What to Wear with Skinny Jeans and Leggings

leggings over 40Skinny jeans, leggings and everything in between. What’s the difference, are they age appropriate, and what do you wear with them so you look chic not silly?

Skinny Jeans vs. Leggings – What’s the Difference?

Skinny jeans are tight pants that narrow at the ankles, often hugging them. The best skinny jeans have some stretch built-in.

Leggings are more like  tights or thick stockings. They are soft and very stretchy, as well as formfitting to your body and end at the ankle or mid calf. They are also much more lightweight than  skinny jeans.

Important to Remember

Since skinny jeans are considered pants and leggings are considered an accessory you can’t always wear them the same way.  Leggings should be worn with something that covers up your bum or you are revealing too much information, especially after 40!

What Top to Wear With Skinny Jeans?

Skinny jeans can be worn with short tops, short t-shirts, short sweaters as well as long sweaters, tops and any jacket. Leggings should be worn with long tunics, long sweaters, long shirts, long jackets  and short, but not mini dresses.

Sometimes you can come across  knit leggings that are so thick they are more  like a pair of  pants.  This is when you have to take a look in the mirror, be honest and ask yourself  if you need to wear a long top because you look too lumpy and bumpy, or is your figure is fab enough to call for wearing a shorter top. Usually it’s only the very slim gals with very flat tummies who can get away with this.

Let’s take a look at what most women wear with skinny jeans and leggings:

Leather Jacket  + Skinny Jeans    
If you have ever wondered what to wear with brown skinny jeans this is a great option. This gal has paired her  brown skinny jeans with a brown sweater and a cool leather jacket.The solid light brown from head to toe under the jacket creates a long slimming line and she has finished off the look with cute leopard flats.This looks classy, but casual. Love the pop of purple in the scarf. It gives this outfit a lot of personality.  If you wanted to wear the leather jacket with leggings then just wear a longer top that covers your bum and goes to at least the top of your thigh. 
leather jacket and skinny jeans
Blazer and Leggings
Red- It’s been one of the trendy colors lately, but it’s pretty loud for some. So what do you wear with red skinny jeans or leggings to tone it down a touch? Two things will help.First, a conservative jacket will make any skinny jean look more polished and authoritative.Second, if you pair your red jeans with neutral colors such as black and gray it will also help ground the look.  This way the jeans are more a pop of color and not  the whole outfit. Top off your look with some cute booties or flat shoes and you have an energetic daytime look.

skinny red jeans and jacket

outfit from www.peterkate.com

What Top to Wear With Skinny Jeans?One of the hardest parts about wearing skinny jeans or leggings is trying to figure out what kind of top to wear with them.If you want to create that nice wider at the top and skinny at the bottom silhouette that is so slimming you need to find a top that is loose but not baggy.That’s the trick and this top does the job.It’s a great top because it follows the lines of your body but is not tight or baggy. It’s a good length and the V-neckline is very flattering.A V- neckline or scoop neck top should always be your first choice because it shows some skin which is youthful, and it elongates the neck which is slimming. I also think the sleeves are a perfect length because most gals want a bit of coverage.The leopard pattern is fun and a little sexy. It’s a good way to wear black as all black around the face can be harsh at 40, 50 and beyond.

leopard top over skinny jeans

Looking fabulous in leopard. Top from www.peterkate.com

A Vest + Skinny Jeans
If you are still stumped about what to wear with colored skinny jeans then you might want to try this idea. Look at how cute this outfit look looks for shopping or meeting friends.This gal has paired skinny jeans with a pretty blue blouse, a sporty vest, fab bag and menswear slippers.She looks comfy and casual, and ready for action!  The vest is a nice way to add a little structure. After 40 we can look a little round and soft and wearing the vest instead of the blouse alone gives us a crisper, more pulled together look.Another type of vest you might try that has also been very popular is a faux fur vest or you might even want to experiment with a zip leather vest for an edgier look.What’s your solution for what to wear with skinny jeans or leggings? Send a photo to [email protected] I would love to post it.

skinny jeans with a vest

Vests are modern and give you shape. Vest from www.peterkate.com

 



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Comments, Feedback, & Opinions:

  1. Debbie Dale says:

    I’m unlucky to have the apple shape body. Recently I’ve started wearing leggings and thick tights with loose tunic length tops, but can’t find sweaters that don’t hug my big belly. I’m 52 and look, maybe 45. Please help! I also love blazers and short (calf) boots.

  2. Love the blog and agree that a loose flowing tunic tops looks amazing with leggings. This is especially true for plus sizes and the skinny women over 40 love that look too. I am a cancer survivor over 40 and love long sleeved cotton tunics with leggings are stylish and comfy for me. I buy them from Yours Elegantly online as the owner is a survivor too and donates towards cancer research.

  3. Sandy Lopez says:

    I always want to wear leggings every time I go on shopping because I they are so comfy.

  4. Jean Martin says:

    I see that someone already asked about where to buy black leggings and I saw your reply, but I am having a really hard time finding them! When I ask for them in stores, the salesperson shows me what she thinks I am looking for, but they always seem to be “not quite what I see everyone else wearing”. They either have pockets or zippers that make me feel that they aren’t really a “legging”. Are they supposed to have feet (like a tight)? Or no feet? Can you please tell me what stores/brands, etc. that I could look for? Any price-point is okay. Thank you so much for your help. I LOVE the look of black leggings with longer tops/sweaters and I would love to wear the look, too. P.S. I am a young at heart 45 year old who is told looks ten years younger. :) Thanks again!

    • Judi Mozzer says:

      I love the leggings at Soft Surroundings. Just purchased my first pair to wear with tunics.

    • Nikki Campbell says:

      You can get them at Garage they are great there! Also no they are not suppose to have feet on them.

    • margey sebastian says:

      jjill.com has nice light weight cotton blend leggings, ankle or capri length for less than $40. only thing is they run really big. i weigh 165 and mediums fit me.

  5. Jen Anne Ritter says:

    The whole “don’t wear this if you are over 40!” and etc mentality is annoying. I also think it has more to do with your figure. If you have thick thighs or short legs,it doesn’t matter that you are 22. Not every body and/or body type works with a mini.
    But,bottom line: wear it if YOU feel comfortable,and if you like how you look.

  6. Lisa Foster says:

    Love your website. I am 52, 5′ 10 and thin. I wear leggings with long sweaters and tall boots. But, Ive seen the look with tights or leggings with a long sweater with the shorter boot not a shoe boot, but a around ankle to mid calf boot. Would that be ok, over 40 or 50? Thank you.

    • Hi Lisa,
      We have seen women do both looks and make it work. You are tall so will look great in either, lucky you!!! However we have to admit our favorite way to wear this look is with tall boots!

  7. You can wear knee high boots or mid calf boots with skinny jeans. Since these jeans are tight on the body, they will fit well with knee high boots and you will look stylish. Also other shoes like ballets flats, loafers, oxford flats, vans , pumps can all match with skinny jeans. The choice is quite wide.

  8. My problem is being long waisted and full in the hips and thighs, creating the dreaded pear shape. How do i pull off this look without emphasizing the hip area?

    And why do department stores carry soooooooooo much that is too low cute and too trendy for 50′s?

  9. Love all your fashion input, however, I am having trouble finding skinny pants and leggings. Any store suggestions??

    • There are lots of leggings and skinny pants… but the main concern for us over 40 gals is QUALITY~
      Leggings are thin and need to be made of the thickest of material.
      Skinny pants need to fit properly and not be too too tight. All the stores have them…and on line does too. Your budget will have to drive what brand you buy.

  10. What about a blue jean skirt that comes to me knee with leggings and short cowboy boots?

    • HI Lalita,
      Well, blue jean skirts are really not that in style right now. Instead, get a blue jean jacket and pair it with a skirt or fun colorful pants. I suggest that you retire your long blue jean skirt it will just make you look dated and frumpy.

  11. I love wearing black leggings with all of the looks you show. I have always worn TUNIC style tops, just because I find them very flattering with flats or heels. My only question is about wearing blue jean denim skirts. I live in Texas and find it necessary to stay cool. I do wear appropriate sundresses, but when it comes to wearing shorts, no way. I am thin, but do not care for any shorts on me. So, in turn, I use a denim skirt to wear with flat boots and usually a black simple shirt or top. I’m 50, and feel more comfortable in my blue jean denim skirt than khaki shorts.

  12. Ok, here’s a question. I AM 40 but still get carded at the bar. I was at the mall the other day and realized I was dressed pretty much the same as every 20-something girl in the place. I was getting some nice smiles too (blushing). My friends always say I look “teenager-y” but they also say they wish they could still fit what I wear.
    Why should I stop dressing young if it works? You are only as old as you feel and dressing like your old will only speed up the process. Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty friends over 40 who LOOK over 40. I agree with you points in that case completely.
    Just my thoughts :)

    • Hi Reese, I’m trying to help women put the fun back in their wardrobe, howvever I do encourage dressing “age-appropriate”. What does that mean? Well… you say that your friends say that “you look ‘teenager’y”… I say, send in a photo and I will put it up and let you know how you look and and get my readers to pipe in as well! Hope to “see” you soon!

    • Jen Anne Ritter says:

      You don’t! If you like how you dress,and how young you look,rock it! I’m going to be 30 in a few months,and I get mistaken for being in my late teens/early twenties,quite often. Don’t worry about what a blog,or webpage,or any random passerby in real life says or thinks. Throw rules out the window. We live in a society that tries to curtail and contain any sort of individuality or spunk.

  13. Thank you for a great post. I love leggings and skinny jeans and think they are a good way to update a wardrobe for those over 40. Modern yet still modest!

  14. Liz Diviney says:

    Dear Fabulous,

    Just had a look ,and i am impressed ,wonderful advice and style tips.

    I will be checking in regularly from now on for some classy details.

    Love the website.

    Liz

  15. I love this post! It really gives me some ideas for wearing tights! I think they are very slimming! ♥

  16. JoJami & Jojami’s mum both look terrific in their leggings. Very nice indeed.

  17. Thanks so much for this post! I have been cautious about wearing leggings, and typically wear them with longer shirts and tops, just as you suggest, and I do enjoy the look. I often get compliments from women my age who tell me they never thought of wearing leggings again … so I always wonder if I’m overstepping my limits.

    As I’ve written to you earlier, I often find that most fashion books and/or magazines are oblivious to women over 40. And if they pay attention to us at all, it’s usually to give us a long list of things we should NOT wear, leaving us few choices and making us feel like giving up … But you rock!

    • Hi Cindy,
      Thanks for writing in! My aim is to encourage women to have fun with fashion. “Life is too short to be frumpy!”… in other words, let’s not give up on looking chic and hip just because of a number! Glad to hear that you are already doing that and I encourage you to keep on!!
      I went to your site, http://www.laferle.com and enjoyed reading your article about shopping for vintage clothes. So, from one fashionista to another, I applaud you!!

  18. Ruth Houser says:

    On the subject of where to go for clothes–what about those of us who like to wear preppie. It is such a clean fresh look but I am having problems trying to find pants/slacks that fit nicely without being too baggy or tight? Any suggestions?
    And what would you sugest to give a modern twist to khakis, tees and blazer?

    • Hi Ruth,
      White House Black Market have a great really good fitting pants. Also, depending on your body type, the higher end brands like theory and Ellie Tahari.

      We will have to do a post about your last question, but a quick answer is to do a soft fabric blazer and make sure the khakis are great fitting. The DKNY site has some really nice examples and good fitting pants as well!

  19. Thanks for the great tips. I’m always afraid to wear leggings, and I always end up taking them off. One time I did wear black opaque tights (the panty hose that cover the entire foot) with a short dress and black high heeled pumps. It seemed like an OK outfit at the time. The material was thinner then leggings, though. I think it is best to wear leggings if you have thin legs.

  20. Come on. I don’t know what your gripe is about Chico’s. They have great stuff for all figure types. I often wear their clothes as they have lots of separates I can wear with other items and I AM NOT heavy!!!

    • Hi Meg,
      Ok. you got me thinking! I have not been into a Chicos for years (and I am 50)… I will give it a try! When I have tried to shop there in the past, I found everything I put on made me feel matronly.
      Thanks for calling me out on it… how can I know what a place is really like if I have not been there for a while!!!

  21. Hello dear Deborah

    I’ve looked with great interest at your suggestion: short dresses with sleeves worn over leggings or slim pants. If you’re tall enough, would you recommend wearing that kind of dress over wide-legged, flowing pants (a bit like the Travelers Pants from Chicos or TravelSmith -can’t remember which)

    • Hi Anne,
      Yes, if you are tall, that is a look that you could pull off. One concern is that the top of the pant be more fitted. If you try to wear a full pant like from Chico’s over a dress, they tend to give you the “TENT” look. If you want a fuller leg, keep the fullness in the form of a “flair” pant, not a full pant.

      Chico’s tends to be for women with fuller figures. So depending on your body type you have to be careful where you shop. Cheers, Glam Gal Deb

  22. I agree about denim mini and leggings. No one over 21 should be caught in tht. It’s a definite teenage girl thing and grown women NEVER, EVER want to copy teenage girl looks. A great alternative might be a black casual mini dress over leggings like this http://www.overstock.com/Clothing-Shoes/Angie-Womens-V-neck-Dolman-Sleeve-Printed-Dress/4822532/product.html?rcmndsrc=6
    I think this is funky, in a sophisticated way and very appropriate for an adult woman. I purchased it today!

  23. Noel Gorden says:

    Wow! The gals look FABULOUS!

  24. Yes, I so agree. Denim mini-skirts (with or without leggings) after about 35 are a definite no no. It doesn’t matter whether the bod is fab, it’s just too try-hard.

  25. Hi Angie,
    Your girlfriend must not be aware of how she is coming across.
    You can always share this blog post with her and then she might have an “a ha”moment! Moreover,she might see what she looks like when she sees the “bad” photos and have her eyes opened. Not only that, we even have examples of alternative ways to dress!
    Good luck! At her age it is def. time to start dressing classy and chic instead of too young!

  26. How do I get my GF who’s 39 to ditch the teenager clothes without coming off as preachy? All her clothes are too tight, too small and too young. She was in a micro mini memorial day and got very defensive when I raised my eybrow at the skirt.

  27. I get the part about not showing your behind, but what about wearing this look (especially skinny jeans) if you are a little overweight? Can it still work?

    • Hi Lesa,
      Great question…. if you are a little overweight it can be a lifesaver! You can wear a loose dress and add the leggings and heels and feel fantastic! Just make sure the dress has enough black, brown or grey to make the dark color of the legging work.