A reader recently wrote asking for advice:
"I am almost 55 and wondering if leggings are appropriate for women my age? I think they are cute and looks like they would keep your legs warm! I don't want to wear something that makes me look like I'm TRYING to look too young."
I too love leggings. And I also wonder if they are appropriate (I'm in my mid-30s). My answer for both of us is yes, but that's a yes with an *. By styling them and accessorizing properly, you can make leggings look very adult. Here are a few tips:
- Knit leggings are technically pants, but unless you are a toothpick or under the age of 18, think of them more as tights and dress accordingly. Go ahead and use Lindsay Lohan and Lady Ga-Ga as examples of what not to do when it comes to tights abuse or skipping pants all together.
- Pair leggings with tunic-type tops that hit your leg between your upper knee and mid-thigh. Wear leggings under a dress (nothing longer than mid-knee).
- Chose full-length (to the ankle) leggings rather than cropped.
- Leggings worn with a high-heeled boot or shoe can lengthen the leg, especially when when done in monochrome. You can't go wrong with black leggings. You can go wrong with patterns and bright colors. Be mindful.
- The higher the heel you wear with leggings, the more sophisticated your look will be. That's not to say you need to sacrifice comfort for style: instead of ballet flats with leggings (which is cute), swap in a pair of riding boots. Instant chic.
- Regardless of age, resist the urge to wear leggings with athletic shoes/gear. This is not 1984, and despite the ripped sweatshirts making the rounds, you are not in the movie "Flashdance" or a Jane Fonda workout video.
- If you've got ample hips or behind, you can still make leggings work, but you need to watch with what you pair them. As Tim Gunn says, focus on fit. Do not wear leggings with a body-hugging top or sweater unless you want to draw attention to your backside. Instead, work with the boxy-big-shouldered '80s vibe right now. An oversized black jacket adds a stylish layer to leggings and a kicky dress.
Suggestions? Thoughts? Let's hear 'em!