Can women over 40 look lovely in leggings?

Nicole wearing Alaska street style with leggings, knee-high boots, tunic

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.

It wasn’t before the 80s that this legwear 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 tighs. 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.

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 an interesting aspect of this legwear.

The second round never ended in Alaska

Around 2010, leggings again became a trend beyond the gym. In Alaska, women started wearing them instead of their Alaska classic skinnies. Alaskan women have worn their legwear 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
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 an Alaska fun fact. At balls in winter, many women (including me) wear leggings under their dance gowns. See what I wore at the 40 Below Ball.

In summer, women wear their leggings with a flannel or sun-protective shirt or top and x-tra tufs for flyfishing 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 paisly, Indian block print or ikat.

Wear the right look in every situation by looking up 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 bootcut jeans. Thus, in leggings, the air remains stagnant and acts as a good isolator.

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 depsite 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 get cold.
stylist donning a zebra print winter coat

older woman in animal print winter coat, leather beret, boots and jeggings
Max Mara zebra print coat, LeatherCoatsEtc leather beret and gloves, Kate Moss for Longchamp satchel, 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.

Leggings are a big trend right now

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.

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 BellAndrea Schwartz, Nancy, 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

© 2013-2019 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved


6 thoughts on “Can women over 40 look lovely in leggings?

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

    Emma xxx

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

    Liebe Grüße Sabine

  4. 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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