ahem? Cole Haan??? I saw the cute Kate Spades, but what about the boots???

    Good Life – I’m tending to agree with you.

  17. December 6, 2008 / 2:48 pm

    Dana – yes, of course. The women I’m thinking of were wearing them under knee-length skirts or dresses.

    Miss Janey – well, the old gams aren’t what they once were, but the ankles are holding up well!

  18. December 6, 2008 / 2:52 pm

    Kalee – I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with “how do they make you feel?” Ultimately I’d probably feel like I was trying too hard, or a bit self-conscious. Pas chic!

    Tee – worn with a grey jersey skirt, white teeshirt and black ballet wrap cardi. This is pretty much how I’ve observed 60-ish women wearing them as well; I think I’d have to go with this more minimalist/bohemian style to make them work. It sounds like you’ve incorporated them into your style quite nicely.

  19. December 6, 2008 / 2:54 pm

    Karen – well if Issac says so…

  20. IRENE
    December 6, 2008 / 11:21 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. metscan
    December 7, 2008 / 5:25 am

    P.S Deja! Wolford IS the best. They also have those that kind of `flattens´the tummy part. I once accidentally bought a pair and wondered like wow, cause my skirt actually felt so loose. Having once bought wolfords,I´m not ever going to buy anything else.

  22. December 9, 2008 / 1:35 pm

    I’m not too fond of this trend. It could be because it is a trend, though. But I agree with StyleSpy: leggings do not work for everyone.

  23. Penny
    September 1, 2009 / 4:27 pm

    Ha! I have this same dilemma in regards to leggings. I remember wearing them as a teenager and as a cheerleader. I’m 36 now. I come from Jersey — so even though I didn’t necessarily sport the acid wash – huge hair look — the legging look for me has been stigmatized forever…lol

    I do have to admit though; some women are really doing a fabulous job of redeeming the legging look. That Polyvore outfit you posted is a great example of how leggings do work.

  24. Anonymous
    May 14, 2011 / 12:53 pm

    In Venice I saw a very well dressed woman in her late 50’s or so, wearing black leggings under a very slightly a-line black skirt an inch or so below the knee, white shirt, and, I think, black flats. She looked both classic and very stylish. I envied her.

  25. May 14, 2011 / 1:51 pm

    Anonymous, I was thinking about packing a pair for our trip; now I definitely will. They are so comfortable and practical under a skirt.

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