Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Can You Wear Leather Trousers Over the Age of 40? (Clue: The Answer's Yes)

CAN you wear leather trousers [pants] over 40, 50, 60?
Last week I wrote an online piece for Good Housekeeping entitled “How to wear leather trousers over the age of 35”. I featured six bloggers, all killing it in their leathers, and linked to it on my Facebook page. The reaction was incredible - almost more than the reaction to my wearing a crop top in my 40s - and it got me thinking once again about society's obsession with age appropriate dressing.

I’m pleased to say that the consensus on Facebook (almost without exception) was an overwhelming Huh? Leather trousers can be worn at any age! Some of the brilliant comments included:
"What has age got to do with whether you wear leather trousers? I'm nearly sixty and I wear them. It's not about age it's about confidence and attitude."
- Sher Meekings 
"I love leather pants. If you can wear them, why not? Age is almost a four letter word."
- Angela Dongowski

"The term age appropriate should be banned!! Wear what makes you feel beautiful and is appropriate for the occasion. As long as you have some fashion sense about then what is the big deal! I am 47 and I wear faux leather skinny pants!"
- Wendy Lovas Wellen

"Really? This is a thing now? I'm well over 30 and have been rocking my leather skinnies everywhere."
- Karin Love
Over 40 bloggers in leather pants
The gorgeous ladies I featured: Top row, L-R: Carly, Nicole, Annette. Bottom row, L-R: Lissy, Claudia, Nikki.

I definitely feel this is another nail in the death-to-age-appropriate-dressing coffin, and quite rightly so. I’m safe in saying that women everywhere (or at least the readers of my Facebook page) think that leather trousers are the bee’s knees - no matter whether you’re over 30, 40, 50, 60 - if you get the cut, fit and style right. But isn’t that the same with any item of clothing?

Confidence

For me, it’s not just about what you style them with, but also the confidence you give off when wearing them. No one looks good in an outfit that makes them uncomfortable or they're trying to hide away in. If you love something - whether it’s leather trousers, a crop top or a short skirt - own it. Only you can decide whether you've got the confidence to wear it and if it makes you feel good. Don’t let anyone else decide for you whether it’s appropriate or not - let that be your call.

And for tips on how to style them? Got to the Good Housekeeping article for all the style tips these lovely ladies have used to their advantage!

What’s your opinion on leather trousers for the over 40 woman? Is it a straightforward yes or no, or do you feel it’s up to the individual? I’d love to know!

………………………………………………………………………

My picks from the high street

The other thing that came up in the discussion were a few requests for suggestions of leather trousers to buy on the high street. (I must disclose that I haven’t actually bought any leather trousers myself, though after writing this article I’m almost certainly going to.) But I did my best to come up with different pairs to cover all budgets, tastes and sizes - and modesty preferences.

I've avoided the shiny disco look (no one will ever do that better than Olivia Newton-John) and instead gone with what I think would be the most flattering styles. With the exception of a Nordstrom pair reduced from $88 there aren't any under £50, and I steered completely away from cheap and nasty styles.

Of the six pairs I've featured below, two are full leather (or faux leather), three are leather at the front only (with ponte-knit fabric at the back) and one pair isn't actually leather at all, but a great coated cotton alternative if it's simply the leather look you're after. Two of the retailers I've featured (Asos and Nordstrom) sell many different styles - some are on sale but only available in one or two sizes, so don't hesitate to filter by your size. You may just get yourself a total bargain in the process...!

Leather pants picks 2015
1. French Connection Black Coated Second Skin Leggings £80
Not strictly leather, but the coated cotton is a good compromise if you're not confident enough to go full-on hell for leather (I had to get at least one pun in)! I like the matt effect it creates - more flattering than super shiny faux leather.

2. Nordstrom Lysee Rue Faux Leather & Ponte Knit Leggings $58.96
I like the worn look to this pair, and as they are made of ponte knit at the back you won't have a 'leather bum'. Great reviews on Nordstrom's website, and they're even reduced from $88.

3. Debenhams Designer Black Leather & Ponte Leggings £120
Another pair with ponte knit at the back but with more of a classic, plain leather trouser to the front. The most expensive pair here, but I believe you get what you pay for with leather trousers. UK sizes 8-18.

4. Debenhams Black Leather Look Trousers £50
This pair has an all over leather look and a very reasonable price tag. Sizes XS-XL.

5. Asos Black Skinny Leather Trousers £100
Leather front and back and more expensive, but as mentioned before the quality should be better at this price. A classic leather trousers style, as opposed to leggings. UK sizes 4-18. They also come in Sand - a really lovely taupe colour - which I love.

6. Marks & Spencer Black Leather Ponte Leggings £99
Ponte-knit at the back so another ideal pair for those of you that are averse to a leather bum. These are ankle grazer-length with little zips at the sides. Another higher-price but these also got very good reviews on their website. The over 40 woman is Marks & Spencer's core target audience so they should get these spot-on. UK sizes 8-18.

One type I couldn't find was a pair of leather trousers in a biker/moto style like Carly's (above) - the ones with ribbed panels on the front - if anyone knows where to get some please share in the comments!


Catherine
P.S. Like this post? You might also enjoy my thoughts on Style in Your Forties (and Beyond)!

Linking up to: Let It Shine, Brilliant Blog PostsFriday's Fab Favourites, Sunday Funday

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57 comments

  1. And me thinking I am too old for leather pants at 28. Off to try one out.

    http://fashionandstylepolice.com

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    1. Oh my goodness not at ALL, Stella!! That's just crazy talk, hehe ;) Let me know how you get on x

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  2. I love my cotton "leather look" leggings! I agree, it's all in the styling. I have been on the hunt for Brown Leather trousers for years...ever since I passed on a very nice pair in a thrift shop. Oh how could I have???

    JJ
    www.dressupnotdown.blogspot.com

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    1. That's just too sad a story, JJ... I wonder where they are now?!! I'm glad you wear them and love them, good for you ;))

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  3. Loving the leather pants! So edgy, cool, and fun! I only have faux leather trimmed leggings, but hey, they count, right?! Anyway, yes I say death to the age appropriate idea … how about we all dress in what's personally appropriate for us?!
    OXOx
    Dawn Lucy
    http://fashionshouldbefun.blogspot.com

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    1. Yes, I think they count Dawn! I like "what's personally appropriate for us". That's a great expression. Thank you for commenting x

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  4. Love these and I'm on the look out for a pair .. !!

    Monica, www.pear-shaped-gal.com

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    1. I am 44 and wear them all the time they are so comfortable, Topshop and Karen Millen do great ones
      www.catwalkschoolgates.com

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    2. It'll be a growing club that you join, Monica! Hope you find a great pair :))

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    3. ... and to Anne Marie: I had a feeling you'd be a fan already! Thanks for the shopping tip, must check them out :)

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  5. This is just fabulous news Catherine! I was a little worried about resembling an inner tube but the ideas of styling are great. I seem to spend my life in skinnies and a loose top so now I can style up a bit!! Thank you xx

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    1. Hehe Melanie I love the likeness to an inner tube - not thought of that one before?!!! I'm thinking exactly the same as you, and that with leather trousers I can switch up the skinnies a bit! Glad you liked the post x

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  6. I have switched from the term "age appropriate" to "age amazing" and you know that I am a lot more adventurous now than I was only two years ago! Thank you so much for all your much appreciated support these days, Catherine!! I am truly honoured and grateful you have included me.
    Like DressUpNotDown just said, I am also looking for a pair of cognac brown ones ... will be my fourth pair, I think I am addicted in the meantime ;-)

    xo
    Annette | Lady of Style

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    1. OMG Annette "age amazing" IS amazing - that's a perfect term, I LOVE it!!!!!!!!!! You may well be hearing me quote that. And it was my pleasure to feature you - yours was the first outfit I thought of! You're my leather trousers guru. You totally, and utterly, ROCK them, my lovely. C x

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  7. I love my leather leggings and I wish my old leather pants still fit. Great recap and love the ladies you have showcased.

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    1. Haha I wonder if I'd still fit in (the only pair I've ever had) my leather trousers from the 90s, Linda...?! Thank you for your sweet comments, very much appreciated x

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  8. I tried leather pants but they are just not me even though they are so chic! Like you said, it's all about the confidence. If it's not your personality, it doesn't matter what age you are, they will never feel right.

    Alice
    www.happinessatmidlife.com

    Hope to see you Thursday for TBT Fashion link up.

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    1. Yep - definitely a confidence thing, Alice! You've just got to feel right in them or they just won't work. I've yet to find out if I'll feel it when I come to try some on for the first time in 20 years... we shall see!!!!!! C x

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  9. Great article! It is about confidence about also about body type. Slim figure eg. like yours can afford to wear leather pants easily.

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    1. Hmm I'm not so sure about the slim figure being the only thing, Martina - I think it's more of a shape thing as well as the confidence thing. I'm sure there are some size 18s who could carry them off and some size 8s who couldn't. I personally think it's shape more than size! But until you try them on you'll never know, I guess. I'm really not sure they'll look good on my legs...!

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  10. Times have certainly changed since I wore a pair of black leather trousers in my 40s. and when I went to collect my son from school (he was aged about 13) he thought I was so inappropriately dressed he would not let me get out of the car.

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    1. Oh no Josephine what a story - poor you!!! Though I'm sure your son thought he came off worse...! But it's good that we're breaking away from the old age appropriate nonsense - not sure if it will make any difference to 13 yo kids of mums wearing them though ;))

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  11. I could care less what other people wear. As long as it's not the same outfit as mine, haha! :D I don't think age should be a restriction on anything, clothes included. If you like what you see, if you feel okay, then fucking wear it. I have a friend that doesn't do a lot of stuff because she's passed the age to do them....and most of these stuff are just having fun. She's stuck into this mindset that if you're over 30 you have to behave in a certain pattern and do certain things, which is just bullshit.

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    1. Now that is a shame, Keit (about your friend)... let's hope she comes round to your way of thinking and starts to live!!!! ;))

      I'd love to be able to look into the future and see what you're wearing at the age of 80 - it's bound to be totally awesome! C x

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  12. I've been planning on wearing some (p)leather on Friday, but with this post in my head I might need to double up for both Thursday and Friday--Lord knows I have it! And yes, Confidence IS the essential element to any outfit we all might be trying to wear. Basically, we wear confidence. Hey, that's a great blog post! Don't steal it!! :D (Unless you've already used it...oops!)

    Ahh, Catherine, you have opened up my WORLD! I'm just flabbergasted! I will write you personally soon. Just feeling BEYOND and exposed to so much. Thank you! Here's to linking up and learning of all of our greatness out there!

    You rock girl!

    Love,

    Ann of Kremb de la Kremb

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    1. Wearing them today! I'll tag you if I post an #ootd. I'll probably pull out another pair tomorrow. You'll definitely be linked to in tomorrow's Style Story: Work Outfits Mon-Fri on Kremb de la Kremb :D

      A x

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    2. Ann what can I say... you're just too wonderful, I'm so touched by your lovely words!!!!! Firstly, you totally rock leather trousers, and quite rightly too! Secondly, you're totally right about confidence - and yes you take that title and go with it (it would make a great post)! Thirdly, I'm so happy you feel the tips I gave have helped you reach a larger audience... link ups are a great way to do it and I'm so glad you've dived in head first.

      Lastly - I'll pop over and check out your post! I'm so honoured for the mention. You're a wonderful bloggy friend and I hope you get the success you deserve!

      Catherine x

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  13. Hi Catherine, when I was 15 I borrowed a pair of real leather trousers from one of the neighbors for a schoolparty (dresscode: western). I was hooked! And they were soooooooooo unfashionable then! Unless you were a fan of the new romantics and pirate shirts. They weren't quite my thing..There was a strict divide between the styles, mixing was not an option.) I kept this love a secret. Looked at leather trousers sometimes but found them far too expensive. Then I bought a pleather dress in a sale a few years ago. ( I always end up buying things the unwanted left behind things in the sale and they become fashionable after a few years..) It was my go-to dress for a long, long time. So back to the trousers: there were leather trousers on the market suddenly, for reasonable prices. I bought a brown one at Mango, a wide leg trouser model (a supposed to a jeans style) I've done a blog-post on it and I have worn this item so many times now! Quality is not so good sadly so I will hopefully buy a better pair next year, not decided on colour or cut yet. What you like wearing has absolutely nothing to do with age. At least I find that becoming older is (besides the usual age-related complaints) a liberation. If you happen to stumble upon nice brown real leather trousers....let us know!

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    1. Wow Irmin you've really embraced the leather trousers over the years, haven't you?! I remember the days of the New Romantics: whilst a huge (I mean HUGE) fan of Duran Duran, I didn't emulate their clothes, I was more into wanting to dressing like Madonna at the time...! But I'm glad it's no longer a secret you have to keep - I think it's so true that attitudes are changing thanks to our I-don't-care-I'll-wear-what-I-want attitude.

      And it's fantastic!!! Thanks for your great comment x

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  14. Great article. I'm 53 and have been pondering buying some leather pants for a while. May well take the plunge!
    https://flowerpowerlife.wordpress.com/

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    1. Christine that's brilliant to hear!! I hope you get some great ones and love them...! :))

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  15. I am a 40+-blogger too and I'm wearing everything that I want :) incl. leather-leggings and comicskirts and all stuff I'm in love with :)

    Lovley Greets from the EDELFABRIK
    Chrissie

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    1. That's so encouraging, Chrissie, and fabulous too!!! So glad to hear it! x

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    2. I think the most important thing is: Love what you wear - maybe it is a bit too crazy for someone and maybe it is a bit too colourful for anyone else - but: so what :) - it's me :)

      Send you sunny greets from the EDELFABRIK
      Chrissie

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  16. Dear Catherine,
    many thanks for your support. It´s an honour for me to be a part of it. :)
    xo Cla

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    1. Cla it was my pleasure... I found yours via a Google search so it must have been very popular already! Keep rockin' those leather pants, girl (not that you need any encouragement)! C x

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  17. I am 44 and live in leather leggings but over 40 I think you have to go with real leather, I have bought them all over the years and by far the best are those by Joseph as they hold their shape and suck you in.
    www.catwalkschoolgates.com

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    1. I think if you can afford them then it's a definite yes to real leather, though from what I've seen online (and reading customer reviews) I think there are definitely some great pleather ones. I do like the idea of being sucked in though, Ann Marie...!!!!!!! x

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  18. My wife is 10 years older than me so we often have conversations where she thinks she's too old for something! I totally disagree with her! Ill be sure to share this post with her.

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    1. That's wonderful to hear, Al - how lovely and encouraging for your wife that you don't think she's too old for anything! It'll definitely keep her young, having a husband that admires her as you obviously do. Thank you for your lovely comments, I hope she enjoys the post x

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  19. I love leather trousers. I think you can definitely wear anything at any age as long as it suits you. I think it's great when older women (or anyone!) wear whatever they want, as it should be. I haven't seen your blog before so I'm off to check out some more! :) x #brillblogposts

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    1. Aww Louise that's so nice of you to say, I hope you like the blog and get lots of inspo! I'm in total agreement with you over women wearing whatever they want. Who wants more rules as they get older, eh...?!! x

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  20. As I am reading this, I am wearing my leather jogging trousers. So I am glad the answer is yes whoohaha. LOL
    Having lots of success with them.
    Greetje

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    1. Yet another blogger I forgot wears them - of course you're yet another leather trousers lover, aren't you, Greetje...! And my, how you rock them. Keep up the good work, young lady ;))

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  21. I wish I could wear them.....but they make me sweaty and looking like a bit of a fool!!!

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    1. Well at least your reason isn't simply "I'm too old for them", Laura... getting sweaty in them is a pretty good reason not to wear them I guess. But I'm sure you wouldn't look a fool at all, unless you meant as a result of being sweaty, heehee! C x

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  22. I did ponder for a while, but i had to have a pair. If you wear them the right way, i think they are great
    Laurie 52 x

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    1. It's amazing how many of us are saying "yes" to the leather trousers, Laurie - at any age!! I completely agree with you, have fun both shopping for them and wearing them :))

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  23. Damn right women of all ages can rock the right cut leather (or pleather) trousers, every women you've featured looks chic and fabulous-I'm pleasantly surprised my favourites shown are from Debenhams and M&S too! Fab post. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts x

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    1. Aren't they amazing, Vicki? There were so many more I could have picked as well. Soooo glad you're on board with the leather trousers too, though I kinda knew you would be...! x

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  24. Honestly at this point in my life/weight they terrify me, but these all look very wearable :-) I especially like the matte finish of the French Connection pair. I will say that I got the most attention of my life one Halloween when I wore leather leggings a la Sandy in Grease - insane reaction men have to these things! (I'd never go that shiny or look at me again but a nice subtle pair with a sweater and boots maybe ;-0)

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    1. Haha OMG I can imagine you would get a lot of attention in shiny ones à la Sandy, Steff!!! I think her outfit and Princess Leia's gold bikini are the two outfits from the movies that a lot of men, er... rather like, shall we say. Predictable lot ;)))

      Luckily the leather ones around at the moment are a lot more wearable than those disco ones. I really like the coated FCUK ones too... trying to resist them is hard (and they terrify me too, don't worry)! x

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  25. I know everyone here seems to love them, but I don't just don't care for them on middle-aged ladies. It looks something a 20 year old would wear and I don't like the look that Mom and daughter raided one another's closets. It's my personal taste. I just don't like it.

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    1. Everyone's entitled to their opinion, Elaine, of course! But I think the point is that older women shouldn't feel that they're not "supposed" or not "allowed" to wear them merely because of their age. I personally don't like them on younger girls - I just don't think they look particularly classy on a 20-something, but they do on a 50-something (like on Annette, above). I think of them as a grown-up item of clothing that look better on a more mature woman.

      ...Because then it's just my opinion! I wouldn't dream of telling a 20 year old she shouldn't wear leather trousers just as no one should tell an older woman. Reason? It's none of my business, and it doesn't make a jot of difference to me - she can wear whatever she likes! (Not that I'm suggesting you would tell them, I didn't mean it like that :)

      Just because people *think* that older women shouldn't wear something doesn't mean they actually shouldn't. As long as you're wearing them in an appropriate situation or occasion, there is no reason why ANYBODY shouldn't wear leather trousers - or any other item of clothing! As long as the wearer is happy then that's all that matters, surely...?

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    2. Well said Catherine (in post above).
      I love these Trousers and i'm thinking of getting the French Connecton pair - although i might wait for them to be in the Sale though. Lol

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  26. I LOVE leather trousers!! I had a pair leather jeans in my mid 20s and I adored them - I kind of felt grown-up in them, I guess. I'd love to have another pair. I've been keeping an eye out for them but it's not the kind of thing you can buy online - you really need to try them on. The Algarve isn't the easiest place to buy clothes sometimes!! I need a shopping trip to the UK or US lol!
    Great post, Catherine!
    Suzy xx
    www.suzyturner.com

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  27. Yes, in the spirit of inclusion is there space for comment on a 40 year old Male who loves to wear Leather Pants, Leather Jeans and Leather Trousers!! Loved the Leather look for long time only last couple of years that finally got to wear them, slightly more tricky for males do look nice on women regardless of age. B rocking mine for long time to come, just wondered what Women make to guy wearing Leather Pants.

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