Wide legged pants are definitely back on trend this 2019 season, especially wide jeans. Here are plenty of tips on how to wear wide legged pants.
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.
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 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. This outfit would have been even better if my pants had a higher rise.
I love the bootcut jeans from Paige below – it is high quality, has a good stretch and very flattering.
This would have worked with my other wide leg pants too (below) 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.
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
I love this pair of pleated wide leg pants from Endless Rose.
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 below.
These kind of pants are fabulous for traveling (I’m here in front of the oracle of Delphi in Greece).
Here is a similar pair of linen pants from Vince Camuto.
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. 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.
What to wear with wide legged pants – Tops for wide-legged pants
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.
Michelle (above) adds a pop of pink to her one-color outfit.
How to wear wide legged pants – Sweaters 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.
#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.
Wide cropped pants are also popular right now
With this type of pant 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.
More on the rule of thirds and how to wear capris here.
Below is Greetje with ingenious wide pants that you can wear both long and cropped.
Even though her top is wide, it’s short enough to still create a fabulous silhouette. Even with her cropped pants.
Greetje can do this as her legs are long so her top doesn’t to be tucked in or be super short. If you’re shorter you’ll need to work with proportions that work for you.
The shorter your legs are proportionally to the rest of your body, the more important this is to create a flattering look.
Here 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.
Types of wide leg pants
Not all wide legged pants are the same shape and style. Here 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 it 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.
Palazzo pants: very wide pants all over and good for tall women. Short or bulky women, be careful with this style!
Cropped wide pants
Best to wear with your top tucked in so that you create a more flattering silhouette using the rule of thirds.
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.
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. It’s nice when your pants hide your high heels.
Fiona (above) makes sure her pants almost cover her feet.
2. Define your waist
Wide pants look particularly good if you define your waist with a belt.
Greetje (above) wears a contrasting belt with her navy and green outfit.
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.
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.
Oxana (below) wears her wide-legged pants with tucked in plaid shirt and tops it with a moto jacket.
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.
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.
More tips here on how to dress if you are petite.
Oxana (above) wears her cropped pants with booties.
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.
Wear them with heels!
For these jeans and other favorite brands, visit how to wear jeans over 40.
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?
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Feature image by Fiona
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