My, my, my… but there’s been a lot of media chatter about leggings these last few weeks. I guess this is partly due to that Oregon blogger, Veronica Partridge, who made a “personal vow”  to “stop wearing leggings and yoga pants in public”; her post and the ensuing interview on Good Morning America went viral. Seriously, I’m not making this up. I read about it in Alyson Walsh’s article for the Guardian, “How To Wear Leggings the Grown-Up Way.” You can read Alyson’s article here.


What a palaver…  about pants. Or pantaloons, as they were called in the 1790’s… when they were worn by men. Yep. Pantaloons were “close fitting tights or leggings,” usually made from knitted fabric, and were worn by men (source.) But let’s just call them leggings, okay?

I love leggings. I have done for years. And like the very sensible and chic Ms. Walsh, whom I mentioned above, I see no reason to stop wearing them because I’m “a woman of a certain age.” As Alyson’s article tells us, if leggings are made from quality fabric, aren’t too tight, and are worn with layers or with longer, loose fitting tops, they make a chic and classy fashion statement. Of course, if the leggings are too thin, or too tight, and worn with, say, high heels and a pop top… they communicate a (ahem) very different message.

These two pairs of black leggings by Donna Karan and Helmut Lang look comfortable and totally chic, to me.

And this beautiful pair by The Row look polished and classy, the epitome of casual elegance, don’t you think?
I took this picture last week when I was writing my post about vintage jewellry. Paired with a layered tee-shirt and v-neck sweater, and my long, leather trimmed jacket, I thought my black leggings looked pretty darned snazzy. That’s snazzy, not sleazy.

So let’s take a closer look, sort of deconstruct the pants, shall we? 

These leggings are by Theory. They’re made like pants, with a waistband and faux pockets and a button, but they just pull on. They’re also made of a fairly heavy material with a high waist, thus ensuring that they don’t show every bump and lump and that I can keep them up. Still, I wouldn’t be wearing them with this tee shirt if I didn’t have the scarf artfully draped to hide my burgeoning middle age middle.

This is the outfit I wore last week to go shopping for jeans: my Theory leggings, Gap striped tee shirt, and Michael Kors scarf. I needed an outfit that was comfortable, with a top that would slip easily under my coat, and not be too hot in the mall, and bottoms that would slip off easily in the dressing room. I knotted the scarf under my coat, and then untied it (to drape artfully) when I was in the mall. Jean shopping can seem like a never-ending task, almost Sisyphean. So, careful planning in order to minimize frustration is vital… at least for me. Add my burgundy down coat, and this outfit is comfortable and perfectly presentable.
This is what I wore to lunch yesterday with my good friend BB: my Theory leggings, black silky Vince turtleneck, black boots…       


The Vince turtleneck is longer in the back and falls away from the body. Perfect with leggings.     


I added a bright scarf that I bought in Ireland a few years ago and my old (and recently rehabilitated) camel pea jacket. I love this outfit, mostly because I love camel and black. For a lunch downtown, I think this outfit is comfortable, casual, and polished.         


This is an outfit that I’ll wear when the weather warms up: my Theory leggings, this navy and white, striped silk blouse, also by Theory, and my Stuart Weitzman loafers.        


Like the turtleneck, this blouse works well with leggings because it is longer in the back, and falls away from the body, but isn’t too full. I’m top heavy, and the length and shape of this blouse help disguise that. 



In the spring (if it ever gets here) I’ll throw my Paige jean jacket on over the blouse. I’m liking this outfit. I feel casual, pulled together, and classy.


Of course, leggings can look sleazy, scuzzy, cheap, and, as Allyson says in her article, “slatternly.” But they can also look chic, classy and polished. And totally appropriate in most women’s wardrobes, even someone over fifty, like me. Funny that they should have become so “strangely contentious,” as Alyson’s article also says, in the past few weeks. I kind of chortled when I read that this young wife and mother in Oregon felt she had to make a “vow” about her determination to NOT wear leggings. I’m trying not to sound mean or sarcastic here. But isn’t “vow” kind of a strong word to use when talking about… ah … leggings?


Now as my husband rightly pointed out to me, I have some pretty strong opinions, myself, about what women should wear, how they should wear it, and when they should and shouldn’t wear it…. whatever “it” might be. Especially about what women my age should wear. It’s just that I won’t be making any “vows” about my choices. That’s a recipe for disaster. I’m thinking of my rampage against drawstring pants and then finding a pair I loved a month later. Ha.


Oh…. and I seriously doubt that Canada AM (let alone Good Morning America) will come calling when I write about my personal fashion choices on my blog. 


Oh… and one more thing… and then I’m totally done on the subject. Don’t forget  to check the rear-view image before you leave the house in your leggings, eh? 


There I’m done.
Any thoughts about fashion “vows?” Of the legging kind or otherwise?







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Fit After Fifty … The Saga Continues

At the beginning of September I wrote a post about staying fit after fifty, and …


In Praise of Slow Fashion

Contrary to appearances, shopping is not my favourite activity in life. I know that many …

27 thoughts on “Legging Love”

  1. It is not about age but about the body. Your legs are just perfect for leggings! Please keep wearing them. Seeing fat 20 year old or any age in semi-transparent leggings is something horrible ?. The same person might look pretty in comfy pants or dress.

    1. Thanks Martina… I will. With respect to semi-transparent leggings, I think they are not to be worn as pants/trousers by anyone, really. Better to save them for the gym or as tights under a skirt. I agree that size and body type are more constraining than age…when it comes to fashion. As a high school teacher, I saw lots of female students who wanted to wear what was "in fashion," but had a hard time to find anything suitable due to financial constraints and size issues. When a size 10 (my size) is considered an extra large in the less expensive, fast fashion stores like Zara, something is out of wack. More generous cuts were often only available in more expensive stores. Or in plus size stores where they often carried only "granny clothes." And kids want to wear what other kids are wearing.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Oh my, I feel totally envious that you can pull leggings off so well! You have great pins! I'm more bottom heavy, so I try to emphasise my thin upper body, and cover up the lower bit to give the overall illusion of thin-ness. I do wear leggings, but they're thick, like yours and balanced by a flowy top part that cuts off strategically where I start to have less thin legs 🙂 I think leg gins have gotten a bad rap from all the women that spend all day in lulu lemon, and don't actually work out.

    1. Thanks, Heidi. I hear you. The thicker the legging…the better the "illusion." And let's face it…none of us is perfect…not me, for sure. I wear leggings and skinny jeans to play up my best asset, my legs. And cover up the other stuff!
      Thanks for reading.

  3. Like most items of clothing , I think it is about a flattering fit for your body , with your long legs you have a real advantage . With my shorter legs I can't do anything clingy & stick to a slightly straighter fit that doesn't grip my legs . The fit of yours is right for me too . Your point about the shape of the tops to wear is good . Some people go seriously voluminous & drapey but I'm not keen on that – it can look rather theatrical . I do enjoy the historical references in your posts .
    Wendy in York

    1. I kind of do the same thing Wendy. I love a narrow pant leg, but pants that are skin tight and clingy make my legs look like sticks. Glad someone commented on the historical thing. I found that quite interesting. Think I'll go into a store and ask if they sell pantaloons! Okay…maybe not. Thanks for reading.

  4. I agree that body type and fit factor in…fortunately, I can wear leggings and wear them often. I love the look…and don't really care if people are whispering behind my over-60 back! I think they look fabulous and are flattering. I love all of the images you selected here, Susan, from online and on yourself. Thanks for defending the legging!

  5. As did Alyson, you offer a very convincing post on why and how one might wear leggings — you give the look some street cred, girl! 😉
    Curious to see what you'll answer your top commenter, as I know you'll recognize the heavy teen girl in leggings from highschool and treat her with compassion. Not so easy to shop for that body type, especially at that age, and leggings can seem an easy answer, often adopted with some (possibly disguised) defiance. Sad that part of the reality of fashion is that we enter a discourse where some of us think of seeing the way others dress their bodies as "something horrible." Got to switch that up, right? And soon! Have a great weekend!

    1. I love everything that Alyson recommends; her blog is great isn't it? I certainly do recognize that girl. I saw lots and lots of leggings at my school. It's so hard for girls who are not size 2 to find "cool" clothes. Sometimes I just want to give store owners a piece of my mind…that they don't offer the fashionable and reasonably priced stuff in reasonable sizes. And you're right shaming other women doesn't result in their making better fashion choices. I have two wonderful, beautiful nieces who struggle with weight and with finding anything at all that they like to wear in their small eastern city where the choice is very limited. Thanks, as always, for reading, Mater.

  6. I make no vows – I'd be sure to break whatever they were! At least I've never left my property wear pajamas. The front yard is fair game:). I love fashion, and style, but I hate protocol and overly stuff pronouncements. You look great in all your choices.

    1. I'm with you, Lisa. I try not to make any vows… hate pronouncements…and definitley will NOT be photographed in what I wear to schlump around the yard.

  7. What a fabulous article and not a vow in sight! I don't make vows either. It's all about knowing your body and how to dress it. The length and fit of a top is so important with leggings. You chose some really great ones! I can't imagine not having leggings in my wardrobe, even if I am over 50. That's just a number and it has nothing to do with wearing leggings!
    Judi at Blue Cat Review

  8. You look so lovely Susan. I think you look so good with a leggings. Leggings (of the thermal variety) I find rather useful at this time of year in place of tights worn with thick socks and long boots.

  9. First off I would like to say wonderful blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask
    if you do not mind. I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your thoughts before writing.
    I’ve had trouble clearing my mind in getting my ideas out there.
    I truly do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15
    minutes are generally wasted just trying to figure out
    how to begin. Any suggestions or hints? Appreciate it!

    1. Thanks you. After teaching writing for thirty years, and reading what other writers say, I find free writing stuff that you will later eliminate works for me. I just jump in and figure out where I’m going as I write. Then I go back and eliminate a lot of the early wandering. That writing is not wasted; it’s needed to get to the good stuff.

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