Reader Request: Wide-leg Pants for Short-waisted Figures

How to style wide leg pants on short waisted women

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Reader Ève wanted to know:

I love the trend of wide-leg fluid pants as found in your March-29 Insomniac Sales Pick but I am not sure how to style those pants. My concern is this: I am rather short-waisted so I have not tucked in anything in a long time. What tops would work best ? do I have to tuck them in ?

First, allow me to present the usual caveats! You pick your own figure-flattery priorities, and no one else gets to tell you what you “can” and “can’t” wear … or how you “should” or “shouldn’t” style specific items. None of my figure flattery advice posts should be considered gospel, including this one, and I fully expect you to read them with a grain of salt. Style “rules” are merely guidelines, no matter who is dispensing them. I trust you to use your judgment, take what applies to you, discard the rest, and assume positive intent. Good? Good!

Most of the flowy wide-legged pants on the market these days are relatively high-waisted, which poses a challenge for anyone who already feels like her waist sits mighty high on her frame. Especially because most ladies ARE tucking their tops – or half-tucking anyways – when they wear these styles. The woman who requested the sale picks post referred to above was inspired by this photo of petite Selena Gomez, who rocks a wide-leg often with a tucked top. If you’re either petite or short-waisted or both, and looking for ways to wear wide legs without totally throwing off your proportions, here are my tips.

Create a column of color

Tucking your top is both stylish and a great way to balance the volume of a loose, floaty pant. But – especially on those high-waisted styles – this means you may make your waistline appear even further up than it really is. If you’re worried about proportions, consider a top and pants in the same color range. That way, you won’t have a high-contrast break where top meets pants and will look taller overall. You’ll be employing Imogen’s column of color technique.

Use a belt to offset the high waist

With fluid pants, you are often able to tuck and belt. And if you’ve got a wide enough waistband, you can scoot the belt down a bit so your waistline doesn’t look like it’s directly under your bust. If you’re petite, be sure to pick a relatively slim belt so you don’t overwhelm your frame.

Try untucked crop tops

If you want to go the un-tucked route, try crop tops! Some of the longer crops are perfect for wearing untucked with this style of pant. To keep the look from getting too voluminous, try to find a relatively fitted top and make sure it hits at least two fingers’ width below your navel.

Choose flow or structure

In terms of types of tops that work best, you either want something that mimics the fluidity of the pant (this is what Ms. Gomez did) or is its opposite. Tee shirts occupy the middle ground, and can look a bit funky paired with truly drapey, voluminous, palazzo-style wide legs. Non-button blouses look great tucked, especially if they’re in light, drapey fabrics like silk or fine rayons. Or if you’re not a fan of 100% fluid outfits, simple ponte tops will balance the flowy pants with soft structure. I often struggle to feel pulled-together in outfits that involve multiple drapey garments, so I’d likely go the ponte route myself.

Add a jacket

If you’re short waisted and decide to tuck a white blouse into black wide-legged pants, adding a black jacket will bring structure to your outfit AND help create a modified column of color. If you can’t find ponte or structured tops that wow you, try a blazer or jacket instead.

Don’t worry about it

And, of course, you can chuck all of these suggestions and wear whatever the heck you want with your wide legs. Scientists have proven that no top-pant combination will cause you to melt into a shrieking puddle, Wicked Witch of the West style.* Experiment with various lengths, styles, colors, and fits to see what appeals to your eye. You may land on a combo that’s totally perfect for your unique proportions that I never could have imagined! Always remember to have fun and keep an open mind.

*No they haven’t. BUT IT’S STILL TRUE.

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details. Sustainable options are either used, handmade, made in the U.S., artisan made in non-sweatshop conditions, or made using sustainable/fair trade practices.

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5 Responses to “Reader Request: Wide-leg Pants for Short-waisted Figures”

  1. Sue

    I’m 5’6″, short-waisted and broad-shouldered, and have a relatively undefined waist (partly because of genetics, partly because I’m 53), and this summer I have been wearing fluid wide-leg pants very often–they are so comfortable they make me never want to see a pair of skinny jeans again. I never tuck; I prefer flowy but not overly voluminous longer tops, such as sleeveless long button-front shirts, slimmish but not tight-fitting tunics, long tank tops that are on the looser side, or rayon scoop-neck short-sleeve tees. I’ve also done a button-front shirt, either long-sleeved or sleeveless, knotted at the waist.

  2. mmelaprof

    I’m short-waisted too, and my solution on this is to wear fitted tops untucked. Gives some shape and balances the wide-legged pants without creating a line at the waistline.

  3. Linda De

    I used to love these…but now I have a little pot belly, so until I get rid of this…I know..I am working on it with the Fast Metabolism Diet and Acupuncture…probably get er done by fall…
    : ) By the way, Sally, I think you might be a Type 3 energy type in Carol Tuttle’s “Dressing Your Truth” system…which has saved me money, helped people understand who I am before I open my mouth and makes it a lot easier to get dressed…and it is fun..and I don’t get any cuts on anything I mentioned, here… : ) Thank you for your work, Sally!

  4. Ginger

    Shortening tops has been one of my most successful alterations.
    It’s easy to make a t-shirt that’s too long or snug through the hips shorter and more wearable. You can leave the hem of knits to roll on their own, be sure to cut them a little longer to allow for that.