Fashion and fun for the over-50s.

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Wednesday, 26 April 2023

Find the Trousers that Suit You Best

 & #WowOnWednesday

Gail Hanlon, over 60s blogger from Is This Mutton, in yellow jeans and jacket and orange top

Dear friends. You may have noticed that trousers, or pants in North America, are having A Moment. Wide legged trousers and trouser suits are both trending for spring and summer. But how do you feel about wearing trousers and jeans? Are you wary about them suiting your shape?  

I have a love/hate relationship with trousers, jeans and shorts.  I've always had big thighs proportionately. When I put on weight, it goes to my thighs and waist. 

My hips are not terribly big so I never have the differential between waist and hips that would make me an hourglass. As my shoulders are wider than my hips, I avoid long tops which would helpfully cover my thighs, because I then end up looking bigger than I actually am. 

I've become adept over the years in photographing myself in trousers and jeans and finding a flattering angle. This often leads me to thinking that they're worth keeping. But then in "real life" I'm less than happy about them and they end up not being worn.  

Let's start with some pairs I find unflattering. You may not be the same shape or height as me, but I hope that my learnings may give you some inspiration.  For the record, I'm 5'4 and a UK size 10 (US size 6). 

Images showing Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton in trouser styles which don't suit her

Left to right: the red trousers and white trousers are both too big. As I've mentioned before, I struggled with my weight for many years and would lose weight and then put it back on quite quickly.  I've managed to stay at my current weight since 2019, but my brain still doesn't believe it, so I tend to always buy trousers and jeans which are a size bigger than I need.

I've found that with trousers that are too big, wearing a belt doesn't necessarily help because the fabric bunches up too much. 

The khaki cargo trousers were also too big. This is the outfit I wore for the first ever Kettlewell meet up, in Regent's Park in 2021. The weather was very dodgy on the day, and I changed my mind about what I was going to wear. I ended up feeling big. Not only did the cargo pants make me look large, the jumper was an over sized one and tucking it in gave additional bulk to the whole look.

The last pair of patterned trousers are a very bad cut for me because they hug the thighs at their biggest point.

Sometimes what you think is a bad choice can be rescued by changing the proportions of your outfit. Take this pair of purple shorts. In the left hand picture, the silver loafers are wrong and make my legs look short and sturdy.  But with a heeled wedge, my legs look longer. The tassel necklace also helps to elongate the look. 

Two pictures showing the difference that the right pair of shoes can make with a pair of city shorts

A Word about Style Personality  

Wide legged jeans and trousers don't do very much for me. I have tried them in many permutations, long, short, not so wide, wider, but because my waist is not very narrow, they make my bottom half look shapeless.  I sent back the pair on the left which to my mind are too short. The jeans on the right are a more trendy cut than the straight style I like: they're described as "tapered barrel leg." But again, they give me a chunky lower body.

It's possible more flowy palazzo styles would work for my legs but my style personality is more classic, so they still wouldn't suit me. Wide legs are the style that Trinny wears most. She is tall and slim but says she has short legs, so she wears them at the length of the trousers below (left) with platform / flatform style shoes and boots. 

One of the crucial things about wide legged pants is to balance them with a streamlined top, rather than adding a long jacket or a very thick and long sweater. 

Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton shows why wide legged trousers can be wrong on certain heights and body types

The Best Trousers by Body Shape

Hourglass

  • Wide-legged and loose-fitting trousers that go straight down to the floor are best. Slightly tapered, boot-cut or flare-out trousers are also good. Trousers or jeans should be high or mid rise: low-waisted styles make the hips look wider.  Embellishments, pleats, darts and pockets around the hips should be avoided.  Avoid baggy styles or those with a lot of fabric.
Rectangle
  • Help to create a waist: look for trousers with belt loops so you can wear a belt
  • Don't tuck tops into trousers 
  • Trouser styles that flare at the bottom, like boot cut, flare or wide leg, are great to add volume
  • Flowy and soft fabrics soften the angled frame - such as palazzo or harem trousers
  • ‍Avoid straight-fitted trousers that emphasise your straight silhouette unless you want to highlight this aspect.
Apple
  • Low- to mid-rise is good with a wide waistband
  • Side-fastening trousers are great to avoid extra bulk around the tummy
  • Avoid very tapered trousers as these would accentuate your slim legs and make your upper body look larger. 
  • Steer clear of high-waisted trousers.
Short legs
  • Team skinny trousers with longer tops to hide the widest part of your legs. 
  • A long skinny top which finishes at the knees will elongate the body. 
  • Look for a lower waist boot cut worn extra long, teamed with heels and a skinny top.

Tall

  • The two extremes will be your best allies: skinny jeans and palazzos. 
  • Skinny jeans are perfect to show off your legs and enhance their length 
  • The cut and fit of palazzo trousers further streamlines the legs and the silhouette in general.

Petite

  • Mid-rise offers some perfect middle ground for the petite body
  • Wide leg pants can camouflage areas you want to hide and highlight your most flattering areas. If you're petite, you can definitely wear a pair of wide leg pants.
  • High-waisted jeans are great for petite women., They make anyone look taller. 

My Best Trouser/Jean Styles 

Now for some of the styles that I like, below, starting with jeggings on the left.  I now buy these in 2 sizes, 10 and 12, because they're relatively cheap at M&S. In the picture I'm wearing the size 12, which gives a looser but more wrinkly look.  

Jeggings are by definition skinnies, but they can still be flattering, I find. I feel quite confident in them whereas some of the pairs I've shown make me feel huge. They seem to flow nicely over the thighs.

In the second pic, my mum, who's shorter than me, is showing how to wear wide legged patterned trousers. She wears a size 18-20 but doesn't look that big because of the flattering longer top. Her legs were always slimmer than mine, and she has narrower shoulders, so on her the wide legged trousers and longer top is a good combination. 

Gail Hanlon and mother in trouser styles that work for them

In the third pic I'm wearing my favourite style of jeans, straight leg. Straight legs tend to suit everyone.  The black pair on the right are very old and also a good straight leg style. Wearing them with ankle boots lengthens the leg more than when I wear them with trainers, even though it's nice to have a more casual look. A monochrome look is also excellent for helping to lengthen legs  (trousers or jeans with footwear in the same colour). 

I haven't mentioned the yellow jeans in the top pic.  Would you describe them as a Hit or a Miss?  There's a long story attached to them.  I have been wanting yellow jeans and I spotted these at Asos. They didn't have my size, 28, so I sized up to the 29.  Too big.  

Eventually it was the size 26 that fitted.  They are Levi 501s and it's so long since I bought Levi's I couldn't remember if they came up big. The problem is, I still don't like them on me.  I think they make my thighs and stomach look big. They're just the wrong cut on me.  Very sad because I wore them last week and can't now send them back! 

What do you particularly look for in jeans and trousers/pants? Share your learnings in the comments below. 

Sharing this post with: On Mondays We Link Up at Glass of Glam, Weekday Wear at Away from the Blue, #AnythingGoes at My Random Musings, Rena at Fine WhateverTurning Heads Tuesday at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish,  Confident Twosday at I Do Declaire, Style with a Smile at StylesplashTalent Sharing Tuesdays at Scribbling BoomerCurated by Jennifer (Wednesdays), Chic & Stylish at Mummabstylish, #SpreadTheKindness  and #Linkup on the Edge at Shelbee on the Edge,  Thursday Fashion Files at Doused in Pink, #Neverendingstyle at The Grey BrunetteFancy Friday at Nancy's Fashion Style,  Traffic Jam Weekend at Marsha in the Middle Senior Salon Pitstop at Esme Salon 

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Now it's time for the #WowOnWednesday link-up, where readers can find new blogs to read and bloggers/vloggers can find new followers!  I feature the 3 favourites each Wednesday on Instagram, and my five or six top picks at the weekend on Twitter and Facebook

Last Week's Favourites

Orange, Pink and Floral by Hello Katie Girl 


Zebra Print Nine West Thrifted Dress by Mireille of Chez Mireille


Is This Mutton Non-Fashion Pick

Stuff to take a cottage stay by Smelly Socks and Garden Peas

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3 comments

  1. Excellent tips. I love skinny jeans especially high waisted and the other styles you recommend sound wonderful. https://www.instagram.com/reel/CreLMScOf9n/?igshid=Mzc1MmZhNjY=

    ReplyDelete
  2. I like the fact that we can learn about what looks best on us. You know very well what looks good on you. I often look in the mirror thinking yes that's okay. And then when I take photos I'm missing something. Trying to think more: add one more thing Nancy lol.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You have a vast selection Gail and all beautiful colours. Thanks for sharing and hosting. Jacqui x

    ReplyDelete

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