women wearing jeans

You’re Not Too Old For… Skinny Jeans

In a world where we’re pushing boundaries physically, mentally, and spiritually, how is it we still live by wardrobe commandments set decades ago? Thou shall not wear skinny jeans over a certain age is a rule I confess to breaking. And so can you.

Truth be told, skinny jeans can be difficult to wear no matter your age. But the issue is far larger than a tapered leg of Levi’s. Many older women stop wearing jeans altogether, deeming them unsuitable as they mature. But that’s less about the denim than the fact that the denim cuts of their youth may no longer work for their aging bodies.

A survey conducted by British company CollectPlus found that the age women should give up on jeans is 53. Gulp. They don’t claim denim is inappropriate but rather frustrating, noting, “One in 10 try on six pairs and spend five days looking to find just one pair that fits. The process is so traumatic that 6 percent reportedly burst into tears, and 24 percent never find the ideal pair.”

Brands have established themselves on this very premise. NYDJ (aka Not Your Daugher’s Jeans) was launched in 2003 by a fashion entrepreneur who felt the denim market was missing styles for aging women’s bodies. Though the company has a range of styles, skinny jeans are among the best-sellers. NYDJ may have tapped into something with its technology. What the company cleverly calls a “patented Lift Tuck” addresses issues aging women face with fit.


The pioneer of denim, Levi’s, followed suit in 2013 with Revel jeans, which used a liquid stretch chemical to allow certain areas to stretch more, for a more active fit. Though Revel is no longer available, and technology has evolved in every brand — from affordable Madewell, Ann Taylor, and H&M to pricier Seven, Frame, and JBrand — there are wearable skinny jeans for all ages.

Skinny jeans are here to stay. And they should not be banned if the garment fits your body, lifestyle, and personality.

Despite being polarizing, skinny jeans are here to stay. And they, along with other supposed sartorial no-nos — even ripped or distressed jeans — should not be banned if the garment fits your body, lifestyle, and personality.

The fact is that a skinny leg is less concerning as we age than the rise. Depending on your shape, there’s a rise for you:

  • High rise (aka high waisted): Once coined “mom jeans” but considered stylish (so long as you steer forever clear of pleats). Ideal if this look shows off a flat tummy, and even better if you can tuck in a shirt. If you’re using to disguise your middle, move on to a lower-rise jean.
  • Midrise: Good for most women, as it offers some coverage and give in our ever-challenging midsection. If a muffin top swells over the waistband, that is not the pair for you. Find a pair with a slightly lower or higher rise — or stretchier fabric.
  • Low rise: Reminiscent of Britney Spears in her heyday. Not a good look at any age.

Goodbye Crop Top’s Wendy Euler concurs. “Dress for the double take. You know the woman who at 40, 50, 60, and beyond … her style doesn’t just speak to her youthful spirit, but also her wisdom of the ages. She hasn’t fallen to jeans that have an elastic waist. She’s beyond the rules, because she makes them up.”

We couldn’t agree more.



Photo: Anetlander

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