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How to Wear Wide Leg Pants

How to Wear Wide Leg Pants

Let’s talk about how to wear wide leg pants.

Wide-leg, lightweight pants are a fabulous option in the summer if you want an alternative to shorts or capris.

BUT, they are one of the tricker bottoms to wear because the success of the look is dependent on balancing proportions.

You can’t just throw on any top. 

So today, I’m breaking down how to wear wide leg pants, with three outfits that can take you pretty much anywhere this summer. 

How to Wear Wide Leg Pants

High-Waisted Linen-Blend Wide-Leg Pants in black

Wide Leg Linen Pants, $40 

First, let’s talk about what to look for in the pants 

Our featured pants are from Old Navy. They are a Reader Favorite from the past few weeks, so I thought it would be helpful to use them.

They are available in regular, tall and petite, from XS – 4X, in four colorsRegular price is $39.99 with 30% off at checkout. 

Like many wide leg pants, these are high waisted.

That’s important to note because it comes into play with the featured tops. 

And they are going to skim your ankles.

Generally, the area around the top of your ankle to the bottom of your calf is the ideal spot for your hem to stop when wearing a summer style pant.

Once you start cutting through the calf, you enter capri territory, and we all know how I feel about that.

Depending on your frame, the width of the pant may be overwhelming.

If that happens, remember, you can have these easily altered by having some of the fullness taken out of the leg. 

Or you can swap them with a slimmer leg pant, like these drawstring bottoms from J.Crew on sale for $65

So how are we wearing these? 

The outfits below are perfect for summer, dressed up or down.

As always, you can shop this post full of practical recommendations OR use it as inspiration so you can see how the components work together and pull from your own closet. 

Related: Why I Hate Capris and What to Wear Instead

how to wear wide leg pants

 

Key Piece: Wide Leg Pants, $40 | Outfit 1: T-Shirt, $68 |Birkenstocks, $170 | Necklace, $175 | Knotted Handbag, $34 | Outfit 2: Shirred Sleeveless Top, $68 | Strappy Sandals, $60 | Crossbody Bag, $40 | Hoop Earrings | Outfit 3: Boatneck Tank, $35 | Denim Jacket, $118 | Pointed Toe Mule, $90 | Crossbody Bag, $78 

Boxy

Black Wide Leg pants, white tee, black and gold necklace, black knotted handbag, and black birkenstocks

T-Shirt, $68 | Birkenstocks, $170 |  Necklace, $175 | Knotted Handbag, $34 

For a laid-back casual look, throw on a boxy white tee. 

Yes, boxy. 

You want this to sit just slightly over your waistband.

If it’s a little long, you can half tuck, but the idea here is that because of the high-waisted cut of the pants, you can wear a shorter top and create a fun silhouette while maintaining the length of your legs. 

Another top option that would work well and is under $25 is this one from the Banana Republic. They call it “cropped,” but it’s not; it’s just not long.

You can see the model has it tucked.

BUT if you don’t like half-tucking, you can wear this out and get the same effect. 

To add some polished I added this gorgeous statement necklace.

Then, a pair of chunky, flat sandals because you can pull them off with a wide pant leg. It appears that Hell has frozen over because I continue to say things like, “I like these Birkenstocks.

The oversized gold buckle is funky in a good way. 

And for a bag, we’re playing with texture and using this inexpensive woven bag from Amazon inspired by the Bottega Veneta Mini Jodie, but at a fraction of the price. 

 Dressed Up

black wide leg pants, floral shirred tank, gold hoops, cream colored crossbody, cream colored strappy sandals

 

Shirred Sleeveless Top, $68 | Strappy Sandals, $60 | Crossbody Bag, $40 | Hoop Earrings, $14 

I love this next look, featuring a floral sleeveless top from Treasure & Bond. The color combination is beautiful, mixing pale blue, gold, black, and ivory. It works wonderfully with the bottoms. 

Available at Nordstrom in sizes XXS – XXL (16)

You have many shoe options.

I’m showing these chunky strappy sandals by Dolce Vita 50% off at Nordstrom Rack. These are BIG shoes, so keep that in mind. I show a lot of conservative footwear, so spicing it up now and then is fun. 

Alternatively, you could wear these Marc Fisher heels if you ordered them last week

Round it out, a pretty ivory crossbody bag and my favorite go-to gold hoops both are affordable finds from Amazon. 

Layered

 

Black Wide Leg Pants, white tank, denim jacket, tan crossbody, and black and tan mules

 Boatneck Tank, $35 | Denim Jacket, $118 | Pointed Toe Mule, $90 | Crossbody Bag, $78 

Finally, a timeless look built with basics I know you already have. 

First this perfect boatneck tank from Banana Republic. The neckline is long and open, giving a lovely line to your shoulders, and the fit is on point. 

Next, throw on your favorite denim jacket. This one from J.Crew is wonderful. Available in sizes XXS – 3X.

I’m using these interesting mules from Nine West; they feel super high-end for under $100. The elegant pointed toe will help elongate your leg. Available in a few other colors, including solid black. 

And for a bag, I found this versatile convertible bag you can wear as a classic crossbody or around your waist. 

You can also use the woven clutch from the first outfit to dress up the look and add some texture. 

For another bit of inspiration, see these pants featured here with a long sleeve white blouse.

52 in 2022!

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How to Wear Wide Leg Pants

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Melissa Monaghan

Wednesday 20th of April 2022

Would you be able to provide more info about the tops in options 2 and 3? I’m wondering if they are best fully tucked or half tuck?

Also, have you ever considered showing the outfit ideas on a body, as well? Sometimes it helps to see that way, too. Just an idea.

Love your information and inspiration. Thanks!

Megan Kristel

Thursday 21st of April 2022

I know this is going to sound vague, but because everyone's body is different you really have to play with it to see what looks best on you. So tuck, half-tuck or leave out, the most important thing to remember is you want to make sure your leg is long.

And the only body type I can show these outfits on is me, which I do sometimes but I don't think it's helpful because I'm 5'10 so the fit on me is going to be really different than most of our readers. I'd have to work with a range of models and have clothes for each of them and we don't have anywhere near the bandwidth or budget for that.

Gretchen

Wednesday 20th of April 2022

Can a woven purse be paired with the Vince Camuto woven sandals?

Deanna

Wednesday 20th of April 2022

I am loving wide leg pants at the moment and am super happy to see these looks! I'm leaving for NYC in three weeks; am going to try these outfits for sure!

Beth Anderson

Thursday 25th of June 2020

Very helpful, thank you! I've been wanting to try out a wide leg pant for awhile, but definitely did not have the confidence. The advice on length and shoe, and how to balance the look is priceless.

Ivana JG

Thursday 25th of June 2020

I love this options! Wide legs are allways tricky to style for me and I like them as nice alternative to skinnies.

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