I’m participating in a trend, this week, my friends. The baggy pants trend. As I said in my May vlog, Styling a Maybe Jacket, I have finally found a pair of wide-leg dress pants that I like. And which, I think, do not look terrible on me.
Usually wide-leg, baggy pants do me NO favours. Just ask my friend Liz. She will concur. Over the many years of our acquaintance, in her job as personal shopper at Holt Renfrew and more recently at Nordstrom, poor Liz has seen me try on more pairs of pants that you’ve had hot dinners, as they say.
I am short-waisted, with a flat bum, and a wide waist, and an abdominal region that I would rather hide than feature. Usually wide-leg, loose trousers fit me in the waist and are too big in the hips. Or they flatter my butt, but show my abdominal problem area in all its “glory.” They look okay from the front and hideous from the side. They make me look heavier than I am, emphasizing my large waist and short body. And they cover up my best feature, my long legs. Women with small waists look fabulous in them. Me. Not so much.
Still, each time they come back in style, I always start my shopping with high hopes and positive feelings about baggy pants. And these hopes usually plummet once I try on said pants. Then I go back to slim, narrow pants which suit me better.
This spring I found myself really, really wanting to find a pair of wide-leg dress pants. I wanted to change up things in my closet. To get away from slim, cropped pants like my Rag and Bone Simone pants. To find trousers that would update my wardrobe, and offer a respite from skinny jeans and narrow pants. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to abandon my Rag and Bone pants; I still love them. I just want the option of a different silhouette when I’m getting dressed.
I was spurred on by the fact that the old Theory black dress pants I hauled out during my closet switch-over, and which I doubted would fit me, didn’t even come close. Let’s just say that button and buttonhole were never going to meet again. So I consigned them to the donate pile and started my on-line search. I looked in a lot of places. And I was on one site after another for days, looking at styles and size charts, reading reviews. Then I’d check my measurements, look at my Pinterest inspiration board for ideas, then click back to the shopping sites. Finally I ordered the “Effortless Pant” from Aritzia in a size 12. At least one size up from what I have always worn. As I said in my vlog, I figured that if age (i.e. sixty-five) is just a number, size is just a number too.
When the pants came, I loved the colour. I tried them on, and they fit around the waist; they are even a bit loose, which I think is not a bad thing. However, they don’t fit me like they fit the model on the website. My pants are clearly bigger on me. “Maybe I should have ordered the 10?” I thought. So I tried pinning the fabric to see what they would look like if they were taken in at the hips, in the back etc. But each time I did that, they looked like every other time I’ve ever tried on dress pants and decided against them. They fit in the hips and rear end, but were too tight around my middle. So I tried styling them just as they are. With the exception of pinning up the hem because they are really long.
I tried the pants first with my gold and cream striped Theory tee shirt, tucked in, with a brown belt, and my brown flat sandals. Then I added my Theory crochet sweater around my shoulders and my Eric Javits straw tote. I like this outfit, okay. But something’s a bit off. Maybe a lovely chestnut sweater tied around my neck would be better. But I don’t own such a thing. And in looking at this photo again, I think the bright white cotton tank top I’ve just ordered from Everlane might look better with this combo rather than the striped Theory tee shirt. I think that a snug tee shirt would look better with the more voluminous trousers. And the bright white better with the cream sweater.
Then I tried my Vince sleeveless, muscle tee (similar) with my Theory white blazer (similar) and my vintage ivory cuff. I half-tucked the tee shirt because it looks best if it’s a bit slouchy, and I left off the belt. The loose tee works here with the casual jacket and the sleeves pushed up. But not with the sandals. My white Stan Smith sneakers (similar) are much better. They balance out the more slouchy tee and jacket on top. I love this look. I love the crisp white with the tan pants. Like vanilla and butterscotch ripple ice cream. Even my hair looks vanilla with a few butterscotch strands. Ha.
The next look paired my black, short-sleeve Vince tee shirt with my old Helmut Lang collarless blazer, Michael Kors flat black sandals, and my black Mackage cross-body bag (similar). I changed up my gold jewellry for silver: hoop earrings, watch, and my vintage silver chain bracelet. And I added a narrow black belt. You can’t tell in this shot because my hands are in my pockets, but the longer, slim jacket looks really good with the loose pants. This is Hubby’s choice of all the outfits. And would be a good, somewhat dressy, going out to dinner outfit, I think.
Finally, my last outfit consisted of swapping out the Helmut Lang jacket for my black Everlane cashmere sweater, tied around my shoulders. I love this sweater; it’s just the right weight for summer. I traded my earrings for these big black hoops I bought in Paris, and swapped the leather bag for my straw tote. This is my favourite of all the looks. It’s trendy but still classic. Polished but still casual and comfortable. I’d wear this for a patio dinner with a friend and feel fabulous.
I know that some of the looks might benefit from a different belt or sandals. Or bag. Or whatever. But I have to work with what I have, people. When my try-on session was done, and all my good clothes were hung up or folded neatly in drawers, and I was back in my shorts on the deck with my book, I was pleased. A morning well spent in my opinion.
So what have I learned from my baggy pants try-on session? Well, that I can find a pair of baggy pants I like if I look hard enough. That all along I should have tried pants with a much higher waist. And maybe gone up a size. I think the really high waist is what allows the pants to skim over my problem area, instead of emphasize it. That I should have listened to Liz years ago when she tried to tell me this. That after looking at so many videos on the YouTube channels of fashionistas whose style I like, my eye has changed. And baggy pants which channel Katherine Hepburn look current and chic to me now. See here if you don’t agree.
And maybe most importantly, I learned that I don’t have to look as slim as I did in my twenties, or even my forties, to look good. The baggy pants make me look a bit portly. But I am a bit portly. And if I don’t want to wear long full tops and skinny jeans for the rest of my life, I’d better get used to it. I look like my mum, and my aunt Gywneth, and my cousins, and like every other Sullivan woman I know. And like my grandfather, I might add. Long legs and short bodies. That’s us.
Everything is a journey. Even fashion, and what we wear, and will or will not wear. And the learning never stops. Learning about ourselves. Learning to love ourselves… as they say in Bridget Jones’ Diary… just as we are. 🙂
Now, it’s your turn to wade into the pants issue, people. Not necessarily my pants. But your own. Let’s talk about you. Any looks that you’d love to be able to wear but have always steered away from? How has your own eye changed over the years? Are you wearing things you thought you’d never wear?
P.S. This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking my link I will make a commission.
P.P.S. A word about the affiliate links I use in my posts. I try to find links to the exact piece I am wearing. But many of the pieces I wear in my posts are from seasons past and are not available anymore. So I try to find something comparable, something similar to what I am wearing. And I wanted to let you know that I spend quite a bit of time trying to find pieces that are as close as I can get, and which I’d look at buying myself, if I didn’t already own something similar. That goes for the pieces in the product widgets as well.
Not all links in my posts are affiliate links. For instance, the collective I belong to, which allows me to make a commission if you buy something, does not have a “relationship” with every brand.
Anyhoo. I just wanted to make all that clear. In case it wasn’t. 🙂