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5 Tips for Wearing Leggings Over 65, According to Style Experts

Whether you're on the yoga mat or out to lunch, leggings are a chic wardrobe staple at any age.

Even before the pandemic, "athleisure" emerged from the fashion "don't" closet into the mainstream trend arena. And when so many of us are spending more time at home, having clothing items that work on the yoga mat, on the job, and out to dinner is more important than ever. The best news is, leggings are an ageless staple that look great on everyone, as long as what you see in the mirror sparks joy. For women over 65, fashion stylists have some tips that can keep your leggings looking attractive, on-trend, and put-together (and, of course, comfy!). Read on for the best ways to wear 'em.

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Black is the best choice.

Older Woman in Black Leggings
Natalie Board/Shutterstock

If there's one item that should be on the must-have basics list, it would probably be the black legging. Black is an incredibly stylish and flattering neutral. It's slimming and confers a sleek and tailored look, which is especially brilliant below the waist.

Black leggings can also do the job of tights, but with more comfort and, in cooler seasons, warmth. "Many leggings are really no different than footless tights. I always figure that you can wear them under your skirts and dresses in the winter for a tad more coverage," writes Jodie Filogomo on her style blog Jodie's Touch of Style. "Remember if it's really cold there are even fleece-lined tights or leggings to keep you warmer." They're also a great option if you have a dress that feels a tad too short.

A good, thick pair of black leggings can even work in place of skinny jeans or pants, given the color's forgiving qualities. Uniqlo is a great place to look in the legging-as-pants category, and in a YouTube video, style expert Margaret Manning of Sixty and Me recommends the brand LuLaRoe for this look.

Make sure they fit correctly.

Older Woman Stretching in Leggings

At any age, fit is key to looking polished and intentional, and this especially applies to leggings. Low-waisted styles are very unforgiving and don't accentuate the waist. Likewise, too-tight pairs will highlight any problem areas.

On her fitness blog Agent Athletica, writer Suzanne says that when shopping for luon leggings (the type commonly made for the gym), make sure the fabric has no sheen to it. "When luon is overstretched, it'll get a bit of a shiny look to it… If the fabric is shiny at the hips or thighs when you are standing normally, you should probably size up." Another sign that leggings are too small is if you see the fabric wrinkling around the crotch area.

Suzanne also recommends moving around in the leggings you're trying on. "Try twisting, squatting, jogging in place, raising your arms, lunging, etc. Notice how your clothes feel when you're done. Did everything stay put, or did it slide up or down? Do you feel like you need to adjust anything?"

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And ensure the material is good quality.

Older Woman Jogging
Evgeny Atamanenko/Shutterstock

Given that leggings fit so snugly, it's even more important to choose a pair made of quality fabric. Manning suggests a thicker fabric for women over 65, specifically ponte, a double-knit jersey-type fabric made of rayon, polyester, and spandex. YouTube fitness pro Meagan Hesham references "going-out leggings," those with a lower spandex composition, which means less stretch, but are a bit thicker and more pant-like. They may not be the leggings you'll want to lounge around in, but they'll provide more support and sleekness for dressing up an outfit.

Consider a shapewear option.

Spanx Store

If you prefer some extra support with your leggings, countless companies make shapewear versions. They promise everything from the usual slimming properties to "booty-lifting magic" and tummy control. Key components are the absence of seams, sculpting performance fabrics with built-in lift, high-rise fits, and stay-put waistbands to smooth out the midsection.

On their product review site Wirecutter, The New York Times recommends the Compressive High-Rise Legging from Girlfriend Collective. "Self conscious about my tummy and still feel cute in these," wrote one commenter. "I feel very secure and confident in them," wrote another.

READ THIS NEXT: 4 Tips for Wearing a Leather Jacket Over 60, According to Stylists.

Opt for a longer top.

Long Shirt and Leggings

When wearing leggings, the most popular pairing for older women is a longer top. "As we get older… we want to find pieces of clothing that add structure to our body," explains fashion stylist Sarah Nisparos in a YouTube video. "A really great way to do that is to make sure that you have three pieces every time you're getting dressed. So make sure you have a trouser and a blouse and that great third piece, which is normally a blazer or a cardigan or even a trenchcoat." In her example, she pairs a black legging "that's nice and thick and keeps the structure of the leg" with a silk blouse and a cropped trenchcoat that has "really great shoulder structure to it."

Janie Copeland, lifestyle vlogger and founder of Over Sixty With Flair, suggests a long tunic sweater. "It's a longer top, but it's not huge. It's long rather than boxy… you've got the tight leggings, but you've got the modesty for the mature woman." If you go for black leggings, consider pairing them with black shoes. "If you wear the same color boots, it elongates the leg," notes Copeland.

But, of course, above all else, the most important piece of advice is to make sure you feel comfortable and confident.

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