How to wear wide leg pants
Starting from the bottom: How to wear wide-leg pants
Words— Mylène Genty
Here’s a not-so-obvious fact: comfort is chic and it is highly valued. It’s easy to understand why - it takes little to no effort to achieve a relaxed and stylish look. Case in point: pants. Although the reign of skinny pants is far from over, the wide leg movement is gaining momentum, with brands such as Lisa Says Gah, The Row, and us (duh!) offering a broad variety of comfortable bottoms.
Ease of movement, lighter fabric, gentleness, wide-leg trousers have it all. I’m not the only one who thinks so: American sailors were the first to adopt bell-bottomed trousers in the 19th century, for practical purposes. Apparently, they made it easier to snag a man who had fallen overboard and easier to remove when wet. Although it is unlikely you’ll literally find yourself going overboard, this is proof of their undeniable comfort and practicality.
Above: Bianca Jagger in her legendary white suit in 1977, the original Charlie’s Angels, Farrah Fawcett’s skate vibes
Wide legs didn’t really become truly mainstream until the 70s, thanks to Sonny and Cher who popularized it through their TV appearances in the late 60s. Men also didn’t shy away from the wide leg pants - Mick Jagger and Jimi Hendrix were amongst the first to pull them off, forging their now iconic looks. As it’s often the case in fashion, music was the catalyst that set up the trend (just think of Abba and Fleetwood Mac and tell me the first thing that pops in your mind isn’t wide leg pants.) It was initially viewed as a rebellious way of dressing–a very relaxed middle finger to the establishment, just so it could be later picked up by (you guessed it) the mainstream.
Designers like Yves St-Laurent later helped flare pants reach the masses, branding it as an imperative for women to dress up in power suit during the second wave of feminism. It’s worth mentioning that Coco Chanel did designed loose trousers for women in 30s so they could practice manual labour during during the Second World War, but Saint-Laurent really boosted this aesthetic for high fashion evening wear with his legendary tux.
How to style
If the 70s nostalgia hasn’t kicked in yet, here’s a bunch of ways you can wear these stylish pants.
Easygoing. The look we’re all trying to achieve. Whether it’s old or new, use your favourite top and accessorize it lightly–a pair of statement earrings or a few delicate necklaces will do the trick.
Never boring. The organic feel of cotton mixed with a sleek, silky blouse will make this look laid-back while professional. More conservative? Try a wool turtleneck for an extra touch of classiness and a leather jacket. In a rush? Steal your better half’s crisp white shirt, unbutton it generously and roll the sleeves.
Summer ready. The look I try to pull when I want to pretend I’m coming back from the French Riviera or more realistically, from a picnic at the park. I never thought I’d use this word but I guess it is, in a way, sexy. Side note, the organic look is better supported with natural colours such as beige, white, light pink, brown and green. Very zen.
The not-so-basic one
One word: monochrome. It should look like it was taken straight off the runway. Or a highly popular Instagram photo from your explore page. Here we have a basic pair of white pants elevated to a look that’s unapologetically stylish and totally assumed. Extra 5 points if you cop our pink High Waist Wide Leg Cropped Pant and go full monochrome.
The dos and don’t
Even though I don’t like to dictate what to wear, I still have to warn you about printed pants. For those who are highly excited by the arrival of summer, please - use prints on pants with moderation. Especially the flower print. Please.
Accessorize it! A dark leather belt will be your best ally to highlight your silhouette.
Unlike the long flare pants, you can pretty much wear any shoes crop wide leg pants. Mid-heels, trainers, ankle boots, loafers, mules... To be honest, that’s one of the second most exciting thing about this pant. That, and the coziness. I think you get it now.
Need help finding your style without all the shopping? Try Style Plan, our new clothing subscription box. Answer a few simple questions and we'll send you what you exactly what you're looking for.