Wide legged pants: how to wear them in 2019 and where to buy the best ones

by Sylvia

how to wear wide leg pants

Wide legged pants are coming back in trend this 2019 season, especially wide jeans.

I personally love wider pants which can be a very good choice of trousers for many women over 40.

Why should you wear wide legged pants?

Let’s look at some reasons why wide leg pants can be a very flattering option to wear for many women.

#1 Wide pants can lengthen your legs

Wide leg pants are great for short legged women like me, as flared pants are very leg lengthening when they fit well at the top.

A few things you need to keep in mind to accomplish this:

  • Tuck in your tops or wear your wide leg pants with a short cropped tops
  • For maximum effect wear them with (high) heels though and make sure your pants or jeans almost touch the ground.

Have a look at how I wore my boot leg jeans with heels. My legs look a mile long in the image below. Would have been even better if my pants had a higher rise.


Get it online: I love the bootcut jeans from Paige high quality, good stretch and very flattering

This would have worked with my other wide leg pants too that are wide all over but I hemmed these for flatter shoes.

Too much of the heels are showing which hamper the lengthening effect a bit.

Best wide leg pants | 40plusstyle.com

Here is how I wore them with flats. As I’ve tucked in the top it still has a good leg line as the pants almost touch the ground

Get it online: these are no longer available but I love these Vince linen wide trousers 

#2 Wide pants may cover up your muffin top

If you have a bit of a belly or muffin top (as many of us over 40 women have) then wide leg pants do a great job to cover them. Certainly if you get a more relaxed wide leg pants style like the black linen pants I’m wearing below.

Black wide leg linen pants | 40plusstyle.com

These kind of pants are fabulous for traveling. (I’m here in front of the oracle of Delphi in Greece).

Get it online: black linen pants from Caslon

If you belly is too big, then you may like to wear your wide pants with a long (sleeveless) vest that will do a great job at camouflaging the belly.


For more tips you can read my tips on hiding the belly with the right clothes.


#3 Wide leg pants are comfortable

I already showed you above that I love wearing airy wide leg pants in summer and on trips. They are just super comfortable to wear!

Below is an example of how I wear my pants with a shorter top that is semi-tight int the waist.

linen wide black pants for summer | 40plusstyle.com

As mentioned before, you’ll want to make sure that you either tuck in your tops or wear wide pants with short tops to improve the silhouette and make them look flattering on you.

If your tops are too long or too wide, you would just look wide all over which is not flattering. With wide leg pants especially, you need to create some structure in the outfit.

This mixed print short top would be perfect to wear with your wide leg pants.

short top to wear with wide leg pants | 40plusstyle.com

Mixed print short top


#4 Wide leg pants give you more shape

This is especially useful if you are a rectangle. Provided that you accent the waist and your wide leg pants fit you well in the hip, you create a nice v-shape.

how to wear wide leg pants

This is also helpful for pear shapes as it will focus less attention on the hips. Inverted triangle shapes can also use the wider pants to balance their wider shoulder and top area.

Wide pants are definitely the most challenging to wear for apple shapes, but they do so so if they use them in combination with longer vests.


Don’t know your body type? Discover your body type here.

#5 Wide leg pants are fashionable

Especially the wide cropped pants variety is popular right now.

With this type it’s even more important to tuck your tops in as you want to create a one third / two third silhouette.


More on the rule of thirds and how to wear capris here.


Below is how I have worn my wide leg cropped jeans. Notice how my top is short at the front and longer at the back? That’s perfectly ok so long you make sure the front is short and there is enough structure in the outfit.

This top is quite fitted around the bust, as a v-neck line (which helps with structure) too and shows a waist (although it’s blowing in the wind here a bit).

how to wear wide leg cropped jeans

Here is another example of how I wore wide leg cropped pants with a tucked in top.

Black wide leg cropped pants with tucked in top | 40plusstyle.com

Shop online: similar cropped wide pants

Types of wide leg pants

High waist – full flare: good if you want to hide a muffin top or want to create an hourglass figure as it accentuates the waist.

high waist full flare pants

High waist full flare pants

Tight upper pantssmall flare: good if you have skinny legs. Not so good if you have saddle bags.

bootleg jeansJeans with wider lower leg

Standard legwide flare: Good to hide thicker thighs.

casual wide leg pants

Casual wide leg pants


Palazzo pants: very wide pants all over and good for tall women. Short or bulky women, be careful with this style!

palazzo pants

Palazzo pants

Cropped wide pants

best cropped wide pantsCropped wide pants


Prefer jeans? Check out the best jeans for women over 40

Some additional tips on how to wear wide pants

  • Buy them long. I don’t like the look of flared pants that are too short. It’s nice when your pants hide your high heels.
  • Wide pants look particularly good if you define your waist with a belt.
  • Try to balance the total look and wear something slim fitting on top. Flared pants can make for a very classical look so they will look great with a well fitted shirt.
  • Although a slim fitting top is the easiest and most flattering way to wear wide pants, I also like to combine them with short dresses and wider tops. It’s a tougher look to pull of, but I personally like the silhouette it creates.
  • Short people can also wear wide pants. Just make sure they are more fitted at the top and the pants don’t flare too much.
  • Although wide legged pants can be perfect for the pear body shape, make sure you don’t have any side pockets as that will add extra bulk.
  • Pear shapes also benefit from flat front pants, as opposed to pleated ones.
  • Want even longer legs? Try flared pants with vertical stripes.
  • Wear them with heels!

Shop the best wide leg pants below

Want some more inspiration on wearing wide pants?

wearing wide pants navy style | 40plusstyle.com

Shop online: NYDJ wide leg white jeans

Here are some examples of how I have worn my favorite white flared pants.

Here are some newer looks with wide flares and jeans flares: how to wear flared pants.

side white pants with jacket and asymmetrical top | 40plusstyle.com white wide pants with printed shirt and leather jacket | 40plusstyle.com

For these jeans and other favorite brands, visit how to wear jeans over 40.

More information on how to wear wider pants

For even more ideas on how to wear wide leg pants, you can visit my special inspiration board on Pinterest: How to wear wide pants.

Like this article on how to wear wide leg pants? Save it on Pinterest

How to wear wide legged pants | 40plusstyle.com

How do you wear wide pants?


{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sia

I always steer clear of wide leg pants they make me feel fat, doesn’t help that I am only 5’2 as well. If I were to wear them I will need 15 inch heels to make me look slender!


2 Sylvia

You could try really high waisted pants. The elongate as I showed in my article on >how to dress for the petite Victoria Beckham looks great in them!


3 Young Fashion Blogger

Hi, I’m only 11 but I read this article to find some inspiration for wearing some flare pants I made the other day. I am 5ft 4 and I need some ideas for what to wear on top. I also want to ask, is it a good thing to have long legs? I have extremely long legs and I don’t want to look like I’m wearing stilts.
Yours sincerely,
Young Fashion Blogger


4 Sylvia

You can wear wide legged pants with all kinds of tops. Just have a look through >what I wore. You will see that I wear my wide legged white pants quite a lot but I also show them in orange and blue. Long legs are generally seen as a very good thing although you may want to balance them out if they are proportionally a lot longer than your upper body. You can do that by not tucking in your tops and wearing them over pants and skirts. For further tips also see my article on how to dress when you are tall


5 Suzanne

This is so funny because in the 1940’s and then again in the 1970’s wide leg pants were a la mode. I just finished working more on that article and showed how to style vintage versions of this.

What goes around comes around…



6 Sylvia

I think they have eternal appeal. I really like the katherine Hepburn look!


7 Greetje

These trousers are much more difficult for me to wear than skinnies, although I am reasonably tall. I have no hips or bum so the only way to wear them is with a fitted jacket which covers those areas. No option to wear it with a fitted top as I would look indeed like an inverted triangle. A wider top is also out of the question.
Of all the ones you have shown, I like your own white ones best and the Carolina Herrera ones (figures…). A lot of them look too short.


8 Sylvia

Yes, they do. I wonder if it’s because most of the models showing them are just too tall!


9 Nanne

I’m happy that wide legged trousers are back on trend this season! I prefer a cut with a semi-high waistband, curved side pockets (if any) and that zips up on one side, not in the front. Makes them so much more flattering.


10 Sylvia

Yes, you are right. But side zipped pants are just so rare…


11 Rebecca

I have a pair that zips on the side.. I tried them on last night, but am concerned they are too dressy for work. I work in hospital administration…


12 Lisa

I like the look, but with a short upper torso, long legs, I’m not sure it will work that well for me, personally.


13 Sylvia

Just wear your tops a bit lower Lisa to create a better balance. I’m sure you would be able to rock this look!


14 Judith Rasband

Love your work.



Now I can dare to wear those flared pants thanks………
I always get little tensed when i try something new ……..I am well fitted trousers and shirt women
how to wear maxi skirts,what should i wear if I have tummy?


16 Sylvia

It’s probably best to wear your maxi skirt with a top over your skirt. Depending on how big your tummy is you may want a top that has draping to camouflage it. Here are some tips on how to hide your tummy: https://40plusstyle.com/how-to-hide-your-belly/
I’m featuring some more wide pants in a couple of days together with a top that hides the tummy so watch out for that!


17 Angela

Sylvia,thank you for your kind welcome.as a first time blogger!I have found it a great tool for any questions with true to life answers!I’m particularly keen on wide leg pants,but am unsure as to where to find good quality ones in Singapore .I know this will sound a little strange to long term residents. I ‘m happy to spent enough to make it an investment piece.any suggestions appreciated . Angela


18 Sylvia

I’m having a lot of trouble finding them too! They just haven’t been around much. I’m hoping that more will come in stores too. I saw that Zara has few in their new collection. For tips on where to shop in Singapore you can see this article: https://40plusstyle.com/where-to-shop-in-singapore/


19 Petra

I love white wide-legged pants and you make them look great Sylvia 😀 I have never owned any – I am slim in the legs and hips but big around the tummy and boobs so not sure how to wear them, as I think they look better with a slim-fitting top. Any suggestions appreciated!


20 Sylvia

I’m wearing wide pants in an article today Petra with a top that is wide and drapy and hides the tummy yet still defines the waist and your bust. That could work really well for you too! https://40plusstyle.com/creating-5-outfits-with-2-covered-perfectly-tops/


21 Kirsty Tod

Great tips!


22 harsimran

I am 24 and fat. Height5’4. Would flare pants look good and what kind


23 Sylvia

Yes, so long as you proportion it well and the flared pants are fitted at the top. Make sure that your top is not too long also.


24 Mat

I never managed to wear this kind of pants without looking like a matron, my legs big, my upper body short, my boobs enormous. They are actually having a comeback and once skinnies will be definitely out, I’ll switch to skirts.
I fully agree the easiest way to wear them would be fitted tops – but with an E/F-cup these are out of question (looking vulgar in a soft fabric and impossible to find otherwise). As a real inverted triangle, I don’t have neither a real waist nor hips, so … well … let’s say, anyway, not every style can fit everyone and I am afraid I’ll have to work around this one.
Or … any ideas?


25 Sylvia

You will just have to work out what works for you Mat. Straight legged pants are always an option and I think it will be a while before skinnies are completely out…


26 ann

Hi Sylvia – new to your site but find it great. I am 40, I have lost some weight so have a nice figure well proportioned. I love wide legged pants as they are comfy and cool. I bought some nice high waisted ones but I find they somehow make me look middle aged especially if I wear them in a dressy way. Any tips on making wide legged pants look a big younger on me i.e. how to dress them down a bit . . .


27 Sylvia

Very hip right now is to wear a crop top with them. Great with high waisted wide jeans. Or combine with a short funky jacket, like a leather or denim.


28 Sushma

Hi Sylvia,

New to your site. Help me to match my sandals and shoes with my jeans and long skirts. Suggestions appreciated.


29 Sylvia

Hi Sushma. Welcome! I don’t give individual advice (except in my style course) but suggest you browse through the what I wore section for inspiration as I frequently have worn both wide pants and long skirts. https://40plusstyle.com/category/style-inspiration-tips-for-women-over-40/what-i-wore-outfit-of-the-day/


30 Rochelle Munar

im from the philippines and I’d like to ask if what kind of top should I wear with my palazzo pants.. im a bit confused with what to pair im 5’2 and 117lbs and has quite big ars.. Your suggestion will be a great help to me.. thank u!


31 Sylvia

Just wear any top that you can tuck into your pants. A form fitting top is usually best. You may like the image of Victoria Beckum wearing wider pants on this page https://40plusstyle.com/how-to-dress-when-you-are-short-petite/


32 Carito

Wow! I just discovered your blog and I love it!

Thanks for the very well explained ways of how to wear the palazzo trousers. And all your outfits were on point! keep up the great work with your website!

visit mine: http://www.herlifebites.com



33 Sherry Edwards

Yes, I do wear wide-legged pants but they are not my favourite go to pants. I prefer them in lighter weight material and for more dressy occasions. I do not like them for driving either. I don’t like that during the winter the cold goes up the pant legs. Also, because they need to be worn more on the long side they always get dirty and salty so quickly. They are don’t work well for me at work. However, I really like them during the summer in light weight material that blows in the breeze.


34 Eki

Hi there,
I would to know if i could wear these pants in this link http://www.ivyrevel.com/nl/collection/pollux-pants-peach/A000424-118.html
I am a 169cm tall girl and i weigh about 63kg i have long legs.
Would these pants fit me nice and to my body type?


35 Sylvia

Yes, if you combine with a short top.


36 Flo Schmidt

Thank you. These tips are super helpful. I get my measurements taken by a seamstress once in a while (you know, just in case I gain or lose a few extra inches). That way I increase my chances of getting the correct clothing size, especially when it comes to pants or jeans. For me, personally, buying pants or jeans online is rather tricky because there’s no universal size chart that companies follow. So each purchase is a risk. That’s why I try to buy two sizes (if shipping is free) so I can just return what doesn’t fit me.


37 Sylvia

Good strategy Flo! Great to read that these tips were helpful.


38 Flo Schmidt

Oh, and just to add to my previous comment, I think women should also try to learn how to navigate their way around the “complex” world of jeans sizes. This article (https://www.blitzresults.com/en/pants-size/), in particular, discusses how various sizing systems work for bottoms like pants and jeans. There are also conversion tables for US, EU, UK sizes, etc. which will make shopping for pants easier.


39 kirsten

I’m looking for the best shape jeans/ pants for my large legs. I’m 5’3″, size 12 short or petite, apparently according to Macy’s there’s a difference. Are straight legged jeans a better look?


40 Sylvia

straight jeans would work well. Slight bootcuts would work well too, especially if you wear a bit of a heel underneath and the jeans are hemmed almost to the ground.


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