How to Style Wide Leg Pants as a Grown-ass Woman

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how to style wide leg pants in 2023 for grown women by wardrobe oxygen

If you're like me, you're looking at your closet and wondering what you're going to wear as the seasons change. You may be wondering what current fashion trends you may consider adding to your closet. For me, I think a lot about pants as I think it will be the easiest and most impactful way to update my existing closet. I find the wide-leg fashion trend to look modern, fresh, and also be comfortable. Below I share some tips on how to style wide leg pants as a grown woman.

All women have the right to wear whatever they wish. I do not subscribe to the belief that women of a certain age shouldn't wear certain styles. In fact, these days I think such a mentality is incredibly dated. Fashion is fluid, and true style comes from dressing for yourself not for the approval of others. As grown-ass women, we have earned the right to wear what brings us comfort and joy.

Comfort goes beyond whether an item binds or restricts. It's clothing that allows you to be your most confident, true self. For some, that may be a wide-leg ponte trouser with a pull-on waistband. For others, it may be high-waisted leather jeans that fit like a second skin. Comfort is personal, unique, and deserved.

Joy is also personal. Joy can come from color, texture, trend, sentimentality, and more. But the idea of comfort and joy should be at the forefront when considering to add anything to your existing wardrobe. You likely already own “gets the job done” apparel. Let's add comfort and joy to your existing closet with a pair of pants that will work with your existing knitwear, shirts and blouses, jackets and toppers.

You may also like: how to soften linen clothing

The Trends, They Are a-Changin'

Just like the skinny jean trend, the primary pants trend the past decade+ has been a slim to skinny fit ankle pant. Often compared to pants worn by Audrey Hepburn (and often named after her), these pants have been seen as classic, working equally well with the on-trend shoe styles of low-profile sneakers like Chucks, ballet flats, almond-toe pumps, and sleek loafers. Such pants work with volume on top: denim jackets, cardigans, untucked tunics and hip-length knits, untucked and half-tucked button-front shirts.

women's skinny pants seen on four models from fashion websites
No need to toss your skinny ankle pants, but know wide legs are in style this season and I don't see them going anywhere any time soon. Featured clockwise from top left: Talbots, Chico's, Old Navy, ELOQUII.

Some styles of this pant that have had enduring popularity in the past decade are the Old Navy Pixie Ankle Pant, the ELOQUII Kady Pant, the Talbots Chatham Ankle Pant, and the Chico's Brigitte Pant. And these pants are still stylish, but the pants trends has become more expansive… literally.

As I've previously mentioned on Wardrobe Oxygen, fashion right now is about Taking Up the Space You Deserve. This can be with wearing bold color, trying trends that break style rules for slenderizing or hiding the body, and choosing silhouettes that are looser, bolder, or styles with more fabric and flow or architectural details.

a collage of four models from retailer websites wearing fuller leg pants and wide leg pants
Wide leg pants from the same exact retailers offering skinny ankle pants; no need to change your personal style to embrace a new trend. Clockwise from top left: Talbots, Chico's, Old Navy, ELOQUII.

I'm telling you, despite what Stacy and Clinton may have stated in 2003, a skinny pant will not make you look even five pounds smaller than looser trousers. And the comfort and joy that may come from trying such a pant may increase your personal style quotient exponentially.

Go ahead and keep wearing your skinny ankle pants. I will not condone disposing of anything in your closet that fits and functions in your life and with the rest of your wardrobe. But if you're looking to update your closet, these pants trends may be the perfect thing:

How to Style Wide Leg Pant as a Grown Woman

The current trend of wide-leg pants is whatever you want them to be. Soft silk, rayon, and crepe; sturdy yet stretchy ponte, relaxed chino and linen, professional suiting fabrics, and dressy fabrics like satin and brocade. Most styles have at least some elastic at the waist, whether they are a pull-on style or have a traditional fly and hidden elastic in back. As for rise, that too is whatever you want and you will find everything from Y2K-inspired hip huggers to ribcage-grazing high rises. I personally find a mid- to high-rise the easiest to wear and the most commonly found at retailers.

Styling Wide Leg Pants with a Graphic T-Shirt

For so long, wide leg pants gave a feeling of formality. Suiting trousers, palazzo pants, wide legs were dressy and swishy. And they still are, but they can also be dressed down with casual pieces like tank tops, denim jackets, sneakers, sandals, and graphic t-shirts.

how to style wide leg pants with a graphic t-shirt

Styling wide leg pants with a graphic t-shirt:
pants (sizes 2-20 w/ tall/short) | t-shirt (XS-XXL) | bag | jacket | lipcolor | sunglasses | sneakers | earrings


If you love rocking a graphic t-shirt with your skinny ankle pants and sneakers, this is an easy transition to a wider leg. You can tuck in the t-shirt or knot it (my preferred knot is this one which I show how to do in an Instagram video). A pair of sneakers looks great with wide-leg pants.

While I have sunset brights in this outfit, you can easily go more neutral. As for these pants, I ordered them and liked the quality but found they ran big; if in doubt size down. But these pants can be worn year-round and dressed up or down with ease. The lipcolor is a favorite to tuck in a bag for a quick swipe of color that doesn't have to be super precise (AKA enjoy that latte).

Styling Wide Leg Pants with Sandals

As the weather warms, sandals can keep you cool and comfortable. They also look great styled with wide leg pants! My preference are Birkentocks which are supportive and in style this year, but you can do a flat sandal, slight wedge, or most any style to loo vacation chic.

how to style wide leg pants with sandals.

Styling wide leg pants with sandals:
cashmere tee (sizes XS-XL) | pants (sizes 00-28W w/ petite/tall) | sandals | tote | lipcolor | reading glasses | scarf (wear as a belt) | earrings


I chose these pants after a rave review from a member of the Wardrobe Oxygen Community on Facebook. They come in multiple colors and can dress up for work or dress down for the weekend with ease. Wear with boots, sneakers, or your favorite sandals (I own this exact pair in red). I wore these same pants all spring, summer, and will continue into fall. They wash well and drape beautifully.

Styling Wide Leg Pants with an Untucked Top

Style lightweight wide-leg pants either by balancing the volume with a slimmer or tucked in top, or embrace the volume with a matching voluminous top or relaxed blazer. To keep volume with volume from looking like pajamas, focus on fit. Yes, even oversized can and should be tailored. A grown-ass woman has her sleeves the right length, the fit loose but not sloppy.

how to style wide leg pants with an untucked top

Styling wide leg pants with an untucked top:
shirt (sizes XS-XXL w/ petite/tall; link for plus) | lightweight jeans (XS-4X w/ tall) | hat | sunglasses | hoops | bag | facecolor | sandals


To keep from being a box, consider unbuttoning the last buttons of the shirt and rolling up the sleeves. Create the sense of a waist by knotting the shirt, or wear the shirt partially or completely open over a white tank. I own these sunglasses and these hoops and can attest for the quality.

Wide-leg pants and wide-leg jeans before now had primarily been cropped to the ankle bone. While you can still wear such styles, this year pants have gone full-length. Your wide-leg pants now should hit 1/2″ to 1/4″ from the floor covering most of your shoe.

Styling Wide Leg Pants for the Office

How to Style Wide Leg Pants for the Office

Styling wide leg pants for the office:
blouse (sizes 2-10/22 & petite) | pants (sizes 2-18) | reading glasses | laptop tote | earrings | flats


I recently bought these pants and am between two sizes; I found both fit but the smaller size had a nicer drape. I love how they are machine washable and a great length for my 5'3″ self. I've styled them with a range of looks but love the lightweight crepe with a silky blouse and a structured flat with a modern square toe. Leave the blouse out, tuck it in, roll up the sleeves (or use sleeve garters), the choice is yours! I own several bags from this bag brand and can attest for the quality.

Styling Wide Leg Pants for the Weekend

After a couple of years of joggers and sweats, elevate your weekend look with pull-on wide leg pants that are just as comfy and easy-care but incorporate a current silhouette.

How to style wide leg pants for the weekend

Styling wide leg pants for the weekend:
shirt (sizes 00-40) | pants (sizes 00-40) | sunglasses | lipcolor | belt bag (wear as a crossbody) | fitness tracker | earrings | sneakers


This is literally an outfit I own and wear. I own the top, the pants, the shoes, the lipcolor, and the fitness tracker (which I personally use more to track quality of sleep, health, and stress). I have a smaller version of this belt bag and it has done me well as a crossbody all summer long. And I did a very detailed review of these sneakers and why I think they're great for travel, walking, and everyday.

I hope these examples of how to style wide leg pants (as well as wide leg jeans) get your sartorial juices flowing and you're inspired to try this silhouette. The wide-leg pant trend isn't going anywhere, and once you try it and get familiar with this new silhouette, you may find you really enjoy it! Let me know how it works for you!

Please note I wrote this post at the beginning of 2023 but updated it for fall as the wide leg pant trend is still popular and I wanted to offer some seasonally appropriate outfit ideas as well as items that are in stock to shop.

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. I’d love to see a pic of you wearing the complete outfit not just a flat lay. I’m sure they are look gorgeous but a photo would help visualise our clothes that are similar.

  2. But what do I do with all these bigger shirts and sweaters I’ve purchased for years and that I like? Is there a way to wear a larger shirt, maybe open over a tank, without looking bigger than a bard AND messy?

  3. Do all wide leg pants have pleats at the stomach? It seems like so many do. I just don’t think that works for those of us with a tummy. Maybe I’ll just have to try some on.

    1. No not all, but I have some with pleats and I have a tummy you can see them at: and and several times on Instagram (I’m @wardrobe_oxygen). I too was super hesitant thinking they’d emphasize my stomach but pleats are different these days, and at least these Madewell pants are a lightweight fabric so they don’t buckle out adding bulk. However, the Brass ones I have linked above are like a matte jersey or crepe and I don’t believe have pleats. I also have those. And I have pleat-free wide-leg pants I recently got at Ann Taylor too!

  4. I struggle with shoe choices for work wide-leg pants. Sneakers and sandals are great but a lot of times my choices seem wrong when I have to dress up given the volume of the pants. Help!

    1. I think what matters is having some volume to keep up with the volume of the pants. A square toe instead of round or pointed. A lug or platform sole. A chunkier style. I really like a loafer with a thick sole with wide legs, as well as a square-toe bootie with a block heel.

  5. I love wide leg pants. They are comfortable and stylish and I am 5’2 and can pull them off. Thank you for style critique I am 76 years old …don’t look it and don’t feel it.

  6. Alison, you helped me be brave and order my very first pair of cropped, wide-leg jeans. The ones I ordered are Charter Club. They fit like an dream and are such a fun look–so different from my usual boyfriend mid-rise jeans. The jeans going to be in my suitcase for an upcoming weekend with 2 of my sisters. I already told my sisters I’ve upped my style game. Thank you!

  7. Yikes! Okay I’ve ordered some wide legged pants. But this 4’11” over 50 lady is nervous lol! The link for the stripped top doesn’t work unfortunately. I was wanting it with the acorn colored pants. Oh well, I’m hoping I’ll find one for the summer soon. Thanks for the advice and inspiration!

  8. For my fellow petites, I highly recommend Uniqlo! I have a pair of their satin wide legs that fit exquisitely – a Japanese sizing model means they can still be worn with flat shoes without dragging on the floor!

    You may need to look specifically for their ‘Asian sizing’ if you’re in the USA though – I don’t know if they scale up the rest of their sizes in the west.

  9. Love, love, loving the wide leg pants and each of these outfits speaks to me! What sort of belts do you recommend with wide leg pants and jeans? I’m having trouble deciding between thicker belts that seem in proportion to the legs, or thinner belts to let the legs be the statement.

  10. For the record, Stacy and Clinton advocated for straight leg pants, neither skinny nor wide, if I recall correctly. It was back when bootcuts were ubiquitous for “slimming”?

    1. That’s what I remember too. Wider pants leg balanced out wide hips. I’ve followed this advice ever since, since I have problem feet and can’t wear cute ballet flats, heels or loafers. Feel the skinny jeans emphasizes my orthopedic type shoes or Hoka tennies, so wear straight leg pants.

      1. Wow. Can I ever relate to this. Narrow shoulder, broader hips, orthopedic shoes and 5’4”! Currently need to find online the perfect top (sz 4-6) for my wide leg black halogen high waist pleat front pants. Needs to be “cocktail attire” dressy for a holiday party next week grateful for any help!

  11. I want to second the rave about those Madewell pants. I tried them on in store (didn’t buy them because they didn’t have petite and I didn’t want to have to hem an already expensive pair of pants!) but I still think about them! I thought the pleating in front would create a poofy silhouette but it actually did the opposite. And the fabric was super soft and had a lot of movement while maintaining a good amount of structure. Hmmm, maybe I will buy them online in petite!

    1. I wish they made petites in larger sizes! I can handle shortening things but I also know an almost 14″+ rise is far too much for me at 5’2″. A larger petite *might* have worked.

      I’m waiting for rises to come back down a little. Once it gets to 11″ it’s on my rib cage — not only uncomfortable but makes tucking in look silly! The best on me is closer to a mid-rise, which looks like a high rise on my body. I’d really like a pair of wide-legs but so far haven’t found one that is in my size and scaled for my height. I’ve been shopping for pants for a few months and striking out.

  12. I LOVE all these ideas on how to style wide-leg pants. The trend seems so fresh! However I do worry, at almost 60 years of age, that wearing that style of pant with sneakers might possibly read..old. I mean, I remember my mom in her 80s wearing….wide-leg trousers with sneakers. Right?! Although come to think of it, her “sneakers” were more orthopedic shoes so maybe I’m safe?
    Also LOVE that green crossbody sling bag. Adorable.

  13. I hesitate to mention these pants because they’re no longer available — but maybe someone will wise up and create something similar: I have three much-loved pairs of Victoria Secret foldover waist yoga pants (um, flared leggings) in a wide leg style that was made for about a year. These are absolutely perfect pants — comfortable on top, very loose and flowing on the bottom. I see nothing like these pants on the market today, which is sad because they are so great. Yes, they are black pants and not beautiful colors, and they are knit and not a woven fabric, but for me, they are the perfect style. I throw on a tank and a linen shirt, and I’m good to go.

  14. i really want to try wide leg pants. As a (very) short apple, I haven’t succeeded in finding any that didn’t change angles when shortening. I do sew and pull on pants aren’t that difficult. I’m thinking of trying to rattle some old math out of my head and measure a pair, then figure out the ratios and adjust the legs. Once I had the measurements down it would be easy to make more, spot ones in the store that might work, or even have a pro make me some really nice linen ones.

    I know it’s all proportion–many tiny celebrities are seen on tv in them perfectly fitting.

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