Sunday, November 21, 2010

Is There an Age Limit on Jeggings?

Paige Denim Verdugo Skinny Pants

Yesterday, I learned a new word: Jeggings. Jeggings are medium-weight, stretch cotton leggings. The word, I was told, is what you get when you combined “jeans” and “leggings.” Maybe if I had daughters instead of sons, I would have known that. All the high school girls in my town are wearing some kind of leggings this season; some of the leggings are probably jeggings. The word came to my attention only yesterday, when an over 50 girlfriend arrived at my doorstep wearing a jean jacket, a short creamy cashmere v-neck sweater and jeggings. And it made me wonder: Are jeggings ever a flattering fashion choice for women over 50?

My friend told me her jeggings were “the most comfortable pants” she’d ever owned. And I know many over 50 women think comfort is all that matters. However, this blog is about flattering 50 and I don’t believe 50-something women can wear whatever they want and expect to always look good. Simply put: a short sweater or jacket with skin-tight jeggings looks cartoonish--at any age. And my fashion rule is: If a trend looks cartoonish on a teenager, don’t try it at age 50. ‘Cartoonish’ may be fun and edgy at 17, but it’s just sad at 50.

Can jeggings ever flatter the over 50 woman? The simple answer is "yes." But there are a couple of cavets to successful jeggings styling on older women. Specifically...

  • Beware of Bottom Coverage. I don't care how skinny you are, please don't tuck a shirt into jeggings or pair the bottoms with a short blouse or sweater for the reason stated above. Instead, look for longer tops.
  •  Assess Your Legs Honestly.

Just how long a top over jeggings should be will depend on your comfort level and what your legs look like. If you have great legs, especially long legs, you may be able to wear a sweater or tunic that falls a little above mid-thigh. If, however, you have less than perfect legs, like me, I strongly advise a longer top or short dress over tight-fitting jeggings. If I wear a tight bottom with a top that hits me high on the thigh, it's like pointing a neon arrow at my stocky legs. For short women, the longer top should be lightweight and have some structure. Boxy tunics or chunky sweaters with jeggings only flatter women with nicely shaped, long legs. Finally, I know over 50 women who feel self-conscious about their skinny legs. They like to wear jeggings under dresses or longer sweaters to add a little weight to their legs.


There's a good jeggings selection at

Women's Plus Dark-Wash Jeggings at Old Navy

Several jegging choices at Target

Lauren Jean Co. at Macy's

Denim legging in petite sizes at Banana Republic