Style

A Cool New Shape of Pants

Wide Leg Pants

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a basic everyday uniform, but I still love knowing about seasonal trends. It’s fun to spot them around town and on Instagram. (It’s like when you learn a new vocab word and suddenly everyone is saying it.) One style that’s feeling really fresh right now is wide-leg pants. They have such a great silhouette and casual vibe. Here are some pretty ones…

Wide Leg Pants

Our favorite versions out there right now: sailor, chinos, jeans, poplin and canvas.

Thoughts? Would (or do) you wear this look? I really love it and might break out of my rut for it. :)

P.S. A French bra trick, and hoop earrings.

(Top photo of Virginia Calderon/Instagram. Other photos from Ann Kim, Lisa Says Gah, Madewell, Hale Boyd, Hannah Henderson by Lou Mora, Jeannette Lee and Jesse Kamm. Photo collage by Rachel Ball for Cup of Jo. )

  1. Morgan says...

    Hi,

    I love love love your shoes. Where can I get a pair?

    Thanks!
    -M

  2. I am a fan of wide leg but I’m short so I always have to have them hemmed. But I have a pair of wide legs that are short and I love them. Comfortable and stylish all by themselves.

  3. This has been my favourite pants shape for some time now, and I must say Jesse Kamm’s Sailor Pants is the best of all!

  4. Lauren says...

    I’m a convert. Theyre so comfortable and breathable for an Arizona summer. It’s nice to have the option of having some coverage but still having breathability. And much classier than booty shorts! And for those who are worried they only look good on skinny, tall people… I’m short and have wide hips and think they’re super flattering on me! You have to find the right pair that fits your body. They give you the illusion of a tiny waist!

  5. Roxana says...

    I love this look! In fact, I am very proud of myself because I found a pair of pants this cut last spring. I bought ’em and I wore them last summer. Probably the one and only time I’ve ever been ahead of the curve.

    Speaking of curves, I think this cut is particularly flattering if/when you’re a little curvier. I carry weight in my butt/thighs and have muscular legs (think soccer, even if I’d like to say ballet) and I like this look on me. I also think it’s classic.

    I just found-out I’m pregnant, though, so I won’t be springing for another pair anytime soon! :)

  6. Ana says...

    I love the look but they look hideous on me. I tried a denim pair in Zara and I couldn’t believe how unflattering they looked on me. That said; I believe if you’re thin or have a masculine frame, they must look amazing on you.
    Being a person who does not like wearing skinny jeans, I find myself limited to chinos and cigarette pants; I wish I could pull this look.

  7. Elisha says...

    Not a fan! Likely because I am 5’2” and just look frumpy in them. I’ve seen tall women really pull them off though!

  8. Karen T. says...

    So not a fan. I just don’t think they are flattering–I know I definitely couldn’t pull them off. But they do look comfy!! (And sometimes that’s all that matters, right?)

  9. Wish I could, but my short legs look awful in them. I am looking for a not too wide flare Jean.

  10. I love this style, but it’s sadly not flattering on curvy figures. At least we still have skinny jeans haha.

  11. Rachel K says...

    I love the look in the pictures above! Though I’m not sure how flattering they would be on me as I’m only 5’3″

  12. Peg says...

    Few people look great in these so that I think it will be a short-lived style. That being said, if you have the body for them and the money to spare it can be fun to indulge in the latest trend. You need a small waist and some height to pull them off. I don’t have either so no, I will not be buying a pair.

  13. I really love this look as an alternative to the skinny jean. I hope it sticks around for awhile ; ) I think it’s especially cute with a tee tucked in.

  14. These ladies look so lovely in them! I’m not sure how they would work on a petite frame. I also love following the trends, but try not to be too swayed to add to my minimalist wardrobe too soon. I did, however, just add a pair of flares… which brought me back!

    http://www.thewefiles.com

  15. I have yet to find a pair of these that look good on my short little legs. Any recos for short girls, please let me know.

    (P.S. Would love more posts like this geared toward specific body types. Specifically ones for petite + curvy girls. Just a suggestion!)

    • Rachael says...

      I’m 4’11” and pear-shaped, and I bought the Langford pants from Madewell–and love them! I mean, I honestly don’t think wide leg crops are the most flattering pants on any body type, BUT if you want to mix it up and try a different, fun silhouette, you just have to go for it! I did have them hemmed 2-3 inches (having them hit right at the ankle just looked awkward), and I wear them with a wedge heel and either a cropped or fitted top to really show off the shape of the pants. I think the key to pulling off any look is just to really own it :)

  16. Theresa says...

    I love wide leg pants! I’ve worn them my whole adult life, if in style or not! I just find them so comfortable.

  17. Tania says...

    I’ve been seeing cute girls all over DC in these pants, and I’m slowly warming to them. I’m definitely ready for some new pant leg silhouettes. I really love the Everlane pair you posted–I ordered them and hope they suit me. Thank you!

  18. Tessa says...

    I am shocked by all of the negative comments. I don’t see what they mean by camel toe, and what the heck is that supposed to mean, anyway? When did the female anatomy evolve to Barbie’s smooth plastic? It’s not like we go around pointing at men, sniggering “Elephant trunk!”. All of these women look just lovely. It’s a new style, nothing to be reviled. If anything is unforgiving, it’s skinny jeans on….anyone.

    • Rebekah says...

      Well, I don’t point and snigger, but I certainly don’t appreciate a visible “elephant trunk” as you say… :) Same for pants that emphasize the labia! Finding something inappropriate doesn’t mean I am somehow “body shaming.”

  19. L says...

    I would love these pants if only they didn’t make my butt look like a saggy mess!

  20. Mtn Momma says...

    They are so cute, and obvi look amaze on models…. but I am 5’9″ and I have a fit, strong, proportioned frame…. though I am not slender… and I don’t think I could pull these off. My derriere looks huuuuumongous in these styles and like I have a case of “hungry bum” where my tooshie looks like it’s trying to eat my pants.
    Overall opinion, excellent option for slender tall frames….. but not for me!!!

  21. Maywyn says...

    Love them! They remind me of Katherine Hepburn pants with a shorter hem. I like the leg room that doesn’t need adjusting when you sit down. They’re also cooler with a more elegant feel than a straight leg pant.

  22. heather says...

    I love a wide leg. As a woman with broad shoulders, they help balance my proportions. I don’t, however, love the ultra high rise pants. I think they’re so unflattering, and I can’t understand why everyone is into them! Even Taylor Swift – who rocks them and is very skinny – doesn’t look great in them, in my opinion.

  23. CaroCaro says...

    I tried these on about a week ago and like someone on IG said I felt more like a woman. I know it’s an odd comment, but the pants do make you feel more mature? IDK!

    I do wish there was some pics of it on fuller bodies. We are not all 100lbs with 5.6″ frames.

    I love Esby apparel brand, they target to all sorts of shapes.

    • So true about Esby! Love them for that reason and the items are ethically made and high quality!

  24. Alex says...

    I bought a pair and LOVE them. I didn’t think I would but as soon as I slipped them on, I was in comfort and have been wearing them all weekend, every weekend since. I went to my parents house this past weekend and wore them — my mom laughed and said I was the spitting image of her from 1981. She is now mad she didn’t keep everything she ever owned for me. (Mother Brand from Nordstrom: http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/mother-the-maverick-cuff-crop-jeans-birds-of-paradise/4312651?origin=keywordsearch-personalizedsort&fashioncolor=BIRDS%20OF%20PARADISE)

  25. Jackie says...

    YES! I have been a skinny-jeans devotee for years and years. I’ve tried to explore other silhouettes but always return to the skinny. HOWEVER. I am now a changed woman! I recently purchased 3 pairs of pants just like these at J.Crew and wear them every. single. day. They look polished with pointy ballet flats for work (my work, at least) and a simple, crew-neck sweater. They look great with espadrilles and a t-shirt that you tie on the bottom. They look great with cropped tops. I love, love, love them!

  26. Liz says...

    Lovelove the style, but I can’t find a pair that’s flattering on my slightly-extra wide hips and athletic thighs. If anyone has any recommendations on pairs that are flattering for those of us with generous hips, please let me know!!

  27. Yes! I’m a fan! European girls already accepted the trend… ;-) (At least where I come from!)

  28. Sara says...

    These are terrible pants and I’ve been seeing them on all the lifestyle blogs. Look at the crotch! Hideous and meant only for the super skinny.

    • Nina says...

      ha, I was thinking um, a bit o’ camel toe going on with some of these…must be careful. but they are oh so comfy (from my 80s recollection)

  29. N. Rogers says...

    Don’t think I could ever wear this style of pants again. Makes me have flashbacks to high school wardrobe from the 1970’s.

  30. Molly says...

    I’m totally on board with the wide-leg pants – had always thought that for my body type (5’3” and curvy) I prefer to wear long, flowing versions and pair with platform sandals. It makes me feel tall and elegant. However, I did actually buy a pair similar to pictured above from Zara (a blue / white striped number) and I was surprised that I like them. They don’t have the elegance of the previously mentioned pairing, but for bopping around town in flats, I’m down with not feeling as sophisticated.

  31. fizz says...

    I don’t mind the wide legs but I hate the crop. It looks like all the little old ladies in South Florida who are too warm to wear full pants but too afraid of showing their varicose veins to wear shorts.

  32. M says...

    Skinny jeans 4 life over here.

    • Even if not “skinny” .. regular straight leg jeans are fine, most women aren’t 5’9 and 100 lbs or 15 years old.

  33. Liz Lopez says...

    Virginia! 💞

  34. Katie says...

    Ah I don’t know about these…The cropped length gives me nightmare flashbacks of being a gangly preteen and not being able to find pants that are long enough, or my dress pants shrinking in the wash and having to wear them because they were expensive.

    • Summer says...

      YEEEES!!! I was with you on that in middle school (“flooding,” as we called it). Thank goodness for the internet making length options more accessible.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i heard old navy has a new designer — they are getting so, so good!

  35. Oh! Nice! I kept my wide-leg pants from a few years ago! I’ve been thinking about wearing them a couple weeks ago. Just waiting for warm weather. Where I live it’s still a bit cold. Soon! :)

  36. Amy says...

    I wore this style pant in my early 20s and started living in this style last summer again (in my 40s). I have no hips but a round booty and these wide legs add a nice balancing silhouette opposed to skinny jeans that just make my thighs look bigger and my ankles skinnier. Not to mention they’re so comfy, cool, and versatile depending on the fabric and length. I love this style pant!

  37. Caz says...

    I used to have a pair of high-waisted, wide-legged pants and I loved them – they felt so 70’s and comfortable. I like that other shapes are coming up recently, after what seems like a skinny jeans monopoly, but I wouldn’t wear this particular style. I prefer them a little longer, rather than these cropped ones, as I think it makes my proportions look a bit weird otherwise. But each to their own!

  38. I’m so excited for wide legged pants and have already bought a few vintage pairs that I can’t wait to wear.

  39. I was in Paris in the spring of 2014 and wide-leg pants were everywhere! I was so intrigued and I took photos to show my girlfriends. So interesting (but not surprising!) how it slowly trickled this way!

  40. Karen says...

    I love this silhouette. I’ve seen it come and go several times and even though they eventually hit the thrift pile, I’m surprised that I get excited to get the newest reincarnation. This set reminds me most of the jeans from 1975 but cropped. I’m short and petite but that’s not going to stop me. It’s about having fun!

  41. EscapePod says...

    No, I just can’t see these being flattering on my 5’3″ frame. Cut off at the ankle, too long of a waist and, I hate to say it but… is it just my imagination or does the focus go straight to the crotch? There is nothing here that would make me feel “put together.” One of the HUGE benefits of getting older is having plenty of experience with what works best for me — fashion-wise and otherwise! :)

    (Of course, if they are your cup of tea and make you feel good, go for it! There’s nothing more flattering than confidently loving what you are wearing and it’s no one’s biznez but your own!)

  42. Louise says...

    I like them. They remind of something Katherine Hepburn would wear in Philadelphia Story but with a shorter leg. They look comfortable and cool. . I would pair them with strippy espadrilles. Now, I just have to find them.

  43. B says...

    I just bought a pair of wide-legged linen pants that I tried on a whim. To my complete surprise, they ended up being really flattering. Since the fabric is light, they have a lot of movement and drama. My wide-legged pants make me feel elegant and sophisticated. I think the secret is to get a cut that hugs your waist, hips and butt, so that the pants don’t look shapeless (like the baggy pants I wore in the 90’s).

  44. Riley says...

    Really bummed by all the language in the comments along the lines of “Eww! They’re not flattering at all.” A trend might not be your cup of tea, but fashion isn’t always about what’s flattering (which is usually code for slimming) in the traditional sense of the word. Let’s work on body positivity here, folks! Got curves? Big thighs? Try them on and see how you feel.

    I own a pair and they’re so comfortable and airy, I never want to take them off. I don’t look especially slim in them, but that’s okay!

    • I so agree. We really need to cut back on the word “flattering” in our discussion of what women should wear! These pants look cool and comfy for summer and I think they are cute!

    • Caz says...

      I think you make an excellent point. Often women are discouraged from doing things that aren’t ‘flattering’ or ‘feminine’ etc, when we should be encouraged to do what makes us feel good. The (subjective) attractiveness of one’s clothing does not prove character, intelligence or capability.
      Having said that, I think women are also in their rights to select items that they feel make them look their (subjective) best. Unfortunate as it may be, the fact is that people DO judge others on appearance, and we certainly can’t blame a woman for wanting to feel like she looks like the best version of herself.

    • Summer says...

      I understand what you’re saying, and that is a great point.

      I agree with Caz, though. For me, looking larger than I am does not make me feel good.

    • JT says...

      Yes, this. That is why the ManRepeller blog is as successful as it is. It’s fashion! It’s suppose to be fun! I am 5’2 and an athletic frame and I rock this look. Mainly because jeans sometimes are too heavy in the summer and sometimes you forgot to shave and you want to keep them gams covered up!

    • K says...

      I agree that we shouldn’t focus only on clothes being ‘flattering’. Who cares if they highlight my thick thighs or flat butt if my pants feel fun or freeing or stylish.

      My problem with these pants is that every time I see them lauded, it is when they hang on someone with an “ideal” body. Pointy hip bones. Flat tummy. Definite thigh gap. I think the Jesse Kamm clique only solidifies this ideal. I would LOVE to see them on a woman of a different body type.

  45. Traci says...

    I must admit that every time I see this current trend modeled, my first thoughts are, “ah! camel toe! avert your eyes!”

  46. kristina says...

    I am very short with a full bottom and even fuller thighs — if I was a dumpling, I’d be darling — and I just bought the Everlane culotte (and then had it taken up about 4 inches). It shouldn’t work. Heck, maybe it doesn’t, really. But I love a high rise over my slightlycurved belly (anything low-rise bisects the roundest part of my belly and is uncomfortable AND unflattering); I love the smooth swish of the cotton poplin; and I love the airiness of the wide leg — they will be perfect for a hot Alabaman summer.

    Maybe I’ve really achieved middle-aged matronhood, but giving up the dream of “sexy” (or even “attractive”) is freeing. (Dumplings may be delicious, but they are never sexy.)

    Fellow dumplings, I implore you: be free!

  47. Amy says...

    No, probably not. Not one bit!

  48. Karin says...

    I just bought some of these pants and I love them! I have heavy legs and it’s nice to have something that skims over them instead of clinging to my calves (like skinny jeans). They allow some air to circulate for summer months, too.

  49. All of these women are super thin, and it still isn’t flattering on them! Therefore the rest of us with normal bodies are probably better off passing on these jeans. I’m a big fan of the bootcut and flare jeans to get a different silhouette from the skinny jeans. They aren’t quite as extreme as these wide legs. And why do all of those wide leg pants look like they are cropped? I think they would be way more flattering if they went to the ground and were worn with heels. Most of those options in the photos just look like they are wearing pants that aren’t quite long enough. This trend is not for me, I guess!

  50. Lisa says...

    Are these just a reinvention of the gaucho style pant that was popular in the early 2000’s? I had a pair of those and loved them!

  51. Kim L. says...

    Yikes. I have to agree with a previous commentor – this silhouette may be ‘in’ for a fleeting moment, but is SO unflattering. Wide cropped legs shorten the body, and the high waist and incredibly long crotch look like a frontal wedgie/camel toe gone bad. I’ve always admired your classic style, Jo, and believe if you stick to it, you and your kids will look back on pictures of your style with the same admiration you look back on your Mom’s!

  52. Jennifer says...

    No way, so unflattering no matter what your shape. I keep hoping this trend will go away soon but it seems to be getting more popular. I’m baffled.

  53. Those pants are really cute!!! I would love for you to check out my Etsy shop, http://www.Etsy.com/Shop/KileysKornerBoutique Lots of bubblegum necklaces and boutique items for little girls! KKB also has Made to Match Necklaces for Matilda Jane! Thanks! :)

  54. Flor says...

    Love them, but I’ve yet to find a pair that looks good with my hourglass figure.

  55. Love these! Just bought a great navy pair for work and jeans for fun! And I can pull out an ancient pair from Anthro……yay!

  56. Not for my ‘more is more’ body shape! But I sure love the 40s vibe I’m picking up.

  57. I love wide leg pants- especially jeans. I haven’t tried the cropped version yet but awaiting my J.Crew order of them now. Can’t wait to see if I’m a fan or not!

  58. Meg says...

    I love this trend! I saw tons of women wearing them in NYC when we visited last week and they looked so chic, so naturally when I got home I needed a pair. I have the Madewell chino pair and they are sooo comfy and flattering. Also a very close replica of the much lusted-after but $$$$ Jesse Kamm pants.

  59. Nina says...

    love the look. so comfortable. I’m so too short to pull it off well but I do it anyway! :)

  60. Emma says...

    I used to have an amazing pair of wool tweed ones! They do great things for the backside. ;)

  61. Clarissa says...

    Not trying to be a hater, but I think these pants are super unflattering… they look like people are wearing too-short bell bottoms that seem to uncomfortably bunch up around their crotch. The bottom right pair are clownishly unflattering, though I do appreciate the way the person is the middle is bending their leg to distract from the unfortunate reality of what this shape will do to the silhouette. Even the lead picture has the photographee standing on her toes in shoes that are similarly colored to the pants to attempt to make them look less awful. She has to turn her head to the side in shame, because she knows the hard truth of what no amount of tiptoeing will cover up. Every so often the fashion world tries to make culottes a thing, but no. Just say no.

    • Ingrid says...

      You are so right, Clarissa! Love the way you put it. No!

    • It is frustrating to me that many people find it okay to talk negatively about models (“emaciated models”). I did not see one woman in the photo collage who looked abnormally thin or weak. Can we all choose to be positive about body image please?

  62. Toria says...

    Ew, no. Not on board with this trend at all.
    The wide leg would be fine if the waist wasn’t so high …

  63. Alli says...

    Not sure this look is for a pear shaped gal like myself!

    • TJ says...

      Actually it is! I am pear-shaped as well and this is basically my ‘uniform’. In fact, when I can’t find these in stores, I have a tailor crop regular pants. This is a cute look with tall boots underneath too (for cold months, obvs).

  64. Elisabeth says...

    I’m finally ahead of a CoJ trend! ;-) I bought a pair from J.Crew a week or so ago and the most shocking thing was that my husband actually liked them. Anyway, I’m looking forward to wearing them all summer!

  65. lj says...

    I’m wearing cropped red wide leg chinos right now! I love them and have gotten lots of compliments – it’s nice to break up that skinny jean rut :D

  66. I’m so ready to embrace this silhouette!

  67. Katie H. says...

    Do it, Joanna! I just purchased a pair on sale at Banana Republic, and I’ve received tons of compliments. The army green ones I picked are a little more subtle.

  68. Alice Quin says...

    Love this!!!

  69. anne says...

    Anyone have any leads on the shoes in the first picture? They look super comfortable….

    • g says...

      They look like Frye Melanie Slip-ons but I don’t know for sure!

    • I think they are by Vayarta

    • b.e. says...

      They are made by Vayarta – a Unisex shoe.

  70. RT says...

    Wish I could pull these off! I know my body type and I know that if I wore these, it wouldn’t end well 😂

    • Rebecca says...

      That’s what I was going to say too! I love how they look on other people, but goodness they look terrible on me.

  71. I love these! But I’d be afraid to actually purchase a pair because they seem like the type of trend that will just last this season.

    http://www.smallestthing.com

  72. I haven’t worn it lately but I certainly have worn it.