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