Photo by Candice Picard on Unsplash

You Can’t Wear Leggings After Sixty: Really? How About You Kiss My Little Tiny Bodybuilder’s Butt?

Julia E Hubbel

Conventional Wisdom. Right. I would love to meet the frump who came up with Conventional Wisdom. Like my sainted mother, who told me that women over thirty should NEVER wear long hair.

My mass of dark brown curls tumbles down to my ass and I’m 66. I am hardly alone. We are legion, thank you, and for my part I see untold numbers of Women Of A Certain Age who rock long, bouncy curls or endless straight hair that flows when they stride. It’s gorgeous.

Who the hell is CV to dictate to anyone what her (or his) best look is, when that has far more to do with a combination of individual taste, style, body type, personality?

Are you going to tell Mark Sisson, who is in his mid-sixties and with a six-pack that many men in their twenties would kill for, that he should cover it up because of his age? https://www.marksdailyapple.com/mark-sisson/. I beg to differ. The man is eye candy, even if I don’t believe in paleo for all comers.

Photo by Melody Jacob on Unsplash

I am a featured writer for the website OverSixty.com, which provides ideas, advice, input and a forum for Women Of A Certain Age. The title of this piece comes from something I just read on that website.

Here’s the quote:

If you are wearing short skirts or high heels or gaudy fashions that might work on a woman half your age, chances are you are making yourself look “older” (in a bad way) than you actually are. The same goes for leggings, which, while comfortable, are one of the least flattering items of clothing that women over 60 can wear.

Frankly, BALDERDASH.

While I tend to agree that perhaps it’s not wise wearing tiny skirts after your knees begin looking like a bag of walnuts and the drapery on the insides of your thighs would do justice to a Victorian sitting room, the wholesale condemnation based solely on age is so very out of touch. Because, look, those are my knees these days. It happens. So, no more mini skirts, but that’s just me. But I sure as hell wear leggings, because, I’m constantly working out.

Photo by Fabio Neo Amato on Unsplash

Look, if your idea of aging is the Italian grandmother (400 lbs and a black dress, and NO IT IS NOT SLIMMING), then this article isn’t for you.

It is for you if you are sick unto death of being told by the CV Fashion Police what’s right for your age. This is in no way a criticism of the website- because for many, this advice is Spot. On. You and I see it all the time. But let’s be clear:

I see plenty of women well under sixty wearing leggings, short skirts and tight pants who might want to rethink that decision.

Here’s part of why- I can’t speak for you but I’d rather not be featured on the Walmart customer mock page. And, let’s be fair, people are now armed and ready with a camera, and we may show up in our curlers and butt crack where a potential boss or business partner might see us. You don’t care? Not sure I do. But they might, and that might hurt you. This isn’t about shaming, and if you read it that way you are missing the point. The point has a great deal to do with simple common sense.

How you wear your age, and how others wear theirs, is vastly different. It’s not a question of age per se. It’s what works on your body. If your body can rock a mini or leggings, then have at it. This has nothing whatsoever to do with being an athlete.

You do not have to be the inimitable Helen Mirren to rock a bathing suit in your seventies. You do not have to be Jane Fonda to knock folks’ eyes out in a tight red dress. These women work hard on their health. It helps to have a personal trainer on staff.

And so do millions of the rest of us work on our health. My state of Colorado is full of grey-haired Olympians (yes, senior Olympics) who make many folks a third their age look ancient. Vibrant, energetic, and muscled, they can wear anything they damned well please.

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

Kindly, we look GREAT in leggings. Mine are neon, leopard, brilliantly-colored, loud and proud.

Because I can. If you put in jogging 80,000 steps with a backpack like I did last year in preparation for climbing Mt. Kenya, you’d be able to wear leggings in your mid-sixties too. And short skirts. And high heels. Yes to all of them.

Because for some of us, and my hand is up here, it took me a long time to sculpt this body. I wasn’t able to get away with that kind of fashion until later in life. I am hardly going to trade in my stilettos for a pair of nurse’s loafers. For many of my silver sisters we didn’t finally win the weight battle until after fifty. For my part, if they want to wear purple paisley leggings, have at it.

Photo by Kris Atomic on Unsplash

Puh-leeze.

One night at a showing of Le Miz in Spokane, Washington, I was sitting in one of the higher rows when two women walked in front of me. Mother and daughter. Mother was clearly in her sixties. Both were slim. Both were wearing slim gowns with spaghetti straps. However, mother had sculpted, muscular arms- at an age where the CV Fashion police advise us to wear long sleeves to cover up the flapping flab. Daughter’s triceps, by comparison, were flaccid. Daughter was the one who needed the bolero jacket, if you are going to make that kind of critical remark in the first place.

My case entirely. Mom looked terrific. Age had nothing to do with it whatso-ever.

This is not about being skinny or an athlete. I said fitness, which wears a million million different body types, different ages. Nor did I say you had to be uber fit to get away with leggings. This is about ageism.

You want to be the Fashion Police? Point your goddamned fingers at the Presidential Dumpster on the golf course. That’s a crime against nature. And this toadstool of a human being considers himself a connoisseur of both women and how they dress.

Uh huh. Speaking of public excrescences, ladies and gentlemen. Just look at our White House, which could use thicker curtains. But I digress.

Photo by Jacob Postuma on Unsplash

Adornment is our right as humans. How we dress is as much a personality statement as it is a way to fit in, or not, or get a job, or not. I love fashion as much as the next girl, perhaps even more so. But looking good can’t be dictated by a set of rules that has serious whiskers on it. So much of what works is informed by the shape we’re in, not our age. Our personal style, not a number. Our quirks, not a calendar.

I’ve been obese. And found lots of ways to be stylish. I didn’t wear leggings when I was obese, but that’s just me. Comfortable doesn’t always translate to classy, but then, it depends on what you’re trying to do in the world. Dress to impress? Get hired? Make a statement?

Does it really matter?

Photo by Nathalie Désirée Mottet on Unsplash

What does matter is that you and I or anyone else aren’t unfairly imprisoned by ageism, whether it’s what we wear, where we belong, and whether we should be making cookies in the kitchen or running a marathon..

…in our neon green leggings.

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment.

Julia E Hubbel

Written by

Prize-winning author, veteran, adventure traveler, animal masseuse, athlete, international traveler/speaker. Perpetually curious.

The Ascent

A community of storytellers documenting the journey to happiness & fulfillment.