Styling Wide-Leg Pants with Sneakers

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woman in white graphic t-shirt and plaid wide leg pants

I love the wide-leg pant trend of the past few seasons.  At first, I felt I couldn't wear it because I am short and curvy.  Then I thought… who cares?  I deserve to have fun with my clothes and be comfortable.  So I bought one pair… and then another and another.  I'd dress them up with heels or even with dressy sandals, but loved the look of wide-leg pants with sneakers.  But gosh that would make me look shorter and wider than I already am, right? 

woman walking along a strip mall in white graphic t-shirt tied at her waist with gray glen plaid wide leg trousers

I wore wide-leg pants with sneakers to see Lizzo mainly out of necessity (gotta be comfortable standing all night) but I didn't think it looked as bad as I thought it would.  And the comfort factor made the look rank even higher.  I wore a wide-leg pantsuit with sneakers on The Today Show and seeing the video and stills from it made me realize that old fashion rule in my head of needing a shoe that is heeled or elongating in some way needed to be retired. 

tie a t shirt cropped wide pants

Life is too short to sacrifice comfort for style, and a lot of times the things we find “unflattering” are because of something we read or heard even decades ago versus what we really think.

woman in wide leg gray pants and a white t-shirt knotted at her waist

I wore this look for running errands.  Petsmart, the grocery store, even went to get my flu shot.  Stomach all out, wide-leg pants with sneakers, breaking all kinds of rules.  Not a single person gritted on me (am I showing my age with that phrase?  It seems more appropriate than “side-eye”), and in fact, I received compliments from three women on my look.  I know a cropped t-shirt isn't everyone's cup of tea; the shirt could be knotted below the waistband or tucked in to achieve the same effect. This shirt from Banana Republic is no longer available, but below I have gathered a lot of similar t-shirts in a variety of sizes.

woman in wide leg gray pants and a white t-shirt knotted to show part of her stomach

When I wore this shirt before knotted in this manner many asked how I did it.  Often, we knot a t-shirt by pulling out a piece and tying it around itself.  That works, but especially when you're heavier or your shirt is more fitted that knot can look a bit… odd.  Dare I say phallic?  I don't want an appendage at my belly button. 

Femme t-shirt from Banana Republic with glen plaid wide-leg pants from Universal Standard as seen on Alison Gary of Wardrobe Oxygen

Sometimes I do it when I knot to the side, but when I want to knot in the middle without the bulk of a traditional knot, I grab two pieces of the shirt parallel to my breasts.  I pull them out and then tie them together in a square knot.  This may take some stretching of the t-shirt and won't work with all shirts, but it's an alternative that creates an hourglass shape and doesn't have that… appendage.   

An alternative I also do is instead of traditionally tucking in a t-shirt all the way around, I twist the front of the shirt like I'm going to do a knot, and then tuck that into my pants.  The rest of the shirt will cinch in and not need to be tucked in, and you still get that hourglass effect in front.

Femme t-shirt from Banana Republic with glen plaid wide-leg pants from Universal Standard as seen on Alison Gary of Wardrobe Oxygen

It's funny, these pants collected dust in my closet when I first got them almost a year ago, and now I wear them all the time.  I wore them with a black cropped wide-sleeve wrap blouse and heels to a blogger luncheon, I wore them with a snakeskin blouse for a workwear look, the other day I wore them with a black crew fitted t-shirt and my black leather moto jacket.  Come winter, I plan to wear them with crew and turtleneck sweaters.

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. in a nutshell, why i’m obsessed with you and your blog: “At first, I felt I couldn’t wear it because I am short and curvy. Then I thought… who cares?” from one short, curvy woman to another – THANK YOU! <3

  2. I think it’s a great look. It makes you look like you’re seriously ready for anything. Work or play or even teaching a university class. You could play a pick-up basketball game or go to a laid back business lunch. And the lecture thing – if I saw you enter the classroom in that outfit I would think, “I’m going to sit up straight and pay close attention. I have a feeling this class is going to be very interesting and challenging.” That may sound a bit odd but I think professors in the West dress more casually than those in the East.

  3. I LOVE this, and I love the “suit” you wore for the Today Show segment with sneakers! Question for you from someone who is SUPER uncomfortable tucking things in. I REALLY hate my “lower” belly. I know wide leg pants call for a tucked in shirt, though. Do you think a fitted, but not tucked in, top would work? Or is there a tuck alternative that still somehow covers the lower tum tum??

  4. You look fantastic, I love this outfit and your comfort in it shows with your gorgeous smile. Definitely am inspired to find my version of this outfit!

  5. What is “gritted”? Side eye I understand….

    If you feel good about what you’re wearing, then it’s flattering enough. New rule to follow.

  6. You just rock the heck out of this look. Yay!

    I love the knotted tee thing, but now. . .it is not the body image holding me back but being a 62 year old, and a grandma at that. Is there an age limit to baring one’s midriff if you don’t want to look silly? I have been erring on the side of caution, and resenting it.

    1. I say it’s what makes you comfortable. If you do it and feel ridiculous, don’t do it. And some shirts, especially if they are loose and longer, you can knot but not fear a tummy hanging out!

      1. Love this outfit on you! You bring a badass attitude to fashion and you give us the confidence to break the rules, in a good way, too. I have always loved the look of wide leg, high waisted pants. Think Katherine Hepburn, way before women wore pants in public. But that look was just a fantasy because I’m short with curves too. And here you are, looking stylish, confident and beautiful. I love how you paired these pants with the black, wrap blouse too. Brava! I am ready to try this look!

  7. I love reading your blog, I love that you are confident and honest and real. I am glad I get to read you work.

  8. Love this look and eager to try it.
    I also tried wide leg pants recently – culottes, even!! – at the urging of a friend while shopping, and the next day ordered a second pair. Who knew how fun they were? And so refreshing after years of jeggings and body-skimming work pants.

  9. If you don’t want the cropped effect of the t shirt, but still want the knot, you can gather the shirt at waist height but from inside, then put a hair elastic around the gather (still inside the shirt). This gives you the gathered/knot effect but with the ‘tail’ hidden inside your shirt.

  10. Love! I’m so happy wider leg pants are everywhere now. I’ve never found skinny jeans that fit or that I was comfortable wearing. I’ve got a few pair of straight leg that are my version of skinny jeans but oh so happy I have more options. Now if we can get more casual full length pants, I’ll be thrilled. I just saw Madewell has full length wide leg Emmett pants and I’ll be trying those for sure.

    1. I feel that ankle won’t go anywhere but I am seeing far more full-length pants coming out again and I am thrilled for the options. It’s nice to be able to keep ankles warm and it makes shoe choice easier!

  11. Thank you for this message! I’m so tired of feeling bad about being short & curvy, limited about what I can wear. How silly, really. You look FAB!

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