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Page 3 in the conversation "Can you start wearing leather pants in midlife?" by Aziraphale
I guess for me the equation of young=sexual and older=not sexual just seems (although a fairly commonly held opinion) ageist to me. Also a bit unfair to young people as well. Most young people don't have the money for sports cars and rock star leather pants. Most older people don't either, frankly. I'm assuming that anyone who wears rock star leather pants feels confident in them at that moment in time. So, more power to them I say.
I think the woman you were talking to at the soccer match perhaps saw possibilities in dressing you that didn't match your self-image, so no big, that happens all the time (for example when relatives buy me clothes ). But I think it's a personal style issue, not an age, personality or sexuality issue.
I am pushing 50 and I just bought a pair of leather pants from the Rack. I have to admit that I bought them because they were only $30 on one of those clear the rack sale days. They are the right size, in my favorite dark blue color, and made of genuine soft leather. I will have to wait for the really cold days to wear them. No mid life crisis here, just a cheapskate who scored a good deal. Clothes are only clothes, I do not give them that much more thoughts.
I would love to rock some leather pants, but it's not my age that holds me back, it's my legs. I already struggle a little to wear my coated jeans and feel (emotionally) comfortable, because anything shiny calls more attention to the expanse of my thighs. Plus it's hard to find *any* pants that fit me well, are flattering, and are long enough, much less leather pants. I don't know, maybe one day I'll just stop giving a damn that the world can tell I have big legs and wear them anyway, but in the meantime, I'll defer to "middle aged" women who don't have the leg issues I do.
I'm loser to 70 than 65 and love to wear leather pants. Mine are shiny but not tight ob the legs and oh so war on a cold day. I swear that I've never been a stripper, nor did I wear leather pants before age 65. I now have brown and black. One was 99 cents and one pair was about $20. No midlife crisis either although I planto start using that line. Should I repent of my leather wearing ways?
Ordinarily I would not wear black leather pants with Moore black leather, but I think this was for a challenge.
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When I was in high school, I had a French teacher who wore leather trousers. Granted, they were not tight and they were dress-pants style, but still and all they were leather pants. My mum found it scandalous, but I thought she looked great. She was easily in her 50's, but the pants were tasteful.
I remember the Sundance outfits, and Una rocks those leather pants.
As for me, I wore them in my 20's. Leather pants are kind of over for me at this point. I wore them a LOT, and it just isn't a look I want to revisit. As for others? Like almost everything, it isn't age dependent. It is the context of the outfit that matters. Tight leather pants and a skin baring halter top with heels send a desperate message, IMO, whether a person or 20 or 50. But then again, I seem to be the outlier in thinking that what's tasteful is tasteful, regardless of age. If it looks costumish or inappropriately sexy on a woman over 40, it probably looks that way on a 20 year old, too, but people give a pass to someone younger. But I've said it before, if it is too short, too tight, too low-cut, or too ridiculous, it is probably all of those things no matter who wears it. Those aren't good looks on anyone.
Oh, and while a woman I know from school isn't a stripper, she sure used to dress like one. She has platinum blonde hair (which looks great on her) and generally wears too much makeup (which she doesn't need because she's pretty), and when she was pregnant she would pick up her older child from school wearing Daisy Dukes and stilettos. And again, that outfit would not have been appropriate picking-your-child-up-from-school attire regardless of age or pregnancy status!
I would venture that the only reason not to try leather pants at midlife would be if one's heart were set on saving them for old age...
We'll I'm over 42 and I have mixed media leggings with a faux leather panel. I love them! I have tried on some skinny leather pants and would certainly buy a pair ...when I find a pair that is my perfect fit. Fit and styling is everything IMHO .
As Elizabeth P said, "It's only in midlife that I have had the confidence to even remotely think about wearing leather pants."
A while back, there was a thread here about what we secretly wish our style was, or something like that. I wrote that I'd enjoy dipping a toe into rock'n roll style. And I've been eying a pair of faux leather leggings from Long Tall Sally and wondering if I dare order them. The problem for me would be that it's pretty far outside what people are used to seeing me wear. And it's also far outside what others in my daily circles wear. I get enough comments about my "biker jacket" when I wear my mixed media black jacket with faux leather sleeves; I can imagine the response if I walked in sporting leather pants!
I think we need a leather/faux leather pant WIW week.
Love that idea, deb.I don't know, Aziraphale. Can you post a pic of exactly the type of pants you have in mind? It sounds like a very specific style.What counts as 'young'? I'm 33 and I bought faux (because not rich) leather leggings last year. They're ponte on the back, faux leather on the front. I wear them a lot, for all kinds of occasions--with a plaid shirt for school drop-off, with a silk Equipment top for a party, etc. I am not slim.
Hahahaha! Thimbleina - that's hilarious!
Joy managed to pull me into this conversation with her terrific photos! You rock Joy! I think anyone can wear anything they want if it makes them happy, and fits their personality. The problem is when there is a clash between personality and clothing choice, regardless of age.
I am mostly a luker on here sorry to say but i agree Deb a a leather/faux leather pant WIW week its a feb idea and i think women of all ages can wear leather leggings i actually think they are a very sexy but classy item thst can me styled so many ways i love mine.
There is another board I read where every so often the question"is 50 too old for dark red (or other trendy nail polish) color" My answer it is just nail polish.
Leather pants, leggings are not sold with an age limit...To do so would be insulting to anyone over 50...Sure I wear leather pants and I enjoy them...If I were not comfortable, then I wouldn't...but it has nothing to do with ageism...It is sad that as we age, women sometimes just give up and go with a certain look...I hope that doesn't happen to the sharp women here...I personally feel a grate like fingernails on a blackboard when I hear someone say that wearing something is not age appropriate...Mini skirts and teeny bopper type clothes are definitely out but everything is rated as you see fit...JMO...
What Staysfit said. It's not about age, per se. It's about personal style. Just because you have the body type for them (and you do) doesn't mean you would feel comfortable wearing them.
Then again, people can have a style shift at any age.
I wore denim all my life, but never wore distressed denim until after I was 50. So. What does that say, I wonder? I actually like to think the lines and gaps are emblematic of my experience....kind of like the lines when I smile...
A favorite poem:Warning by Jenny Joseph
When I am an old woman I shall wear purpleWith a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer glovesAnd satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tiredAnd gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bellsAnd run my stick along the public railingsAnd make up for the sobriety of my youth.I shall go out in my slippers in the rainAnd pick flowers in other people's gardensAnd learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fatAnd eat three pounds of sausages at a goOr only bread and pickle for a weekAnd hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dryAnd pay our rent and not swear in the streetAnd set a good example for the children.We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?So people who know me are not too shocked and surprisedWhen suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.
I liked Una's question about what would you say if the woman in question had been a surgeon and not an exotic dancer?...Would the samE evaluation have worked?...Interesting point...
These are on my bucket list, and if I can ever afford them, I will wear them even when I am 90.
Definitely in mid-life here, and spent far too long worried about not drawing attention or what others may say...the beauty of mid-life is the realization that there is peace in being exactly who you are (in your clothing, what you like to do, etc). My husband, in his 50s, has developed a new appreciation for hats and one of the conversations we had about his self-consciousness regarding this new style choice was that, yes, people are likely to notice at first when you move in a new style direction, particularly if it is outside environmental norms, but the way to get past that is to START wearing the items, eventually they just become part of your style. I've got both a baggy pair and a legging style leather pant, both acquired after I was 44 yo. As I don't have long thin model legs, I wear the leather leggings with tunic sweaters and silk and other dresses. I think confidence and being true to yourself (even if your "self" is evolving into middle age) are the key to not looking like you're having a crisis. For new style choices, recognition that something is true to you may take time, for yourself and for others, but this shouldn't mean we cannot evolve, should it?
Kat i have just started a new modeling thread would you like to join in modleing you leather leggings? would be great to see how you style yours.
Mmmm--can I say that I think there are several questions that people are responding to on this thread:
Are leather pants and leggings different than other pants?
Do certain extreme styles become questionable as a woman ages regardless of her shape?
Can a woman drastically change her style after a certain age without facing censure or comment from her peers and family?
Is the whole notion of "age appropriate" dressing offensive, demeaning, and out dated?
Should we care what others think about what we choose to wear?
Should we rally round and celebrate women who defy convention and push the boundaries of what is considered "appropriate"?
Lots to think about on this thread, Elisabeth, but I'm not sure exactly which of those questions (if any) was your original intent.
Mid-life?suddenly finding this term being used frequently, another euphamism to replace middleaged or something else. Could be replaced with in my 40's or 50's.
Or am I just being grouchy in midlife? ☺
I say, if you want to wear leather pants, and you're comfortable doing it, then do it. No matter what your age. I was visiting my mom in Florida last week, and her friend, who is over 80, had on faux leather pants, a nice tunic top, and flat boots. She looked absolutely fabulous. Hip, stylish, well put together. The pants skimmed her legs, they were not skin tight. I wanted the look.
I think it's a matter of styling, who you are, and how comfortable you are with what you wear. Certainly not age. I get really frustrated that there is still such critical ideas about what is appropriate to wear as we age. It really takes power away from women as they age to put them into a box or say something is appropriate or not. And you know what, if someone wants to try to look young, it just means they have a young spirit inside of them trying to get out. We should celebrate women of any age that put energy into expressing themselves through their clothing.
OK, I'm calm now.
Aziraphale, do you maybe have a very specific reaction to tight black leather pants? I get that they are a "rock star" kind of item, but I don't personally think of them as overtly, femininely, sexy. They're pants, and both sexes wear them. I think of Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Mick Jagger - androgynous rockers, androgynous cool. Now I have a lot of other items that I have a certain reaction to, and don't wear as a result. Body con black lace, very high and narrow-heeled boots ("hooker boots", if I'm being honest, but that sounds derogatory), etc - these are trigger items for me in terms of advertising feminine sexuality and availability, shall we say. A lot of other women might wear these items comfortably, styled in classic, perfectly appropriate ways and I can recognize that, but I do not wish to because of my personal gut reaction to them.I can see that tight black leather pants combined with say, a body con, low cut top and "hooker boots" might elicit the same reaction. But styled appropriately, I just see them a classic rocker/edgy item. Too cool for me to pull off sadly...
Well I'm not a surgeon or a stripper, but since Mary mentioned me as an example, I don't have a pair of leather pants but I do have a pair of moto leggings with faux leather accents that does have a very similar vibe. And yes I'm nearing 42 and I just bought these pants this summer, but I don't think I'm having a mid life crisis! I do have an edgier "shadow style" so these fit with that theme. And I wore the latter two outfits to work, as a doctor. I got lots of compliments on the pants and the peep toe booties, but hopefully my patients don't think I look like a hooker! It all boils down to your confidence and your personal style. I think if you feel uncomfortable wearing them or they don't feel like "you", then it's not going to work. I don't think it would have felt like "me" to wear leather pants 5 years ago or even 2 years ago, but now I would definitely consider it! Also, there are definitely trashy and tasteful ways to wear leather pants--it's all in the styling. Joy and the other ladies who have posted pics definitely all rock their leather pants (waving to Ann, grey stripe sweater twin!). I don't think they are for everyone, but I don't think there's any blanket rule that someone should be excluded from wearing them because of age or size.
Whoa. Unsurprisingly, this thread took on a life of its own while I was away. That always happens when you suggest that there might be outside factors that affect what we choose to wear. What I'm saying is, I knew there would be a minor freak-out to the tune of 'what are you talking about, who cares what anyone else thinks, age is only a number/state of mind/social construct and I'm super confident and I can wear leather pants if I want to thankyouverymuch!!!' And yes, you can. Am I going to? At this point, no.
So, to be clear, I'm not mocking anyone, ever. Everyone is free to wear whatever they want and be happy doing it.
Secondly, I'm talking about the specific kind of black leather pants that call up images of sex, drugs and rock n' roll. Rock star pants. The kind worn by both men and women. So I wasn't really starting a thread about 'sexy' clothes and ageism as it applies to females. The whole MDAL topic is fraught, for sure, but it wasn't my focus here.
Thirdly, women of all ages and sizes can look fantastic in all leather pants, but someone who wears the rock star pants -- such an iconic garment -- and doesn't have the the right qualifiers (history of hard rock style, actual rock star status, or a motorcycle) looks like someone dealing with their midlife crisis in a superficial, obvious and funny way. Like Ross on Friends. I don't think I want to send that message! (Now, if I'm seized by the desire to buy leather pants and I'm in my late sixties or early seventies, things might be different).
Lastly -- and let me be very clear about this because I think someone suggested that I was saying you have to be thin to wear leather pants -- I do not think that body size or shape is a factor when it comes to looking gorgeous in leather pants.
I think what this discussion boils down to is this: how much do you care about how you are perceived by others? For me, it's not a binary thing. I'm not paralyzed by caring, but I'm also aware that I don't exist in a vacuum, and part of the reason I like fashion and style is because it allows you to project a certain image. I'm not lacking in confidence. I hope the message I send is 'stylish woman' and not 'desperate-to-look-cool woman'!
Bravo, Elisabeth. You've perfectly expressed how I, and my friends, feel about certain looks whenever we've discussed this topic over a glass of wine. We don't expect that our opinions are necessarily shared by others, nor would we ever want to impose our private boundries on others. For us, it's about finding that balance between personal style and our own comfort zone in the environment in which we live, work, and play.
Life is WAY too short not to rock leather pants whenever you want to. You may find they don't feel like "you" ultimately, but continuing to try new things keeps you having fun with style and self-expression. Plus there's the confidence boost you get from doing something audacious! Go for it!
I really need to see an image of what you mean. I was picturing those liquid leggings that are sold on E-bay for $5, but it sounds like you're actually talking about the Balmain leather pants of my dreams... I consider them aspirational, whether or not I am ever going to be a rock star.
It sounds like what you're getting at is not taste or age appropriateness but authenticity (again!). And that's MY favorite topic. If I'm a rock star in my head, can I wear rock star clothes? What qualifies someone to wear certain clothes, and who gets to decide? Tricky territory!
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