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Plus Size Legging Outfits: How to Wear Leggings If You’re Plus Size & Over 40

Leggings are tight, skinny, and revealing, so if you’re plus size and 40+,  there’s no way you can wear them,  right?….

plus size woman wearing navy leggings and top


Wrong!  Anyone can wear leggings whether you are tall or short, skinny or wide, and no matter your age. Leggings are modern, casual, and, as we all know, super comfy!  It’s easy to create curvy, plus-size leggings outfits that flatter your figure following these simple style guidelines.


Black leather plus size leggings.


Plus size leggings

1. Wear High-Quality Leggings

You must start with high-quality leggings if you’d love to style cute plus-size legging outfits. There are several types, including activewear (yoga) leggings, thicker Ponte leggings, faux leather leggings, jeggings (denim leggings), and velvet leggings; the list goes on.

Whichever leggings you choose, they should be soft, stretchy, opaque, and compression leggings. They need to hold you in and smooth out any lumps and bumps without losing their shape. A high, wide waistband also helps to give you a sleek, sexy look. I think Spanx makes the best leggings out there!

curvy plus size leggings outfit - gray tunic sweater, black leggings, boots

2. Avoid Short Tops with Leggings

You’ve probably heard this a million times, and here are my thoughts. In general, the best tops to wear with leggings are long enough to cover your bottom, your crotch, and sometimes even your thighs! This doesn’t sound nice, but it’s the truth! Leggings tend to show everything, so keep your private parts private! 

The ideal top length with plus-size leggings hits anywhere from just below the groin (and your bottom at the back) to a few inches above the knee. The exact spot will differ based on your proportions and the top style. The sweater above is a good length to cover your thighs.

If you are short, keep your top on the shorter side because if the top is too long, it will have you drowning in fabric and make your legs look even heavier.

The best tops for leggings are a long sweater, tunic shirt, or vest. High low tops- shorter in the front and longer in the back are very popular. There are so many choices! I wrote about long tops for leggings here.


Mustard yellow long top with leggings.

You may be wondering, Can you wear leggings as pants if you are plus-size?

Yes, Leggings can be worn as pants if they are thick like pants. For example, faux leather, suede, and some Ponte leggings are fine with a shorter top since they don’t show anything. 

They’re also thicker and heavier than regular LuLu Lemon-type leggings and made to look more like stretchy, soft jeans than leggings. With these you can wear a shorter top,  or wear a long top. You can half tuck the top and leave the fabric draping over the waistline of the Ponte pants. 


tops for black leggings

3. Wear Slimming, Colors

Black, charcoal gray, dark brown, or navy leggings are lovely in winter. The shades make an excellent backdrop for a pretty top, and the darker colors slim your bottom half.  

You can still wear black leggings in summer, but they can look and feel hot. In this case, try white jeggings, which are more popular than white leggings because they are more opaque but not heavy.

To look tall and slim in leggings, try a monochromatic look such as all black or all navy, but vary the textures to keep your head-to-toe solid color outfit from looking bland. For example, wear a black velvet top with black Ponte leggings. See above (left).

Want to dress more colorfully? Many of the best plus-size outfits with leggings are simply bright tops with dark leggings. This will draw attention to your pretty face.

Long neutral cardigan with goldish brown leggings.

4. Steer Clear of Clunky Footwear

To create an elegant leggings look, you need the proper footwear.

You can wear many shoes with curvy, plus-size legging outfits to round your look.  Ballet flats, slides, mules, flat or low-heel sandals, sneakers, and booties all work.

The main thing to remember is to avoid heavy, clunky shoes that make you look frumpy. Also, please stay away from sky-high skinny stilettos unless you want to look like a 19-year-old on her way to a nightclub.

In summer, you’ll often see plus-size women in leggings wearing strappy sandals and cute ballet flats. This is a flattering look because revealing skin on the top of your foot makes your legs appear longer. Winter booties or tall flat boots in the same color as your leggings will make you appear the most elevated.

Statement sneakers (slip-on or lace-up) can also look surprisingly cute if trying to create a sporty, relaxed look. Just stay away from heavy, clunky track shoes.

 plus size woman wearing blue sweater and black leggings

5. Own the Look

One final note: I can’t talk about how to wear leggings if you are plus size without mentioning attitude. You have to want to wear leggings to look good in them. If they are not on your radar, don’t even go there. Leggings are not for everyone.

Are you ready to rock leggings, curvy gal? Check out these holiday looks with leggings for plus-size gals.

Need more Plus-size Legging Outfit Ideas?


Long chambray shirt and black leggings.

A chambray shirt and a pair of leggings are a classic, casual look. Layer a black tee underneath to peek out, creating a chic layered look.

So that’s how you wear leggings if you are plus size and middle age. Experiment and have some fun with it!

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16 thoughts on “Plus Size Legging Outfits: How to Wear Leggings If You’re Plus Size & Over 40

  1. Are you kidding, LOL! — I LIVE IN THEM! I’m 47 and a size 12-14 “pear.” They are the most affordable option vs. looking for tailored-fit pants (often COSTING MORE because the industry doesn’t care about curvy women wanting modern trendy style just as much as everybody else has it made available). I LOVE the outfits paired with the v-neck, trapeze hem tunic sweaters or the one with the oversized denim shirt. I’ll never go near the legging style is the “faux leather look.” There’s just something *too* edgy about them (like they’d give you a reputation you don’t want, haha!)—excellent blog and advice.

  2. Hi, Valerie lives in Canada, forty-nine! With the gained weight, I want to get a leggings workout in! Hold tummy in slim leg tops and wear lost shopping online! Since covid, 19 have no choice but to shop online!

  3. Yes, I’m over 40, not skinny, and have worn leggings as pants for years and years. I don’t care.
    As long as they’re not see-through, it’s a go.

  4. I have found LuLaRoe. I love their leggings. They are not see-through, don’t show lumps and bumps, and are one of a kind. My daughter loves hers too. I have to say I felt confident in myself. Deborah nails it when she talks about the quality, the stretch, and smooth smoothing lumps and bumps. We don’t want footless stalkings. I say try on, shop around and be PICKY!!

    1. I am a big fan of LuLaRoe. The material used in the leggings is pretty superior in quality. They are thick and smooth. I think that makes all the difference.

  5. I love the legging looks, and while I’m not plus size, I have fat cellulite – dimpled thighs. I have tried on many pairs of leggings and have found none so far that disguise or “hold in” the dimples. I recently heard about Lisette pants made in Canada but sold at a retailer nearby (apparently an Oprah favorite), but I haven’t tried them on yet. They’re also over $100, which is not my price range, but if they hide the dimples, I might splurge and buy a pair. Have you ever heard of them?

    1. TRY LULULEMON. They are from Canada, not cheap, BUT worth every single dollar! They disguise EVERYTHING and compliment. Their Tundra leggings are phenomenal!

    2. I have eight pairs of “Women in Control” leggings offered on QVC; they are fabulous!!!!! The 14% spandex hides EVERYTHING! The best thing …. they’re under $30!!

    3. Lisette pants are great.. They’ve more polished looking and wear well (no dryer, but machine wash ok). Worth the price.

  6. I like the look of outfit #5, but I am having a hard time finding the right outwear and looking for something a bit long in the back, loose, and no wool. I am not, but 5 “2, and a lot of the waterfall cardigan has too much material in the front for my extremely short torso. I would love some suggestions. Thanks, and enjoy your blog.

  7. Thank you so much.Very useful information indeed. I wear a medium length silk scarf (not too bulky) on a shirt often which adds a nice balance with the leggings.

    1. Hi Eva, I’m always surprised by what a hot topic leggings is on the blog. Women love them. I don’t think they are going away anytime soon, and changing their look with different tops is enjoyable. Enjoy your leggings. Cheers, Deborah

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