Wide legged pants are definitely back on trend this 2020 season, especially wide jeans. In this article, you will find plenty of tips on how to wear wide leg pants with some fabulous wide leg pants outfit inspiration.
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?
Katharine Hepburn is probably the most famous wide-leg pants wearer from the golden age of Hollywood.
They certainly gave her an air of confident nonchalance and could do the same for you. Nowadays, they are the pants style of choice for Meghan Markle, Milla Jovovich, Victoria Beckham and Amal Clooney.
Let’s look at some reasons why wide leg pants can be a very flattering option to wear for many women as well as some of my own favorite wide leg pants outfits:
#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 and make sure your pants or jeans almost touch the ground.
Have a look at how I wore my boot leg jeans with heels (above). My legs look a mile long in this image. This outfit would have been even better if my pants had a higher rise.
I love the bootcut jeans from Paige below – they are high quality, have a good stretch and are very flattering.
This elongating effect would have worked with my other wide leg pants too (above) that are wide all over but I hemmed these for flatter shoes.
Too much of the heels are showing which hampers the lengthening effect a bit.
Above 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
I love this pair of pleated wide leg pants from NYDJ (below).
For more inspiration, read our article on what shoes to wear with different styles of pants.
#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.
Try a more relaxed wide leg pants style like the black linen pants I’m wearing above.
Here is a similar pair of linen pants from Vince Camuto.
These kind of pants are fabulous for traveling when we’re able to do so once more (I’m here in front of the oracle of Delphi in Greece).
If your belly is too big, then you may like to wear your wide pants with a long (sleeveless) vest that will do a great job of camouflaging the belly.
Also 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. But they’re also a versatile option for winter and fall (simply change your sandals for ankle booties). They are just super comfortable to wear!
Below is an example of how to wear wide legged pants with a shorter top that is semi-tight in the waist.
#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.
Wide pants are definitely the most challenging to wear for apple shapes, but they may 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
Victoria Beckham is among the many celebrities embracing the wide legged pants trend. I can’t remember the last time I saw a photo of her wearing skinnies.
Wide cropped pants are also popular right now
Cropped pants can be a great option for summer as they are cooler than full-length pants, and show off a little ankle.
With this type of pants it’s even more important to tuck your tops in as you want to create a one third / two third silhouette OR to wear a cropped top (just make sure your pants are high-waisted).
The shorter your legs are proportionally to the rest of your body, the more important this is to create a flattering look.
Greetje (above) looks fabulous in her cropped pants which she wears with block heels.
Below is another example of how I wore wide leg cropped pants with a tucked in top.
This cropped length is quite short for my proportionally short legs, so tucking in is essential and a short heel benefits this look also.
Here is a similar pair of cropped wide leg pants from NYDJ.
More on the rule of thirds and how to wear capris here.
Types of wide leg pants
Not all wide legged pants are the same shape and style. Below are the styles to look out for to create the most flattering outfit for you.
High waist – full flare
Good if you want to hide a muffin top or want to create an hourglass figure as this style accentuates the waist.
Tight upper pants – small flare
Good if you have skinny legs. Not so good if you have saddle bags.
Standard leg – wide flare
Good to hide thicker thighs, perhaps if you have a pear-shaped figure.
Very wide pants all over and good for tall women. Short or bulky women, be careful with this style! Palazzo pants can be a great option for summer.
Cropped wide pants
Best to wear with your top tucked in so that you create a more flattering silhouette using the rule of thirds. A good choice for summer or for traveling.
Prefer jeans? Check out the best jeans for women over 40
Black high waisted trousers
Black pants will never go out of style. Black, wide legged pants are particularly good for the pear shape, as you can use a darker shade on your bottom half to draw attention away from your hips and thighs.
High waisted wide leg pants
Look for high waisted styles if you want to make your legs look longer. A particularly good style if you have a long torso that you want to balance out.
Plus size wide leg pants
There are fantastic options for all sizes when it comes to wide-legged pants.
Petite wide leg trousers
While you may think that wide-legged pants would be a no-no if you are petite as they could make you look wider rather than taller, they are actually very flattering.
They can make your legs look longer and you look taller, particularly if you wear a high heel underneath them.
There are more tips here on how to dress when you are petite.
Wide leg dress pants
A pair of wide-legged pants can be a beautiful option for both day and night. If you have a formal event or party, or a dinner, to attend, you could wear a pair of wide-legged pants rather than choosing a dress.
Wide leisure pants
As many of us are at home more at the moment, you may wish to choose a pair of wide-legged pants for lounging.
You will find more stay-at-home outfit options in this article on the best loungewear for women over 40.
For summer, how about a cropped pants-skirt hybrid such as a pair of culottes. This style is particularly on trend right now and would look fabulous with wedge-heel sandals for warmer weather.
For extra comfort, without losing any style, you could opt for a pair of drawstring pants to fit your tummy.
There are more tips on the best pants and skirts to fit and hide a belly in this article.
What to wear with wide legged pants – tops for wide-legged pants
Now that you’ve chosen your favorite pair of wide-legged pants, what should you wear with them?
As mentioned before, you’ll want to make sure that you either tuck in your tops OR wear wide pants with short tops that end at the waist or have a tie at the waist. That will improve your silhouette and create a really flattering overall look with wide pants.
If your tops are too long or have no structure, 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.
Monika (above) tucks her top in, and opts for a lovely color combination of green, white and silver.
Below are more tops to tuck into your wide-legged pants.
How to wear wide legged pants – outerwear for wide leg pants
It’s easier to work out how to style tops when you are wearing wide-legged pants as the most flattering way to style them is to tuck your top into your pants so that your look is balanced and your legs look long.
Sweaters can be harder to tuck in, although there is a trend currently for tucking the front of your sweater into your jeans or pants.
This can, however, add unwanted bulk at your tummy area.
You could also look at fitted sweaters which will give balance and will be possible to tuck in, at belted sweaters so you don’t loose your waistline and at cropped sweaters.
Just make sure you opt for a pair of high-waisted wide-legged pants if you opt for a cropped option and you don’t want to flash your tummy.
Sarah (above) shows that you can achieve a flattering look by tucking in your top, but wearing a blazer unbuttoned over the top.
Some additional tips on how to wear wide pants
Now that I’ve taken a look at some of the different styles of wide-legged pants as well as some of my favorites in stores now, here are some extra tips to think about when choosing a pair of wide legged pants.
1. Buy your wide-legged pants long
I don’t like the look of flared pants that are too short. Especially if you want to create a lengthening effect for your legs, it’s nice when your pants hide your high heels.
Karen (above) illustrates how you can lengthen your legs by choosing to wear her wide legged pants with heels. She creates an even more lengthening effect by choosing shoes in the same color as her pants.
2. Define your waist
Wide pants look particularly good if you define your waist with a belt.
Georgette (above) opts for a pretty pink belted pair. She adds balance to her outfit by choosing a tighter blouse with on-trend puffed shoulders.
3. Balance your look
To get a balanced silhouette wear something slim fitting on top. You’ll see most of the styles featured here include a more fitted top, or tops which are tucked in at the waist.
Patricia (above) keeps her look simple, yet ultra-stylish, with a slim tank top tucked into her pants. She lengthens her legs with wedge sandals.
4. Opt for a classic look
Flared pants can give you a very classic, timeless look, so will look great with a, tucked in, well-fitted shirt.
For more timeless tips look at this style guide and capsule wardrobe for the classic style personality.
5. Break the rules
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 off, but I personally like the silhouette it creates.
And when you do pull it off as Deborah does, it’s magic!
Deborah (above) chooses a wide top and wide pants. Since this top has an asymmetric hemline, this counter acts the fact that the top may be too long and too wide. It’s the perfect example of how you play with structure and balance in different ways and create an outfit that’s different and really works.
6. What if you are petite?
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.
Helen (above) wears a pair of pants which are relatively slim, but with a kick-flare at the hem.
More tips here on how to dress if you are petite.
7. For the pear shape
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.
8. For longer legs
Want even longer legs? Try flared pants with vertical stripes, a center crease. Or wear your pants with heels!
Sally (above) wears a pair of pants with a crease and adds extra length with her fabulous red heels.
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.
How do you wear wide pants? Have you found these tips on how to wear wide leg pants useful?
- How To Wear Jeans Over 40 – Guidelines And Lots Of Ideas
- How To Wear Capris And Cropped Pants – An Extensive Guide!
- The Best Fitting Jeans For Women: Choose The Best Jeans For Your Body Type
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Feature image by Deborah
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