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21 Best Leggings to Dress Up or Down for Women Over 50

They're easy, go with practically anything, and are perfect for spring


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While there’s something to be said about a great pair of structured pants, nothing beats the comfort factor and versatility of the perfect leggings. And, given that the pandemic resulted in many of us being cooped up at home, it’s only natural that we found comfort in cozy pants we could just slip on and wear all day. Unfortunately, leggings aren’t always seen as “acceptable” public clothing, especially when it comes to more formal or professional settings — that is, unless they’re the right kinds of leggings. To take some of the guesswork out, we’ve rounded up our picks for the best leggings to dress up or down that will keep you feeling stylish and comfortable, no matter the occasion!

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What are the best leggings to dress up or down?

There’s a term that’s become more common over the past year and a half: “hard pants.” Hard pants refer to structured pants, like khakis, corduroys, jeans, or any other bottoms that you usually have to fasten with a button, zipper, or belt. In short, not the pants we typically reach for when we want to feel cozy! Since the pandemic started, athleisure wear — including leggings — has skyrocketed in popularity, thanks to the clothing’s convenient slip-on style and soft fabrics. And, now that workplaces have started opening up again, workleisure” wear has even become a trend, as people aren’t rushing back to their former business casual dress codes. But wearing comfier pants, like leggings, doesn’t have to mean a less put-together look — and our favorites will complement almost any outfit.

Can you dress leggings up?

While certain leggings are better off reserved as workout clothes (we’re looking at you, neon prints!), there are sleeker designs that can — and should! — be part of a dressier look. For the most part, a darker legging (think black, navy, or gray) will have a more formal appearance, so you’ll want to stick to those when it comes to professional settings and special occasions. That said, these dark neutrals look fabulous with just about any color, so feel free to pair them with vibrant tops, dresses, and accessories to liven up your outfit!

The best part about finding a great pair of leggings to dress up is that, unlike clingy tights, they’ll hug your body in a way that shows off your shape without making you feel constricted. That way, you can focus on enjoying yourself, rather than being distracted by your discomfort.

What is the correct way to wear leggings?

There aren’t many hard and fast “rules” for wearing leggings. Like any garment, comfort is key, so you’ll want to make sure you feel good in them above all! However, one thing to keep in mind is that a quality, opaque fabric will help keep you covered where it matters, as well as extend the longevity of your leggings.

One of the things I love most about leggings is their versatility — you can pair them with practically any type of outfit, whether it’s casual or dressy. Some leggings act like a thicker pair of tights, which you’ll want to wear under a skirt, dress, long top, or even certain types of shorts. On the other hand, leggings with a bit more structure, like jeggings (or, jean leggings) can be worn as pants themselves, and no one will be the wiser! I personally love wearing my leggings with boots in the fall and winter, as they keep me warmer than tights, but aren’t as bulky as thicker pants.

On those days when even the best jeans just won’t do, our picks for the best leggings to dress up or down will become your new go-to pants to pair with your favorite wardrobe staples. They look equally as chic under skirts and dresses as they do paired with blazers and button-downs — and of course, don’t forget tees and sneakers. The possibilities are truly endless!  

Keep scrolling to shop Woman’s World’s picks for the best leggings!

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Want more? Read our other legging stories:

21 Best Leggings to Dress Up or Down

High Waisted Center Stage Legging

Best leggings to wear under dresses
Best Leggings
Great deal

Buy from Bandier, $12

Why we like them:

  • Available in high-waisted, capri, mid-rise, and with pockets
  • No side seams
  • Available in lots of colors

Bandier might be known as an athletic brand, but we love these ankle-length leggings as an option to wear under dresses and skirts as well. Unlike full-footed tights, open-foot leggings offer more flexibility and movement, while still allowing you to wear socks if needed. Since these have seamless sides, they also give the appearance of tights without feeling so constricting, and the high-rise wide waistband keeps them from slipping down. Best of all, they come in more than nine colors, including prints, making them functional and versatile.

Zella Studio Lite Crop Leggings

Best cropped leggings
best leggings
60% off!

Buy from Nordstrom, $22 (was $55)

Why we like them:

  • Available in 4 colors
  • Moisture-wicking fabric
  • Hidden waistband pocket

Cropped leggings are a summer wardrobe staple, and this pair by Zella are even more warm weather-friendly, thanks to their super-lightweight, moisture-wicking fabric. The four-way-stretch material will keep you feeling comfortable and flexible from day to night, so feel free to pair these leggings with anything from a tank and flip flops to a sundress and strappy sandals. Bonus: there’s a hidden waistband pocket for stashing small items!

Reviewers can’t seem to get enough of how “smooth” and “luxurious” these leggings feel, with one even saying the fabric is similar to Lululemon’s “for a fraction of the price.”

Skechers GOFLEX GoWalk High Waist Leggings

Best leggings with UPF protection
Best Leggings

Buy from QVC, $49

Why we like it:

  • Breathable and active four-way stretch
  • UPF 40+ protection
  • Squat proof

These stretchy leggings from Skechers are great for long ‘hot girl’ walks around the neighborhood. They’re made with a premium air-textured nylon yarn and drawn-twisted spandex that make them comfortable and breathable. A high-waist helps hold in your core, while the two exterior pockets are great for keeping keys or I.D safe. And of course, we love the moisture-wicking and UPF protectant fabric, because we plan to enjoy the gorgeous weather a lot in these beauties!

Zella Live In High Waist Leggings

Best plus size leggings
best leggings

Buy from Nordstrom, $47.20

Why we like them:

  • Available in sizes XXS to XXL
  • Moisture-wicking fabric
  • Waistband pocket for storing small essentials

Zella’s plus-size ponte leggings are a bit thicker than your average cotton pair, but this means they can provide more structure and support. Perfect for everyday wear or working out, the moisture-wicking fabric will keep sweat at bay, while the high, slip-free waistband will stay up no matter your activity level. There’s also a hidden waistband pocket for storing essentials, like keys and credit cards, so you can take these comfy leggings anywhere!

One reviewer loved these leggings so much, she purchased a second pair right away. She described the material as being “luxurious” and “well-constructed,” and appreciated that there was no waist gap.

Spanx EcoCare High-Waisted Seamless Leggings

Best opaque black leggings
Best Leggings

Buy from Spanx, $78

Why we like them:

  • Four-way stretch
  • Seamless design
  • Compression support

Spanx’s EcoCare High-Waisted Leggings are what we grab on casual days that call for comfort and style. They have the compression the brand is known for and sit high on the waist, creating a flattering silhouette. Made from recycled nylon, the leggings are also super soft. Pair with boots, sneakers or heels, and your favorite sweater.

Spanx Faux Leather Leggings

Best leather leggings

Buy from Nordstrom, $98

Why we like them:

  • Best-sellers
  • Chic, glossy finish
  • Elevate any outfit

Faux leather leggings add a polished vibe to any outfit, and with this best-selling pair from Spanx, you’ll look (and feel) like a million bucks. These figure-hugging leggings are designed to show off your body’s beautiful shape, so rock your look with confidence! Best of all, the fabulous glossy finish is eye-catching without being too flashy, and will elevate even the most casual tee and sneakers look.

One satisfied customer was worried they might not fit someone with a larger frame, but was thrilled to find that they were “super comfortable” and looked “awesome.

Women’s Primaloft ThermaStretch Fleece Tights

Best leggings for hiking
L.L. Bean

Buy from L.L. Bean, $99

Why we like them:

  • Available in regular, plus, and petite sizes
  • Made from soft fleece for warmth
  • Moisture-wicking fabric

We hope there are many more weeks until the weather cools down, but once that happens, you’ll want to invest in the L.L. Bean Primaloft ThermaStretch Fleece Tights. These fleece-lined tights are perfect for keeping you warm when you’re out on the slopes or for lounging in front of a roaring fire. Plus, the moisture-wicking fabric will keep you dry and comfortable, in case you work up a sweat. They’re available in regular, plus, and petite sizes, as well as regular and tall inseams, so everyone will find a pair that fits. 

Cold Syracuse winters are no match for these leggings, according to one reviewer who said they were warm enough to wear outside in the snow, but also “so cozy” that she loved wearing them inside, too!

HUE Ponte Leggings

Best affordable leggings
best leggings

Buy from Bloomingdale’s, $54

Why we like them:

  • Comfortable, yet professional-looking
  • Back pockets
  • Machine washable

HUE’s Ponte Leggings will fit in perfectly with your work wardrobe. If you throw on a nice blouse and dressy shoes, you’ll look fabulous and professional — and no one will know you’re wearing leggings. To add to the illusion, they even have faux front pockets — and real back pockets! The stretchy fabric and elasticized waistband offer comfort without sacrificing a put-together look, so they really are the best of both worlds. They might just become your new go-to pair!

One fan of these leggings said she loved that they don’t “stretch out or bag,” and that the “weight of the fabric is perfect.”

Karen Kane Cropped Jeggings

Best jean leggings
best leggings

Buy from Bloomingdale’s, $99

Why we like them:

  • Made from a soft and comfortable cotton-spandex blend
  • Sleek skinny fit
  • Washer safe

Jean leggings, or jeggings, combine the comfort of leggings with the style of classic denim. We love this pair by Karen Kane because they hug your body’s natural curves while still being incredibly soft. They’re available in a sleek, dark rinse, which can effortlessly go from day to night — and cleaning them is a breeze, just toss them into the washer!

These jeggings score high marks when it comes to comfort and fit, and one reviewer said they’re “light enough to be worn on milder summer days.”

LOFT Tall Seamed Leggings

Best leggings to wear as pants
best leggings

Buy from LOFT, $41.96

Why we like them:

  • Available in regular, petite, and tall sizes
  • High-waist
  • Seamed construction has a more structured look

When looking for leggings that can stand on their own as pants, try to find a pair with seams, as it has a more tailored look. We’re fans of LOFT’s seamed leggings, which come in sizes XXS to XXL, as well as in petite options. The high waistline has an elongating effect (for us shorter women!), while the snug yet stretchy material fits like a regular pair of pants, but is way more comfortable. If you’re looking to emulate the look in the photo, these leggings are perfect for pairing with flats or loafers, thanks to their tapered ankles, which fall just above your shoe for a chic silhouette.

Reviewers say that these leggings fit true to size, with some mentioning that they purchased them specifically for wearing to work. One fan even commented, “Feels great, and with the seam it looks more like a pant.

Lululemon Align High-Rise Pant

Best leisure leggings
best leggings

Buy from Lululemon, starting at $98

Why we like them:

  • Available in 18 colors and prints
  • 3 length options
  • Made of breathable, moisture-wicking fabric

A list of the best leggings wouldn’t seem complete without a pair from Lululemon, which is known for its trademarked “buttery soft” Nulu fabric. The Align High Rise Pant is our pick for the best leisure leggings, because nothing says loungewear like the phrase “buttery soft!” That said, go ahead and wear these leggings to the gym, too, as their breathable, moisture-wicking material is also great for keeping you cool as you work up a sweat. And with 18 gorgeous color and print options to choose from, you can wear a different pair every day of the week!

Many reviewers called these their “favorite leggings,” with high praise given to their soft fabric and comfortable yet supportive fit.

Everlane The Perform Pocket Legging

Best leggings with pockets
best leggings
Final sale!

Buy from Everlane, $23 (was $79)

Why we like them:

  • Available in sizes XXS to XXL
  • Dual side pockets
  • Washer and dryer safe

If it were up to us, every garment would come with pockets, which is why we appreciate the dual side pockets in these leggings from Everlane. They’re perfect for storing small essentials while working out or on the go, though the black recycled nylon fabric can easily be dressed up by throwing on a long top and some cute shoes. Best of all, they’re available in an inclusive range of sizes, and can be popped into the washer and dryer when it’s time to clean.

These leggings had such a wowing effect on people, many said they were planning on buying multiple pairs. One happy customer said she absolutely loves the pockets, as she can store her phone in them while doing the dishes!

Spanx Jean-ish Leggings

Best Spanx jean leggings
best leggings

Buy from Nordstrom, $98

Why we like them:

  • Come in 3 colors
  • Available in regular and plus sizes
  • Washer and dryer safe

Designed with skinny jeans in mind, these jeggings by Spanx will give you that same sleek look, but with much more freedom of movement. Choose from a dark denim wash, black, or taupe — all three options really look like actual pants! The faux front and back pockets add to the illusion, though the stretchy elastic waist will remind you that these were crafted for comfort. Pair with a tunic and flats as shown in the photo, or with a chunky sweater and ankle boots when the cooler weather strikes.

One fan called these jeggings “the most comfortable work appropriate pants EVER,” and said they “look like jeans with the comfort of leggings.”

Spanx Faux Leather Moto Leggings

Best moto leggings
best leggings

Buy from Spanx, $110

Why we like them:

  • Made of sleek faux leather
  • Moto seam detail
  • Machine washable

Being cool has no age limit, which is why we think these sexy faux leather moto leggings are a great way to add some edge to your wardrobe without going overboard. They’re made with Spanx’s now famous faux leather spandex, but the moto stitching detail gives them a bit of texture for a rocker-chic look. Best of all, unlike real leather pants, you can throw these into the washing machine for easy cleaning!

One reviewer loved how comfortable these leggings felt, saying they’re not as thick as they appear in photos, while another said she loved that she could wear these for girls’ nights and work functions.

Everlane The Perform Legging

Best petite leggings
best leggings

Buy from Everlane, $68 – Buy 2, pay $98!

Why we like them:

  • Available in sizes XXS to XXXL
  • Ankle and regular length options
  • Made of soft recycled nylon

As someone who has a hard time finding pants that don’t require hemming, I always appreciate when brands offer alternative sizing options. Enter: The Perform Legging by Everlane, which comes in both ankle and regular lengths, as well as in sizes XXS to XXXL, making it one of the most inclusive products on our list. The impossibly soft recycled nylon fabric comes in black for a classic look that can be dressed up or down, as well as a chic pine green if you’d like more than one pair. There’s also a small interior front pocket for storing keys and credit cards, and the high-waistline helps create a more lengthened silhouette.

These popular leggings won so many customers over, many said they looked forward to buying additional pairs — and multiple reviewers described the feel as being “like butter.”

Allsaints Cora Leather Look High Rise Leggings

Best skirted leggings
Best Leggings

Buy from Allsaints, $219

Why we like them:

  • Attached skirt
  • Look great with boots
  • Machine washable

For those days when you want the most effortless, low-maintenance outfit that still looks put-together, it doesn’t get much better than these sleek leggings by Allsaints. Simply slide them on, throw on a cute blouse and some boots, and voila! You’ll be dressed to the nines and ready to take on the day. The soft, cotton-blend material is semi-sheer to keep you cool on warmer days, though you can pair with a skirt if you want to cover up.

1822 Denim Butter High Waist Jeggings

Best black jean leggings
best leggings

Buy from Nordstrom, $49

Why we like them:

  • High-rise waist
  • Five-pocket style
  • Washer and dryer safe

If there’s one article of clothing we reach for more than any other during the cooler months, it’s definitely a pair of black jeans. They’re timeless and go with just about anything — from dressy tops to cozy sweaters — making them an essential for any wardrobe. As a comfier alternative, we love these high-waisted jeggings from 1822 Denim, which deliver the same classic, versatile look without the stiff feel that real jeans often have. After all, anything with the word “butter” in the name is sure to be soft and smooth — and who wouldn’t want their pants to feel like that?

Reviewers can’t believe how soft and comfortable these jeggings are, with one saying they feel like pajamas. Another said she gave away all of her real jeans and bought two pairs of these because “they are super comfortable and look like jeans!

BP High Rise Leggings

Best high waisted workout leggings
70% off!

Buy from Nordstrom, $16

Why we like them:

  • Available in black and 6 colorful patterns
  • Super affordable
  • Stretch-cotton fabric

As someone with short legs, I love a high-waisted legging when I’m looking to add an elongating effect to my look, and you can’t go wrong with this pair from BP, which retails for less than $20! The heavy-duty, extra-high waistband will keep these leggings in place all day, and you’ll love the soft cotton. Best of all, in addition to classic black, they’re available in six fun, colorful patterns, so buy a few pairs!

One happy customer was thrilled to find such high-quality leggings at such a low price point, and said she even planned on buying some as gifts to give to friends! Best of all, she said the material was “thick enough” without being too constricting.

HUE Ultrasoft Denim Leggings

Best plus size jean leggings
best leggings

Buy from HUE, $54

Why we like them:

  • Functional back pockets
  • Sleek indigo wash
  • Soft and stretchy cotton-blend fabric

Available in sizes 1X to 3X, these soft and stretchy jeggings have a gorgeous tapered silhouette, with a dark indigo wash that makes them look so much like real jeans, only you will know the truth! They even have functional back pockets, though the pull-on styling and comfy cotton-spandex-blend fabric make these so much more comfortable than the real deal. Pair them with heels and a sleek top for a night out, or keep things casual with a tee and sneakers — either way, just throw them into the washer and dryer for effortless cleaning.

According to many reviewers, these jeggings offer the best of both worlds, as they’re incredibly soft yet still provide ample structure. One fan noted that she appreciated being able to dress them up or down.

Spanx Velvet Leggings

Best plus size velvet leggings
best leggings

Buy from Zappos, $98

Why we like them:

  • Available in sizes 1X to 3X
  • Great for layering
  • Medium support

Is there anything more luxe than a pair of fabulous velvet pants? These gorgeous leggings by Spanx come in sizes 1X to 3X, and offer medium support so you can rest assured they’ll stay put all day. While they are hand-wash only, it’s more than worth it for the endless looks you’ll be able to create with them; they’re begging to be worn with everything from ankle boots and classic tees, to heels and fine jewelry. Best of all, they’ll help elevate any outfit with absolutely no effort.

These leggings appear to make very popular holiday outfits, as several reviewers mentioned wearing them to Thanksgiving and other festive gatherings (and found them to be super comfortable). One even said she would give them “10 stars” if she could!

Homma Premium Thick High Waist Compression Leggings

Best Affordable leggings

Buy from Amazon, $20.95

Why we like them:

  • Available in 10 colors
  • Less than $20!
  • Strong compression

Amazon is a great place to find cheap leggings, like this pair from Homma. With over 14,000 five-star ratings, these compression leggings are an absolute hit on Amazon, and it’s easy to see why. The seamless knit and four-way-stretch offer flexibility and movement, while sweat-wicking and ventilation properties make sure you stay dry and comfortable. For extra support, the high waist fits snugly, so you won’t have to worry about readjusting throughout the day. Best of all? These leggings come in 10 colors, so we recommend stocking up!

One reviewer appreciated that, while these leggings offer ample compression, “it doesn’t take a year to squeeze into them.” She also loves that the fabric is “thick but still breathable.”

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