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Unbranded leggings, Sanchez tall black flat boots, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Chartier juste un clou bangle, amethyst earrings and pendant necklace (all own) and sun-protective shirt c/o Coolibar

Leggings have been around several times. Sure, they are comfy. This post answers the question how women over 40 can look lovely in leggings.

  1. Leggings have come a long way
  2. From the gym to the street
  3. The second round never ended in Alaska
    • Leggings styled for winter
    • Summer style with leggings
    • Why leggings remained an Interior Alaska favorite
  4. Cute Saturday Afternoon Cropped Leggings Outfit
  5. Leggings are a big trend right now
  6. Leggings at the gym
  7. Wrapping up how to look lovely in leggings

Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post.

Leggings have come a long way

When I was in High School, we wore leggings during PE. At that time, they were exclusively gym wear. And they were all black except for some expansive solid color one with a neon pink or neon yellow wide stripe on the side. You bought them in a store. There weren’t any print on demand designer leggings with crazy patterns or so.


Nononsense review zoom-in on black denim leggings

over 50 years old fashion blogger in black denim leggings
Black denim leggings c/o No nonsense styled for a posh weekend look with own sequin top under college T-shirt and Burberry London trench coat with Salvatore Ferragamo pumps, Doney and Brooke bag and DIY necklace. See this post for review of two pairs of No Nonsense leggings.

From the gym to the street

Today we wear athleisure at work and play. It wasn’t before the 1980s that this leg-wear became day-wear. They were worn in a casual posh way with one of these super long blazer with wide shoulders and camisole plus high heels. The blazer covered our thighs. At that time, I was totally into that look. It was more comfortable than a pair of skinny jeans and looked polished nevertheless. Full disclosure: I still like the look, but unfortunately it’s so yesteryear today.

over 50 years old woman looking lovely in leggings with leopard print
Gym outfit at dance practice with leopard print cotton leggings c/o No nonsense and own sequin top under printed T-shirt with dance shoes


Like often in fashion, styles pop up again once in a while. And, yes you don’t wear them anymore the way you wore them the last time they were around. Well, over 40 there are also a lot of other mistakes to avoid to look great in leggings. Let’s jump to the second time around and focus on Alaska to discuss interesting aspects of this footless tights.

No nonsense leopard print cotton leggings styled in a going-to-gym look with printed Tee and denim jacket
Leopard print cotton leggings c/o No nonsense with own printed T-shirt, Great Northwest denim jacket, and Keds polka dot print sneakers make for a cute going-to-the-gym outfit.

The second round never ended in Alaska

Around 2010, leggings again became a trend beyond the gym. This time, global prints like ikat were It among young women. Mature women often preferred solid, dark pairs as they give the illusion of lean legs. Various brands offer good quality, cheap pairs in other fabric than lycra. Dressy options are twill and black denim leggings.

When wearing leggings go for a dark, solid pair to create the illusion of lean legs. #leggings #styletip Click To Tweet

Stylist’s remark: When your torso is apple or inverted triangle shape go for a light color with your leggings and a dark color on top. This trick creates a more balanced look.

Leggings styled for winter

In Alaska, women started wearing them instead of their Alaska classic skinnies. Alaskan women have worn their leg-wear in winter instead of tights under their skirts or dresses, with a long sweater or instead of jeans under their kuspaks. The footwear can be anything from duck booties, over mukluks, or tall flat leather boots to lobben boots. Of course with insole and double wool socks. In the Interior, people learned to avoid cold feet at frigid temperatures.


stylist in jeggings, riding boots, athleisure shirt

over 50 years old fashion blogger in leggings, tall boots, paisley shirt
Outfit details: Unbranded leggings, Sanchez tall black flat boots, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Chartier juste un clou bangle, amethyst earrings and pendant necklace (all own) and sun-protective shirt c/o Coolibar


Just another Alaska fun fact. At balls in winter, many women (including me) wear leggings under their dance gowns. See these awesome ball outfits worn in the cold of winter.

Summer style with leggings

In summer, Alaskan women wear their leggings with a flannel or sun-protective shirt or top and x-tra tuffs for fly-fishing and with flip-flops on their bikes, at the grocery store and farmers market. Those leggings with really crazy print patterns are among the Street Style favorites of the young women. Women our age don classic animal or global-inspired ethnic prints like paisley, Indian block print or ikat.

Know what to wear when in my book How to Dress for Success in Midlife. Buy your copy now.

Why leggings remained an Interior Alaska favorite

Interestingly, even when leggings weren’t It for a while, they stayed a favorite basic in dressing in the Interior. In contrast to skinnies, leggings permit a slightly thicker air layer between the skin and the fabric than skinnies do. An air layer of that thickness is too thin to allow air movement within the clothing like it occurs in straight or boot-cut jeans. Thus, in leggings, the air remains stagnant and acts as a good insulator.

On the contrary, the too thin air layer in skinnies permits heat conduction. Conduction is the process that causes the handle of an iron pan to get hot when frying despite of no contact with the fire. In case of skinnies, the body heat would be conducted (i.e. travel) thru the adjacent denim to the cool outside air.

A recipe to catch a cold!


stylist donning a zebra print winter coat

older woman in animal print winter coat, leather beret, boots and jeggings
Outfit details: Max Mara zebra print coat, LeatherCoatsEtc leather beret and gloves, Kate Moss for Longchamp satchel, unbranded footless tights and Sanchez riding boots (all own)


In case of wide leg pants, air is moving in the legs with every step the wearer makes. Also warm (due to your body heat) air in the legs exchanges with cold air that enters at the open ankles. That area is what we call a cold bridge. Thus, many people pull the upper part of their socks over the pants’ legs. Doing so, cuts off the air exchange. Note that the air exchange means a constant loss of body heat. It’s all about thermal comfort in Alaska.

Cute Saturday Afternoon Cropped Leggings Outfit

This dress is very body conscious and requires shape wear underneath. I know, I know, not very weekend. But when you love the pressure of shape wear, it’s a Do. In this outfit, the knotted cardigan serves to

  1. defining the waist
  2. upping the style factor and
  3. as an easy way to carry it just in case it gets cool in the late afternoon.

midlife blogger in striped mini dress, leggings, shoulder bag, polka dots canvas and H-bag

#midlifestyle back view of woman weekend outfit with knit dress, leggings, crossbody and Keds

#fashionover50 mature woman in mini dress with leggings, Keds and cardigan knotted around the waist

#fashionover50 older lady in black red green white striped dress

#advancedstyle older woman jumping of a stone in a sweater dress with leggings, crossbody bag

older woman landing after jumping off a huge stone in a knit dress with purse and Keds
Zaful knit dress, leggings, Keds, Notations white and black striped cardigan, Hermes Constance shoulder purse, lapis statement necklace (all own) and bracelet c/o Lizzy James


Leggings are a big trend right now

Especially, when staying at home. For this post, I styled the current leggings trend the Interior Alaska way with a sun-protective shirt and solid midnight color leggings in a denim inspired elastic fabric.

If you like the look please do not hesitate to pin the photos to your Pinterest board for your friends, family and colleagues to see.

Leggings at the gym

At the gym, leggings look best when you wear a top that covers your hips. See example photos below.


photo showing the tailored, but loose fit of the T-shirt around the waist and length

woman that looks lovely in leggings with a loose Tee

mature dancer stretching at a bar wearing leggings and a long boat-neck tee cut for women over 40
Gym look details: Untucked boat-neck T-shirt c/o Covered Perfectly with own Very Fine Dancesport shoes, enamel bangle, snow crystal ponytail barrette, gemstone necklace and earrings and sunflower print leggings c/o RedBubble


Wrapping Up How to Look Lovely in Leggings

This post covered the history of the legging trends, how it was worn in different decades, how I wear the trend over 50  and how the trend is worn in Alaska. When you are interested in more tips and ideas see this guide on how to style athleisure at the link.

Stylish Monday – Lovely in leggings
November Stylish Monday hostesses looking lovely in leggings

Click here to enter

Please note that the looks in the above photo collage are not those we present in our posts. Thus, to get more outfit ideas on how to look lovely in your leggings over 40 visit the blogs of my fellow hostesses

Nina Bandoni,

Suzanne Bell,

Andrea Schwartz,

Nancy Baten,

Cynthia Scurry,

Emma Peach,

Julie Augustyn ,

Robin Lamonte,

Michele Clark,

Hilda Smith and

Jessica Jannenga.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting the party.

See these lovely leggings outfit ideas. #StylishMonday #linkup Click To Tweet

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Photos of me: G. Kramm

© 2013-2021 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Hilda Smith

    I can see how they would be an essential in ALASKA. But never imagined them under a ball gown. As always love your historical and local explanation x

  2. Emma Peach

    Fab sun-protective shirt! I love the striped tunic dress you’re wearing in the collage photo too!

    Emma xxx

  3. Nicole Mölders

    Yes, they are among Fairbanks’ favorites.

  4. Sabine Gimm

    Ich mag Leggings liebe Nicole. Trage sie allerdings nicht mehr so wie früher mit einem kurzen Oberteil. Deine Looks sind super.

    Liebe Grüße Sabine

  5. mummabstylish

    Yep they certainly can! I tend to wear mine with a long tunic – it’s just they way I prefer to look. Jacqui x

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