How Old is Too Old for Leggings?

Older woman wearing leggings
Older woman wearing leggings

This article was originally written in 2008 and rewritten in 2018.

Dear Budget Fashionista,

How old is too old to wear leggings? I recently found some cute babydoll tops at Kohl’s that would look great with them, but I feel like leggings would be trying way too hard. Plus I’m carrying some extra pounds! Any advice?

You hear all kinds of opinions thrown around about leggings. They shouldn’t be worn as pants. People of a certain age shouldn’t wear them. The truth is that leggings are fabulous largely because they’re so versatile, universally appealing, and appropriate for people of all ages. We all want to be comfortable, so it only makes sense!

The Rules of Wearing Leggings

That said, there are some basic tenets that apply to everyday wear, particularly if you want to pull them off without a second thought — just as you would, say, your favorite pair of jeans. So what’s the best way to wear these wardrobe essentials?

Consider the Season

Consider the season first. They’re natural fall and winter contenders because they pair so well with cold-weather basics, like long cardigans, sweaters, and coats. You can easily layer any of these over your leggings, slip into a pair of boots, and look phenomenal from head to toe.

Go for Balance

The trick is to wear a longer silhouette on top to establish some balance. This not only visually elongates your figure, but also conceals any areas of the body that you might feel uncomfortable showing. Remember that leggings naturally conform to your shape!

If you’re wearing leggings in spring or summer, an airy dress belted at the waist is a great choice that is both flattering and proportionate. A pair of cute ballet flats finishes up this outfit nicely. Avoid anything too long, or you may risk appearing frumpy. Something that falls below the hips is just right.

There’s Always the Tunic

Tunics also complement leggings well, because their loose, relaxed silhouette contrasts perfectly with the sleeker fit on the bottom. Depending on the length of the babydoll, you may be able to pull that off — just opt for a lean length.

You may be overwhelmed by the seemingly endless choices available when you first start shopping for leggings. There are all kinds of designs available — from cutouts to metallics, nothing is off limits. For the mature woman who wants something understated, however, it’s best to opt for neutral shades that will partner well with existing items in your closet. Black, gray, brown, and navy are all excellent choices.

If you want to branch out, don’t shy away from something with a pattern. Just be sure to wear your leggings with a neutral top so one doesn’t compete with the other.


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Tanya is a seasoned journalist based in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Specializing in fashion, beauty, and travel, she loves to explore new places, read as much as possible, and scour the web for fabulous finds — all in the name of research, of course.

Blog Comments

I disagree; I think if you’re over 30, you’re too old to be wearing leggings.  It looks like you’re trying too hard.  The rules in this post are my rules for people who are young enough to wear leggings- i.e. don’t wear them as pants.

Wait, I don’t get it… is this the fashion *don’t*? Because I actually don’t think the shoes look that horrible. I agree, though… no crotch-baring leggings-as-pants!

I disagree with the old-fashioned, age-ist concept that people over 30 “shouldn’t wear <fill-in-the-blank>.”

I know women in better shape at age 50 than others at 25, and I would dare say that no matter what your age, you should decide what to wear not based on your age but rather on what looks good on your body.

I am (gasp!) 36, and I love wearing leggings, and often have women come up to me in the street to compliment my outfits and style.

Please don’t judge fashion by age. It’s as old fashioned and silly as the “no white after Labor Day” rule. It’s also insulting to those of us who look damn good in our leggings despite our “ancient” ages.

I hate leggings on everyone.  Either wear tights, or pants, not some goofy hybrid of the two.

I agree with CaitlinV, the heels pictured don’t look bad with leggings. I’m sure there are other heel styles which would look okay with leggings. I also think that wearing leggings as pants are NOT okay after the age of 4 or unless you’re in aerobics class.
I agree with modernlunacy that some older women are in better shape than some 20 something women. I’m 29 and I’ve seen 40 year old women whose arms, legs and abs are more toned than mine. If your figure looks great in the outfit, go for it!

I don’t think the article meant that leggings + heels = a “don’t”, but that leggings + heels on more mature women can tend to look like you’re dressing too “young”.  Certain items, like mini skirts, have a certain age range in which they are “appropriate” attire.  If you’re out of that age range, it doesn’t matter how sexy your legs look—wearing a mini skirt is going to make people wonder what you do for a living.  I know quite a few mothers who have better bodies than I do, but if they wore certain pieces, it’d look more tacky than trendy.

I’d suggest that if you wanted the look of leggings with babydoll tops, it would be more appropriate to wear skinny jeans.  They give you a similar silhouette and show off your long legs, but are also more forgiving on your derrière, thighs, and crotch.

hey you ladies, i agree with modernlunacy – don’t be hating on the over 29 crowd who looks good in whatever the latest fashion may be. guess what? sooner than later you’ll be there too!

It’s a matter of tasteful combination of pieces. It should be balanced, and for a mature woman, the top should be at least to mid-thigh for a woman in great shape, to just above the knee or even longer for someone with a few figure issues. The top should never be fitted for a mature woman, rather of good construction with interesting design and cut.
I think flat pointed shoes of the same color of the leggings are best, and the leggings should never be the crazy metallic, distressed, or patterned type.

First, let me say that leggins are absolutely comfortable so most mature women 50ish want to be comfortable. I personally love leggins and remember how ladies wearing certain flowing type skirts past the knee with leggins and flats looks cool and comfortable. I also love leggins with the right length tunic, this too is workable for us—you just have to look in a mirror to what you really like.

1). Don’t wear leggings if you are over 30. Period. You don’t look as good in them as you think you do.

2). Never, ever, ever, ever, ever wear leggings in a business atmosphere.

3). Please, don’t wear them with short sweater tops that ride almost up to the you-know-what. Seriously, that much skin tight clothing leaves little to the imagination…or in some cases, causes nightmares.

Why not wear leggings over 30? Right, because 30 is SOOOOOOO, like, totally OLD.

Get over it. If you’ve got a nice bod and some fashion sense to boot, then by all means, wear the darn leggings!!

Are these children writing the “don’t wear leggings over 30” comments? What happens the day of a woman’s 30th birthday that suddenly changes her body so much that her wardrobe has to make an immediate shift? That is such a silly notion. You have to change as it suits your lifestyle and reeflects who you are as a person.

I’m putting in gym time like I never did in my 20’s and my body is startign to look better than it did then. I don’t want to follow the trend of those hoochie looking youngster who think camel toe and butt cheeks hanging out of too small shorts is a good luck but I’m definitely throwing on leggings with long shirts whenever I feel like it.

What Shayla said.

I will tell you what…I am 66 and I wear denim leggings. I have a round butt and not sagging and I have no belly at all. I weigh 102 and I look good in legging. No I am not bragging, Just saying. Cause if you have a good shape and your body looks good then why not wear leggings. I have seen young women with flat butts and big guts in them. Does this mean because they are young they should wear them? If you feel you look good in something then wear it. My gosh don’t worry about what other people think or say. There is mirrors all over, look in them and see how you look. If you look good then there you go!

I think aged people should not  wear legggings. It does not suits them.

Are we for real here? No leggings once you hit 30? I am a size 8 and 5’2, no way am I going to hide my figure away in shapeless jeans because I am deemed as ‘Too old’ to wear leggings. What a ridiculous statement. Personally I think a 40 year old can look better in them then a 20 year old. All depends on body shapes and how it is worn, not age.

I’m 69 5’2″ and 128 lbs, and I have a toned body from exercise. I wear leggings and tunic tops. Just because someone thinks I’m to old, doesn’t mean i have to stop wearing what I want. I have seen young ladies in tops and pants with their boobs and gut and rolls of fat hanging out, and do you think they can because they are under 40? wear want you want, but cover up those problem areas and don’t think because you are younger you can show off that belly and boobs.

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