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Pants for a Full Mid Section

Today is for you if you are an apple shape or carry extra weight in your middle and struggle with pants.

Real quick, before we dive in, just a note.

I am uncomfortable discussing our bodies in terms of having to disguise or cover certain parts. In a perfect world, we don’t give a sh*t about our bellies.

For many/most of us, though, we do care.

We don’t like them, wish we didn’t have them, and struggle to dress them.

I’m right there with you, trying to be grateful for my body and embracing what it is while deconstructing the last 40 years of toxic media messaging about what I’m “supposed” to look like, but also trying to get in good shape and not feeling guilty about all of it.

It’s all so complicated.

But here’s the deal: when you put something on your body that fits well, intrinsically, you start to feel better, which can change your entire outlook.

I consider a good fit a confidence booster, and we can all use more of that.

And there is a secret style of pants that works on many body types but is especially helpful if you are apple-shaped OR have a full midsection, and that is the flat front, elastic back pant.

This is a particular cut.

Don’t confuse these with a flat front pull-on pant – also an excellent option for many body types, but the actual elastic waist back is what gives such a good fit.

Elastic Back Pants for Apple Shaped Bodies

(1)Banana Republic Factory, $45, (2) J.Crew Factory, $58.50, (3) Gap Factory, $24

You want to look for pants that are either pull on or have a side zipper so you get a flat front, with a small elastic bunch waist at the back.

This detail is crucial because it (1) helps minimize bulk around the waist and belly, and (2) expands just enough to fit without being too full.

I can’t explain why all today’s options are from various factory stores. Note that factory stores are not outlets; the merchandise is manufactured explicitly for the store. They tend to be updated items at lower prices than the flagship brand.

And, to be honest, the price points make my head explode because you are getting quality, style, fit, AND INCLUSIVE SIZING for what comes down to a few dollars.

It boggles my mind why better brands can’t offer petite, tall, more plus sizes, but I digress.

So here are your options.

Hayden Taper Pant

These Banana Republic Factory pants were the cornerstone of our September Capsule. They are tremendous, and only $45.

Available in chocolate, black, navy and dark grey in sizes in regular, tall and petite in 0 – 20.

Note, these have a tappered leg so the are narrow on your calf.


Hayden Taper Pant

Banana Republic Factory


Elastic Back Straight Leg Pant

Next, we have the elastic back straight leg pant from J.Crew Factory.

These are long-time reader favorites and come in and out of inventory.

Currently they are available in black, in regular and petite in sizes 00 – 24 for just under $60.

They have a straight leg, rather than a tappered leg like the BRF option above.

You can see me in them here. I’ve worn the with every kind of shoe from a pump, to a loafer, to a sneaker.


Elastic Waist Straight Leg Pant

J.Crew Factory


Crepe Easy Pants

Finally, we have this more relaxed, casual pair from Gap Factory for only $25.

Available in black or olive, in XXS – XXL in regular, tall and petite.


Easy Crepe Pants

Gap Factory


Related Posts

 Join Megan Kristel for a comprehensive, 3 hour long, LIVE Virtual Workshop sharing personal style and shopping tips for women over 40 on March 31, 2023.


Megan Kristel

Megan Kristel is an entrepreneur, working mom, and former personal stylist. Tired of the one-dimensional portrayal of women online, she founded The Well Dressed Life as a resource for other professional women.

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Saturday 30th of September 2023

Hey you! Long time, no talk. Love your WDL. I just bought the BR Hayden pants and of course since I am short they need to be altered. Should they be taken up to just above the ankle? Sometimes I worry that being so short when they are that length they don’t look right. Thanks!


Thursday 28th of September 2023

I always use your site as a guide for shopping, but in this case, the only price that was in line with your post was the JCrew site. Both other websites' prices were higher. So I'm confused. Do I have to join something for Banana Republic ($54 instead of $45) and Gap Factory ($35) Thanks

Megan Kristel

Friday 29th of September 2023

Prices change all the time. Our prices align with the retail price when we go live. But retailers raise and lower their costs almost weekly, so there will be some discrepancies if you're not reading in real-time. In this case, you're commenting a week after the post was published, so promotions end, etc. That's why I say things like, "Currently the price is," or "Today, the price is"


Sunday 24th of September 2023

The hayden pants come with the pockets sewn shut!

Megan Kristel

Sunday 24th of September 2023

Right. It helps the pants keep their shape until someone buys them. You just have to open them when you wear them. Not a big deal


Thursday 21st of September 2023

I appreciate the care you take when discussing bodies. The fact is, wearing pants when you have a belly can be tough! You don't want to create bulging at the waist but if they aren't tight enough, pants fall down. Thanks for this roundup!


Wednesday 20th of September 2023

Unfortunately, none in my size, but I wanted you to know how much I appreciate the effort! No one else does this re: fit and size inclusiveness. Thank you!

Karen Larson

Wednesday 20th of September 2023

I will not buy pants without pockets, but like another poster mentioned, the side pockets bulge on me, so I’m always looking for top entry pockets to avoid the bulge. I'd love some suggestions for pants with top entry pockets.


Wednesday 20th of September 2023

Thank you for explaining the difference between a factory store and an outlet. I'm a newer reader and user and didn't understand that.

And thank you for ALL your efforts to help us look our best each and every day. I've truly been excited about getting dressed again since I found you and your posts!


Wednesday 20th of September 2023

I’d love to buy the J. Crew pants, but the inseam is only 26” and at 5’ 8” I’m afraid they would look like capris. The photos of you wearing them look great, so I assume they are sometimes offered in a tall?

Terri Vitti

Wednesday 20th of September 2023

Thank you for this post. I also find that chicos & Talbots have a great plan options for all body types


Wednesday 20th of September 2023

I am wondering why you would suggest pants that have the side entry pockets. I find those add bulk to my hips that I don’t need. I am always looking for the top entry pockets instead. Thanks!!

Megan Kristel

Wednesday 20th of September 2023

Because a lot of women want pockets and if you don't like them you can just have them removed.


Wednesday 20th of September 2023

Thank you for this post! I have been wearing the BRF Hayden pants for the last couple of years, and LOVE them. I have probably worn them once a week during the school year and they wash well! Im glad to know of a couple others to try. Hopefully "someday" I'll take off 30 lbs and not have to worry so much. I'd love a post about what shirts work well with a belly without looking pregnant!