Legging your way to style at forty plus

by Sylvia

style tips for wearing leggings after 40

Today I present you with a guest article by Shirley who loves to wear leggings over 40. Below she will give you some ideas on how to wear them. For my own comprehensive guide on the topic check out my guide on how to wear leggings over 40.

The truly great thing about leggings is that, when they’re not worn as trousers, they can suit a variety of body types and look age appropriate on women all across the age spectrum.

I feel that there are five important style rules for wearing leggings:

  1. Choose thick, non-shiny fabric like a double knit or high grade cotton. This fabric will hide any unsightly bulges, not be see-though and not look cheap.
  2. Layering is crucial. Think of leggings as tights rather than pants and put them under skirts, dresses, tunics or with an over-sized long white classic shirt.
  3. Choose longer tops (at least to mid-thigh) camouflage the crutch areastomach, and hips.
  4. Leggings can look tacky with the wrong footwear ie high heels, so I prefer flats, boots, or a low heel.
  5. Never wear leggings that are the same colour as your skin; otherwise you will look naked and bigger than you actually are.



In my opinion you cannot go wrong with the perfect black leggings because they are a classic staple in any wardrobe and in most cases, will slim your silhouette by elongating your legs. If you’re really feeling brave and confident, try a print legging with knee-high black boots and a black top that covers your bottom. This combination can look young and chic in a good way.


Always make sure the leggings you choose aren’t too tight or so sheer that your thighs wobble when you walk and your knees show through, at the same time make sure they aren’t so loose that they bag at the knees or anywhere else.


If you wear your leggings correctly they are a cozy, comfortable fashion staple that can be worn casually and depending on how you accessorize, take you from day to evening. I personally like quick and easy pieces that I feel great in and can be jazzed up with a well cut jacket, amazing bag, jewellery or a cute scarf.


Coco Chanel said to achieve great style always check your look then remove one accessory before venturing out, so keeping it simple is the best advice I can give anyone when it comes to style over 40.

When you concentrate on investing in a few good quality, modern and fashionable comfortable staples, designed with you in mind, you are on your way to a new, more stylish and more confident you.


Shirley is a social entrepreneur, life coach and creator of the perfect black leggings (PBL). She also writes a monthly relationship column for a top health and well being magazine. Find more info about her on her website.

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 traceyliz65

Sylvia the link to your guide on leggings didn’t work…
How timely… I just purchased a really nice pair of black corduroy ones to wear with boots for the winter…


2 Sylvia

Thanks Tracey. Fixed it now…


3 EdnaM

I’m a fan of Shirley’s and her free lifecoaching site is a girl’s best friend when you need some sensible advice. How great is she looking. Even though I’m not over forty I love her leggings.


4 lowson

I love black leggings and live in them so this article is great thank you! I have the Venus Cow PBL and they do what they say.


5 Stylemum

Great tips. I’ve always been a bit afraid of leggings as I thought they made my leggings look short……. Max Wall, springs to mind, not a good look but I’ll definitely be giving a try now.
Your collages make it all look so easy, keep the colour in the accessories. Got it. Thanks.


6 Lorraine

Ha ha! I always think of Max Wall too! That must give my age away!


7 Yogagal

Just saw the link on Twitter. I wear leggings all the time in the studio and I definitely need help stylin them up. The simple advice I like really like. Would have reblogged this but couldn’t find the button. Head scratch.


8 ChaCha

I love my VC leggings. Great article Shirley. Thanks Sylvia. I have enjoyed looking around Forty Plus Style.


9 Fefe

Hey Shirley, you are looking good girlfriend. Give us a holla when you are in LA. Missing your styling.


10 tara chi

I hate summer clothes because I have to show off my bad bits so i cannot wait for the winter boots to come back out, sorry! I live in black leggings so thanks for this and the tips are great! She looks very good for her age and not airbrushed yippee hope for us all.


11 Sarah Jane

I enjoyed reading this and the animal print leggings are daring but don’t look too young for 40 plus which I am surprised by. I think as you say the secret is to style with a plain top. I have pretty good legs but the middle after kids is not so great so I’ll be giving them a try with a baggy sweater and ballerina flats. Perfect for shopping in Roma. I am feeling dangerous.

Sarah Jane


12 Dora

The black leggings look really good quality, especially the last picture with the sparkle at the ankle. I read her column in your wellness magazine and had no idea she had a fashion line so surprised. The tips are v good thanks.


13 Huang Lim

This is first time I visit your site and I like the legging advice. I am in still school so I wear leggings a lot but usually just with sneakers and T-shirt. Now I get some good idea to look better. My Mom will be happy when I tell her of style for mothers and grandmothers. This site very good information for everyone not just over forty.


14 Barbara

You have to cover up the camel toe otherwise, cheap, cheap, cheap. This lady looks awesome and has done it right. Non shiny and no skin showing through. Perfect.


15 Greetje

For me skinnies are daring enough and I prefer to wear them with longer jackets or tunics. Legging are a no go area for me. But …. each to his own. (Is that the right expression?)


16 Rita

Sorry…IMO leggings are for ice skating and yoga, not street-wear. I’m fine with them or tights under a knee-length skirt or dress, but otherwise, they show too much (at any age).


17 Lorraine

I am with you Rita – you may not know the references to Max Wall above but if I can find a pic it will be with you shortly!


18 Ofelia

I only wear leggins under my skirts or with skirts because I don”t like them as pants but they look great on Shirley!


19 Poppy

It is good to see leggings not legs underneath leggings. All the ones I ever find are so cheap you can see straight through them and with no support what so ever. My legs aren’t fat but I do have some celulite on the backs which if I’m are not careful is highly visible.
Decent quality material I think makes all the difference when it comes to leggings and probably why these look great.


20 Vivienne Chan

Wow first I need to say how good Shirley looks. She certainly has the legs for leggings. It is interesting for me she is also a life coach because I have used a life coach which has really helped with getting my confidence back which I think many women feel is lacking after a certain age.
Before this I would just throw on anything to cover up and not really care. It was because I didn’t feel good about myself. Now I wear anything I like and don’t care about rules or what people say we should or shouldn’t wear. I’ve seen Jane Fonda in leggings in her seventies and she looks fantastic, so if you stay in shape and are healthy, why not.



She looks great. Not too much of a fan of leggings in general. On younger or older women.


22 Annette

Personally I wouldn’t wear leggings with a short or tight top but with a long tunic only.
Dark colours and then combine them with flats or lower wedges in summer or knee hight boots in the cold season.

Annette | Lady of Style


23 The Style Crone

I’m a fan of leggings and wear them all the time. Great tips Shirley!


24 Deborah

I am a fan of leggings and I find them great for our Spring. I love the examples here but my personal preference is for tops that hit say 2 to 3 inches above the knee, otherwise I feel I am wearing my leggings as pants (which doesn’t work for me) and I feel too exposed.


25 Dee Brady

The first picture looks like tights, not leggings?


26 Michelle

Any idea where the white blouse is from (under the orange flats)? Love the cut. And the orange flats…? Cute and thks for the tips!


27 Karen

I love your web site!!


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