8 Ways to Try the Wide-Leg Pants Trend

June 25, 2018 by Tiffany Tse

So long, skinny jeans. This season’s most popular pants have both flare (as in supersized silhouettes) and flair (a hint of sartorial drama). The key to mastering the trend lies in finding the right proportions. Read on for eight outfit ideas for wide-leg pants, incorporating everything from how to wear culottes to how to wear palazzo pants.

How to Wear Wide-Leg Pants

JACKET: LOVERS + FRIENDS, TOP: DEREK LAM 10 CROSBY, PANTS: ALEXIS, BAG: LIEBESKIND

Here’s an easy styling trick for pulling off a wide-leg pants outfit: aim for a monochrome look on top and bottom, like a silk tank top tucked into matching or similarly colored trousers. The unbroken line of color gives the impression of height and makes floor-grazing pants instantly wearable. A boxy, textured jacket and structured clutch offer the perfect foil to these fluid separates.

How to Wear Culottes

VEST: VINCE, TOP: KATE SPADE NEW YORK, PANTS: NICHOLAS, EARRINGS: ELLA CARTER

Culottes, which usually hits at your knee or calf, is one of the most wearable trends for the office. If you’re wondering how to wear culottes to work, ignore loud, vacation-ready prints and pick understated pinstripes or solid colors. Because they’re the most abbreviated version of wide-leg trousers, culottes also tend to be a flattering wide-leg option for petite or shorter women. For tops to wear with culottes, look for fitted vests, sleek blouses, and anything that falls right above your hips to avoid a wider-looking mid-section.

How to Wear Palazzo Pants

TOP: SHOSHANNA, PANTS: NICHOLAS, SUNGLASSES: BALENCIAGA, EARRINGS: BOUNKIT

Palazzo pants are making a triumphant return from the ‘60s. Usually crafted from forgiving silk, which skims over your hips and thighs, these elegant-looking slacks are so exaggerated they’re sometimes mistaken for maxi skirts (the added volume on bottom does wonders for balancing out pear-shaped figures!). Pair these statement-making pants with a simple, solid-colored top and minimal accessories to keep the focus on the fun print.

How to Wear Flare Jeans

JACKET: REBECCA MINKOFF, SWEATER: THEORY, JEANS: CITIZENS OF HUMANITY, EARRINGS: SARAH MAGID

Flare jeans are back and better than ever. Style these fluted, high-waisted jeans with a snug turtleneck and fitted moto leather jacket. This trio works well for hourglass figures who hope to accentuate their smaller waistline.

How to Wear Wide-Leg Cropped Pants

VEST: MARISSA WEBB, SWEATER: WHITE + WARREN, PANTS: TARA JARMON, BAG: CLARE V.

The cropped iteration of this trend works particularly well if you’re rocking a shorter stature. Look for a pair that sits higher on your hips to elongate your legs and that hits right above your ankle bone. Remember that a hint of skin will create the illusion of height. The cropped look also means you can get away with wearing longer hemlines on top without appearing as if you’re drowning in your outfit.

How to Wear Pleated Wide-Leg Pants

TOP: ELIZABETH AND JAMES, PANTS: ELIZABETH AND JAMES, BAG: LOEFFLER RANDALL, NECKLACE: ALEXIS BITTAR

If floral palazzos feel a tad too retro for your style, we suggest opting for its more current, equally comfortable cousin—a loose, wide-leg version with narrow knife pleats. While a palazzo pant with crop top combo works best for petite, short, and pear-shaped bodies, athletic or rectangular shapes can try longer tunics or shirt dresses. Accent the look with a straw purse and tasseled necklace for a modern bohemian vibe.

How to Wear Bell-Bottoms

TOP: A.L.C., PANTS: KEEPSAKE, BAG: ZAC ZAC POSEN, RING: SARAH MAGID

Bell-bottoms are no longer a term reserved for the flared, embroidered jeans that were so ubiquitous in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Today’s take is decidedly more stylish—even sexy—and a popular choice among daring street style dressers. Pair your bell-bottoms with a sleek top to showcase the dramatic shape of the pants, and add some edge to the look through your accessories.

How to Wear Pajama Pants

BLAZER: DEREK LAM 10 CROSBY, TOP: EQUIPMENT, PANTS: SCOTCH & SODA, WATCH: SHINOLA

Thanks to this season’s reworked and elevated pajama pants, you’re allowed to wear your PJs in public. But to make sure your sleepwear look is stylish (never sloppy), temper its relaxed silhouette with structured pieces and polished elements, like a professional-looking peplum blazer, button-down blouse, and business-like watch.

The wide-leg pants trend may seem intimidating (especially if you’re on the shorter side), but the secret to pulling it off with confidence is simply in the way you style them.