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 in wide leg pants | 40plusstyle.com

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

lengthening your legs with wide leg pants | 40plusstyle.com

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.

Paige manhattan bootcut jeans | 40plusstyle.com

Paige bootcut jeans

wide leg pants outfit idea | 40plusstyle.com

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.

tucked in top and pants | 40plusstyle.com

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).

NYDJ wide leg trousers | 40plusstyle.com

NYDJ wide leg trousers

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

Black wide leg linen pants | 40plusstyle.com

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

linen wide black pants for summer | 40plusstyle.com

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

Sylvia wearing white flared pants | 40plusstyle.com

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.

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

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 blouse and pants | 40plusstyle.com

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.

Here is a similar pair of wide leg pants and collared shirt.

Wide cropped pants are also popular right now

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

Cropped pants can be a great option for summer as they are cooler than full-length pants, and show off a little ankle. You can also wear in winter with booties.

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.

Above 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 Wit & Wisdom.

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.

Faherty paperbag waist linen chambray pants | 40plusstyle.com

Faherty paperbag waist linen chambray pants

Tight upper pantssmall flare

Good if you have skinny legs. Not so good if you have saddle bags.

FRAME flare jeans | 40plusstyle.com

FRAME flare jeans

Standard legwide flare

Good to hide thicker thighs, perhaps if you have a pear-shaped figure.

Lyseè ponte pants | 40plusstyle.com

Lyseè ponte pants

Palazzo pants

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.

Chelsea28 pleated pants | 40plusstyle.com

Chelsea28 pleated pants

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.

Loveappella wide leg crop pants | 40plusstyle.com

Loveappella wide leg crop pants

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.

Topshop twill suit trousers | 40plusstyle.com

Topshop twill suit trousers

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.

Samsøe Samsøe belted trousers | 40plusstyle.com

Samsøe Samsøe belted trousers

Plus size wide leg pants

There are fantastic options for all sizes when it comes to wide-legged pants.

Halogen belted crop wide leg pants | 40plusstyle.com

Halogen belted crop wide leg 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.

Halogen wide leg crop pants | 40plusstyle.com

Halogen wide leg crop pants

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.

VERO MODA paperbag waist wide leg crop pants | 40plusstyle.com

VERO MODA paperbag waist wide leg crop pants

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.

UGG wide leg lounge pants | 40plusstyle.com

UGG wide leg lounge pants

You will find more stay-at-home outfit options in this article on the best loungewear for women over 40.

Printed pants

A pair of printed pants adds a fun element to your outfit. You could style with a sweater for cooler weather or with a tank top and sandals for summer.

Also, take a look at how to wear printed pants.

Chaus side tie wide leg pants | 40plusstyle.com

Chaus side tie wide leg pants

Drawstring pants

For extra comfort, without losing any style, you could opt for a pair of drawstring pants to fit your tummy.

Club Monaco paperbag waist wide leg crop pants | 40plusstyle.com

Club Monaco paperbag waist wide leg crop pants

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

Wearing a printed blouse with a pair of wide legged pants | 40plusstyle.com

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.

Julie looks fabulous in her statement-making pink pants. She tucks in her top for a flattering effect.

Recreate her outfit with this similar pair of wide leg pants, printed blouse, sneakers and crossbody bag.

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.

Below are more tops to tuck into your wide-legged pants.

tops to wear with wide leg pants | 40plusstyle.com

Milumia self tie blouseVince band collared silk blouseba&sh ruffle trim cotton blouseFRAME stripe sweater crop

How to wear wide legged pants – outerwear for wide leg pants

Long coat, classic t-shirt, white jeans and sneakers | 40plusstyle.com

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.

Oxana (above) keeps her look streamlined with a long-open coat worn over her wide-legged pants. You can also go for shorter styles which end at the waist or hips.

Steal her look with this similar pair of white jeans, tee, coat, sneakers, necklace and sunglasses.

jackets to wear with wide leg pants | 40plusstyle.com

Ming Wang buckle waist knit blazerBoden velvet blazerBoden wool blend tie wast jacketBLANKNYC moto jacket with faux fur trim

Shoes to wear with your wide-legged pants

Wide leg jeans, blazer, mock neck blouse and loafers | 40plusstyle.com

You’ll find that plenty of shoe styles go with your wide-legged pants. You’ll want to make sure, however, that your shoes don’t get lost among your outfit. Boots and platform styles can be good choices.

Sandra (above) makes sure her shoes make as big an impact as her pants by choosing a leopard print style to match her belt.

Check out these similar jeans, blouse, blazer, loafers and belt.

shoes to wear with wide leg pants | 40plusstyle.com

Marc Fisher LTD square toe loaferNaturalizer slingback pumpSanctuary asymmetrical sandalBella Vita bootie

Accessories for your wide-legged pants outfits

Wide legged pants: how to wear them in 2020 and where to buy the best ones | 40plusstyle.com

Greetje (above) loos fabulous by picking up the color of the check in her pants with her accessories.

Check out these wide leg pants that you can wear with this similar silk blouse, pumps, bag, belt and necklace.

acccessories to wear with wide leg pants | 40plusstyle.com

COACH leather bucket bagFRAME mini crossbody bagYOUR SMILE silk printed scarfJenny Bird pendant collar necklaceKendra Scott hoop earringsNordstrom teardrop earrings

See how you can put together your wide legged pants outfits in a capsule below. You’ll see you could easily mix and match these outfits to provide countless different looks.

wide leg pants capsule wardrobe | 40plusstyle.com

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

Wear long wide leg pants and heels to create a lengthening effect | 40plusstyle.com

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.

Michelle (above) makes sure her legs look as if they go on forever by tucking in her top.

Steal her look with this similar pair of pants, blouse, sandals and belt.

2. Define your waist

Defining your waist with a belted, flared pants | 40plusstyle.com

Wide pants look particularly good if you define your waist with a belt.

Georgette looks amazing in her purple high-waisted pants and shows how you can tuck in your sweater for a flattering effect.

Recreate her outfit with these similar wide leg pants, sweater, pumps and earrings.

3. Balance your look

Balancing your look with a slim fitting top and wide legged pants | 40plusstyle.com

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.

Suzie (above) opts for a slim fitting black top with her wide pants to make sure her slim figure isn’t overwhelmed.

Get her look with this similar pair of pants, long sleeve top, booties, belt, necklace, scarf and sunglasses.

4. Opt for a classic look

Wearing a pair of flared pants for a classic, timeless look | 40plusstyle.com

Flared pants can give you a very classic, timeless look, so will look great with a, tucked in, well-fitted shirt.

Helen (above) wears a classic pair of white pants, and styles wonderfully with an unexpected color combination of gray, pink, sage green and leopard print.

Check out these similar wide leg pants, shirt, blazer, pumps and handbag.

For more timeless tips look at this style guide and capsule wardrobe for the classic style personality.

5. Break the rules

Combining short dresses or wider tops with wide leg pants | 40plusstyle.com

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 shirt dress and wide pants. Since this dress 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.

Recreate her outfit with these similar cropped pants, shirt dress, sneakers, necklace and earrings.

6. What if you are petite?

White top with green pants and silver shoes | 40plusstyle.com

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.

Monika (above) tucks her top in, and opts for a lovely color combination of green, white and silver. The pointed toes of her mules help to give the illusion of extra height.

You can get her wide leg pants from Boden and pair with this similar top and mules.

More tips here on how to dress if you are petite.

7. For the pear shape

Wearing a pair of wide legged pants and check blazer | 40plusstyle.com

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.

Sara (above) wears an outfit which works for the pear or the apple. Her blazer skims over her tips meaning her wide pants don’t add unwanted width.

Check out this similar blazer, pants, sneakers and crossbody bag.

8. For longer legs

Wearing heels with your pants to elongate your legs | 40plusstyle.com

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.

Get her look with this similar sweater, wide leg trousers, pumps and necklace.

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?

Continue reading:

  1. How To Wear Jeans Over 40 – Guidelines And Lots Of Ideas
  2. How To Wear Capris And Cropped Pants – An Extensive Guide!
  3. The Best Fitting Jeans For Women: Choose The Best Jeans For Your Body Type

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Wide legged pants: how to wear them in 2020 and where to buy the best ones | 40plusstyle.com

Feature image by Greetje

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