Page 1Group 8Group 7Group 7
Beauty Style Fitness Wellness Living #RealTalk #EmbraceYourAge
Stay up to date

Get on the List

Unlock our weekly newsletter packed with tips on living authentically, healthfully, and stylishly at every age.Get on the List: The best beauty, fashion, wellness and fitness tips straight to your inbox

Women Who Inspire: Fashion Designer Daryl Kerrigan

Each month, The Fine Line features women who inspire us in some unique way. This month’s guest is designer Daryl Kerrigan, who has worked in fashion since the 1990s, dressing everyone from rockstars to board chairs. Here she shares her secrets to dressing well at any age.


Every woman dreams of the perfect pant. The pant that works with everything and always makes her legs and butt look good. Really good. Some of us swear by a slimming straight-leg trouser. Others won’t leave the house in anything other than an ankle-length skinny style. Fashion designer Daryl Kerrigan suggests an unexpected solution to the perfect-pant conundrum: a stretch-leather legging.

When the Irish-born Kerrigan opened her store in New York City’s East Village in 1991, the designer’s wares quickly became synonymous with downtown cool. Influenced by Manhattan’s stylish streets, as well as five years working on movie sets as a costume designer, Kerrigan, now 53, pioneered a rocker chic look that’s still in vogue, with sophisticated but relaxed separates like fluid tops and T-shirts, body-conscious bias dresses, and ultra-slick leggings.

Her fashion shows lured editors, artists, and other tastemakers to unconventional locations all over the city, from a Chelsea parking garage to a bank building in Chinatown. Her store was the personification of her own effortlessly chic sensibility. When it closed in 2012, it felt like the end of an era to many. Kerrigan moved on though, continuing to design and sell her own pieces, collaborating with brands like Calvin Klein and Madewell, and always drawing on her own experience to create clothes that women truly want to wear.

designer daryl kerrigan in pants

When we spoke with Kerrigan in December, she had just returned from Politico’s fifth annual Women Rule Summit, in Washington D.C., where she participated in a trunk show with her designs. This was Kerrigan’s second time at the event, which brought together female leaders from the public and private sectors for discussions about how women are shaping the future.

“I’ve always been someone who thinks about politics and current events, but at this point in my life I’m not hesitant to talk about it anymore,” Kerrigan says. Speakers at this year’s summit ranged from presidential advisor Kellyanne Conway to Democratic senator and voice of the current crusade against sexual harassment in Washington Kirsten Gillibrand. “This year was a lot about the Me Too movement,” Kerrigan says, “and it was very much a bonding thing, all these women together.”

What was Kerrigan’s most popular design among these powerful and influential shoppers? “They have discovered my leather leggings,” the designer says with a laugh. So many women are fans.


So many women over 45 are the primary breadwinners for their families; they are mothers and wives and they want to look good and feel good when they leave the house.


Kerrigan mentions a scientist who works at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The designer loves the idea that this powerful woman wears her lab coat, a symbol of achievement and intellect, over a flirty blouse and sexy leather leggings while she’s working on curing infectious diseases. Another fan of the leggings is a high court judge who bought a pair in burgundy. “She’s in her early 60s, slim, energetic, and she’s edged the tips of her hair in burgundy, the same color as her leggings. She told me that when the court takes a break, the conversation is not about the case at all, but about her leather leggings!”

These days, Kerrigan is busy at her Brooklyn studio, Salon 32. She opens her space on weekends to good friends, long-time clients, and new acquaintances who come to shop her clothes. Sometimes her husband, Paul, “an excellent cook,” will whip something up for visitors. Other times there’s simply chatting and tea, but there is always an element of socializing. “It’s a little community, an antidote to the Internet, which is completely impersonal,” Kerrigan says. “We need to talk to each other, we need to be close to each other to bond.” Kerrigan says she needs to connect with her clients. “For me, it’s always been about reality. Regular women are my style icons.”

But back to those leggings.

designer daryl kerrigan in her studio

Despite their young, edgy look, Kerrigan says her leggings can be worn at any age. (Though not on any budget: They are a spendy $895.) She says she’s always trying to convince older women who want to wear her clothes and capture that chic, pulled-together look to try them as a new wardrobe staple. “An older woman (who happens to work in the White House) tried on the leggings and went in for every color. I thought she was totally conservative; now I see her and her whole style has changed. Having just this one pair of pants that works so well for her has revolutionized her wardrobe.”

It’s clear that Kerrigan loves working with other women and giving them options in their wardrobe. “When I’m speaking with someone about what they do and what their needs are, I find that we’re all facing the same kind of things. So many women over 45 are the primary breadwinners for their families; they are mothers and wives and they want to look good and feel good when they leave the house.” Pieces that serve those women are the kind Kerrigan is most interested in now. They take awhile to develop, but when perfected they become her core styles.

She’s currently working on a suit, done in stretch leather and wool. “Especially for more mature women, even if they are feeling out of shape, when they try this jacket on, I see a transformation and an instant boost in their confidence.”

With regard to her own approach to aging and maintaining a chic, confident style, the designer says, “I create clothes that I want to wear. At this stage in my life, I’m dressing for myself. When I was younger, I would experiment with a million different looks, but as I’ve gotten older, I don’t experiment anymore.” She ticks off the perfect wardrobe for a more mature woman: a fluid silk shirt, well-cut pants, sleek leather leggings, a tailored wool jacket, a luxurious shearling vest. “These are the pieces that I always make and what I wear myself every day.”

Get your hands on Daryl K leggings and more at darylk.com.

Photos: Courtesy of Daryl Kerrigan

You Might Also Like

10 Real Women Who Endlessly Inspire Us
Living

10 Real Women Who Endlessly Inspire Us

They’re not celebrities. They don’t have a ton of money. But they...

read
Office Hours: How Can I Get Back Into the Workforce?
Living

Office Hours: How Can I Get Back Into the Workforce?

Welcome to Office Hours, where a Fairygodboss expert answers a question from one of...

read
Women Who Inspire: Model Gillean McLeod
Living

Women Who Inspire: Model Gillean McLeod

Gillean McLeod, 62, admits being “late to the game” has been somewhat...

read
The Fine Line Holiday Gift Guide
Living

The Fine Line Holiday Gift Guide

From hard-to-shop-for men to the gal who likes it all, the people...

read
Fitness Gifts You Won’t Have to Sweat Over
Fitness

Fitness Gifts You Won’t Have to Sweat Over

If even thinking about shopping gives you a hot flash, you’re not...

read
Perfect Presents Under $150
Living

Perfect Presents Under $150

Holiday gift giving shouldn’t break the bank. We found 13 presents under...

read
5 Exfoliators for 5 Aging-Skin Problems
Beauty

5 Exfoliators for 5 Aging-Skin Problems

It seems that with age comes a more complicated skin care routine....

read
I Feel OK About My Neck
#RealTalk

I Feel OK About My Neck

The late Nora Ephron’s essay “I Feel Bad About My Neck” is...

read
5 Standing Yoga Poses for Lower-Back Pain
Yoga

5 Standing Yoga Poses for Lower-Back Pain

If you have lower-back pain, you are not alone. According to the...

read
Has the Carbohydrate Conundrum Been Solved?
Wellness

Has the Carbohydrate Conundrum Been Solved?

New research studying carb intake in relation to mortality confirms that contrary...

read
5 Recipes for an Unforgettable Holiday Cookie Party
Wellness

5 Recipes for an Unforgettable Holiday Cookie Party

’Tis the season for a cookie party. Legendary cookie baker Dorie Greenspan...

read
7 Lessons for My Younger Self
#RealTalk

7 Lessons for My Younger Self

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards,” said...

read
Is Sitting Ruining Your Posture?
Wellness

Is Sitting Ruining Your Posture?

Back pain, leg pain, shoulder pain, headaches. We tend to attribute inconvenient...

read
Put an End to Your Perfectionism
Wellness

Put an End to Your Perfectionism

Earlier this year I had an epiphany: The never-ending feeling that I needed...

read
Great Gifts for Good Guys
Living

Great Gifts for Good Guys

Why are guys so hard to buy for? We don’t have the...

read
The Tastiest Holiday Gifts for Foodies
Living

The Tastiest Holiday Gifts for Foodies

We got hungry just thinking about wrapping up these tasty holiday gifts...

read
Hostess Gifts to Show Your Gratitude
Living

Hostess Gifts to Show Your Gratitude

Whether you’re just popping over for dinner or staying a few days,...

read
Holiday Gifts for Women Who Love Wellness
Wellness

Holiday Gifts for Women Who Love Wellness

Don’t stress over holiday gifts for your gals who walk the wellness...

read
Eat This Now: Ultimate Cleansing Foods
Wellness

Eat This Now: Ultimate Cleansing Foods

If you’re among the millions of Americans suffering from obesity, diabetes, high...

read
Need to Know: Heavy Metals
Wellness

Need to Know: Heavy Metals

Heavy metals are odorless, invisible, and virtually undetectable — but they’re of increasing...

read
Every Wrinkle Tells a Story
#RealTalk

Every Wrinkle Tells a Story

As I approach 50 and beyond, I look at myself differently. Whereas...

read
Problem/Solution: Teensy Bladder Leaks
Style

Problem/Solution: Teensy Bladder Leaks

You laugh. You sneeze. You cough. You do 13,791 burpees at the...

read
Shave Your Face: Yay or Nay?
Beauty

Shave Your Face: Yay or Nay?

Hair removal has long been an integral part of beauty routines. As...

read
How to Get Started With Exercise at 75
Fitness

How to Get Started With Exercise at 75

When you hit your mid-70s, you may feel like your daily routine...

read
5 Hormone-Balancing Foods
Wellness

5 Hormone-Balancing Foods

Are your hormones out of whack? Often the best place to start...

read
The Science-Based Solution for Aging Hair
Beauty

The Science-Based Solution for Aging Hair

There’s no question that our hair changes as we get older. It...

read
37 Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance
Wellness

37 Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance

Hormones play an enormous role in how we look, think, and feel....

read
6 Questions With... Skin Care Pioneer Jane Iredale
Beauty

6 Questions With... Skin Care Pioneer Jane Iredale

Jane Iredale began her eponymous brand in New York in 1994. As a casting...

read
7 Reasons to Embrace Cardio
Fitness

7 Reasons to Embrace Cardio

Cardio is any form of exercise that raises your pulse and conditions...

read
Problem/Solution: Aging Teeth and Receding Gums
Beauty

Problem/Solution: Aging Teeth and Receding Gums

If your teeth are more dingy yellow than pearly white or you’ve...

read
Load More
share
To Top