If you’re anything like me, leggings have become your go-to bottoms for this time at home. They’re comfy enough for the home office, breathable enough for walks and workouts, and versatile enough for grocery runs. But there’s an art to wearing leggings. And with so many fabrics, fits, and patterns, it can get confusing to know which leggings will best flatter you. With these tips, women 40, 50, 60, and beyond can wear leggings and look fabulous doing it!
How to Wear Leggings Over 40
Choosing the Right Leggings Fabric
The fabric of your leggings will determine many things, including how warm, stretchy, dressy, or see-through they are (be sure to check your bum in the mirror when you bend over!). The fabric also sets the stage for your leggings’ purpose: are they athletic wear, casual chic wear, or date wear? As a good rule of thumb, your leggings’ fabric weight should be closer to stretch pants than to tights. Whatever fabric you choose, look for a high Lycra or spandex content to avoid sagging knees and bums.
Some classic fabric options:
- Ponte knit
- Denim (jeggings)
- Faux suede
- Faux leather
When it comes to color and pattern, darker colors will be more slimming and will work better for dressing up. Patterns on leggings range from busy and bright to small and subtle; choose colors and patterns that fit your personal brand, but also be aware that those busier, brighter patterns will draw attention to your lower half.
How Leggings Should Fit
Leggings are designed to fit snugly, not to hang off your legs with inches to spare. And since leggings are stretchy, their fit is also forgiving. That said, if you feel stuffed into your leggings like a sausage on the grill, try the next size up—you’ll be much more comfortable! High-waisted leggings are a must to minimize muffin top, and a wider waistband will help them stay in place when you move or sit.
What Tops to Wear With Leggings
Even the most stylish leggings are not a substitute for traditional pants, and so require a top that covers your front and backside. (Yes, this applies even if your bum is a paragon of shapeliness! But you can sidestep this rule during your workout.) A longer top makes leggings look sleeker and more chic, and it keeps the eye from fixating on your midsection and rear.
Great tops to wear with leggings:
- Tunic-length shirts and sweaters
- Longline blazers
- Oversize chambray shirts
- Thigh-length or knee-length cardigans, or dusters
When choosing the right top to pair with your leggings, remember you’re going for length, not width. Aim for a shapely fit that’s not too tight but also not too boxy. You don’t want to look like a huge torso on tiny stick legs! Side slits can help elongate your legs and balance your proportion.
The Best Shoes to Wear With Leggings
Leggings are surprisingly versatile when it comes to shoe pairings. Low-profile shoes, including ballet flats, slides, mules, loafers, booties, sneakers, and low-heeled pumps, are all great choices. Boots from combat, to knee, to riding are also surprisingly easy to pull off, especially if they are a similar color to your leggings. Be wary of ankle-strap shoes, stilettos, and flip-flops.
What is your favorite way to wear your leggings?
I’m Kay Hunter, Orange County image consultant for men and women over 40. I transform mature professionals, active adults, and seniors into more successful and confident versions of themselves. By expressing yourself through style and fashion, you’ll get that boost of confidence, visibility, and value you need to get to the next level. Enhance the joy of living—because great style is ageless!