How to style the new wide leg trouser shape

White shirt, wide trousers & leopard scarf

There seems to be a movement this season from the skinny trouser shapes towards the wide leg trouser styles. These can be tricky to incorporate into our wardrobes. It can involve a re-think regarding the proportions of our outfits.

I have begun sorting out my wardrobe in preparation for the new season. My heavy sweaters are washed and packed away. If you are in the process of packing winter woolies away don’t forget to add moth protection stuff to protect them from the pesky little blighters. I add lavender sachets to the cotton bags in which I store my sweaters.

Planning my purchases for the season

As I unpacked my lighter summer garments I sorted them into piles. Firstly those I wanted to keep and restyle for the coming season and then the ones I will be donating. The next step was to make a list of any items that I needed to add or replace.

White shirts and white tee shirts were top of my list to replace. I find that white tees rarely last more than one season and white shirts can easily lose their brightness and crispness. I also decided that I needed a couple of new summer trousers.

The trousers I am wearing above are from Cos. I know some of you think wide leg trousers are tricky to wear but if you style them correctly they can be a very useful addition to a summer wardrobe.

I found that I had to re-think my proportions. With skinny trousers you can wear a long tunic top however with the wider styles I think that a shorter top looks better. Here I am wearing a crisp white swing shirt again from Cos.

Grey leopard print scarf from Chicatanyage scarf shop.

Large bright red scarf from Chicatanyage scarf shop.

White shirt, wide trousers wool scarf

These trousers have an elasticated waist and are very comfortable. I do find that wide trousers are cooler than skinny ones if the temperatures are high. When the weather gets really hot in the Summer I will wear them with a pair of sandals. Golden yellow scarf from Chicatanyage scarf shop.

There are many ways to tie a scarf to create a different look.

If you want to add a cardigan or loose jacket to a pair of wide trousers I think it is a good idea to add a belt to give the outfit some shape but this is a personal choice and will depend on your figure shape. My jacket is looking a bit crooked here; that is the trouble of an outdoor photo shoot with no mirror.

wide leg trousers white shirt long cardigan

Wide leg trousers have been around for many decades. A snapshot of how they were worn in the past here.

Claudia Bradby shell pearl earrings

My Jewellery

To complete the outfit I am wearing a pair of ripple disk hoop earrings (gifted) from the Claudia Bradby Seascape collection. You can just see the two delicate pearls nestling in their shells.

 Bradby shell pearl earrings

The Seascape Collection pays homage to Claudia’s love of the sea, which she ascribes to being born by the coast. The designs are inspired by the mesmerising, reflective quality of the sea and its natural regenerative power. Here you’ll find delicate hammered silver jewellery, with the most delicate of pearl charms that capture the play of light on water and a selection of beautifully unusual earrings and pendants that reflect the magic of our oceans and the treasures they offer.

Pearl and silver jewellery

As you can see from the image above I have been a fan of Claudia Bradby jewellery for several years now and these are a few of my favourite pieces.

The photographs were taken by Laura Hines. Follow her on Instagram

Disclaimer: The pearl shell earrings were gifted. All the clothes in the outfits are my own.


  1. Lynn Nicholls
    4th May 2019 / 16:07

    Wide leg trousers are not for me, I don’t think they look nice at all.

  2. Anne Finlay-Baird
    4th May 2019 / 16:20

    They are ok for tall women. If you’re short they are extremely unflattering no matter what you wear on your top.

    • 4th May 2019 / 17:12

      Hi Anne
      I have seen shorter women wearing wide trousers very successfully however you need to have confidence and own the look.

      • Karen Jackson
        5th May 2019 / 16:11

        Hi I am a 62 year old 5ft1in lady. I wear wide leg trousers but would always wear a body/ fitted to flatter. Also might add a short denium or heavy cotton jacket.
        Definately, would not wear a cardigan wirh belt with them.Feel the whole look presented is very unflattering and I hate to say it but aging.
        I try to look modern by trying to be chic without looking old fashioned.
        I do not want to look 62…

  3. SueC
    4th May 2019 / 16:32

    I thought you’d left the jacket crooked on purpose-v cool!!!! I do love a wide leg especially in summer but they do need a bit of thought, especially the new cropped styles-definitely need a more feminine shoe at least on me!

  4. Lesley
    4th May 2019 / 16:48

    Oh, no these aren’t good for anyone unless they’re 5’10’ or over. Please donate them.

    • 4th May 2019 / 17:19

      HI Lesley
      I feel very strongly that we should wear what we like despite what others might think. At our age we have earned this right. I feel very comfortable in these trousers and will certainly not be donating them. They will be coming with me to the South of France in June where they will fit in with the casual St.Tropez vibe and keep me cool.

      • Lesley
        4th May 2019 / 18:02

        I was being slightly tongue in cheek with my comment about donatng them! However, I still think they’re a look for someone tall. My niece who is 6’1′ would look wonderful – her aunt (me) at 5’1′ would look dreadful and even shorter as they add width not length.

      • Rasheeda Denalli
        4th May 2019 / 19:05

        I agree ! I am short and have worn them successfully in the past and, I agree again if it is not too revealing and u are comfortable in them then enjoy wearing them.

      • Darlene MacLean
        9th May 2019 / 20:00

        I agree 100%! I’m 65 and I am well past anyone telling me what to wear. I wore wide dark olive pants with an olive and cream top and a fitted cream leather jacket to an event over the weekend and got many compliments. I am 5′ 1″.

        • 10th May 2019 / 08:52

          Hi Darlene
          Thanks for your comment. Good for you I am sure you looked fantastic in your olive pants and leather jacket.

      • Vee
        5th October 2023 / 08:55

        I absolutely love wide pants and and I am not tall, they are really flattering and they look amazing on you with the swing Cos top.

  5. 4th May 2019 / 17:10

    Hi Sue C
    You are correct they definitely think they need some thought. I have tried the wide let cropped styles of which there are many about but did not find that they worked for me if I am going to wear wide I like the length otherwise it seems to cut my legs in half.

  6. Jan
    4th May 2019 / 17:11

    Only very tall & very thin women can carry the look you’re wearing. Otherwise, these pants are extremely unbecoming & im betting the vast majority of women will pass on this trend. I don’t mean to sound ugly, but you look like you’re wearing your big sister’s clothing. More fitted styles are lovely on any age or size.

    • 4th May 2019 / 17:21

      Hi Jan
      I am neither very tall or very thin. I did not choose these trousers as they are on trend but because I used to wear and love them when I was younger and always liked this look.

  7. Sandra Sallin - Apart From My Art
    4th May 2019 / 17:18

    Nope, not for me. I’m too short and too busty. I’d look like a big block of ???????? Not gonna happen here.

  8. 4th May 2019 / 17:22

    I quite understand Sandra. If is not for you that is fine

  9. 4th May 2019 / 17:29

    I suppose I’ll probably give the wide leg look a try at some point, but I’m really not ready to give up my skinnies! I agree with others who’ve expressed the opinion that this is not your best look, but since you enjoy wearing them, feel comfortable in them, and clearly look happy wearing them, I definitely say wear them! It comes down to the question of who we dress for, ourselves or everyone else. Since we’ll never satisfy everyone else, let’s make ourselves happy!

    Elaine @ Following Augustine

  10. 4th May 2019 / 17:53

    The wide leg pants are a new look and seem a little awkward. I got a pair last summer and have enjoyed them, although they definitely need a fitted top to balance out the look. And I’m definitely not tall or thin.

    Regardless of whether the look appeals to us personally, I think it’s important to keep the comments positive. Just my opinion.

  11. Eileen
    4th May 2019 / 17:59

    I’m with you, I love wider leg trousers, AND high waisted also. I’m a pear shape 5’5″, and have worn them successfully in the past. I am careful to get them long, to the ground if possible, and not too voluminous, being that I am on the petite side. I can’t wear the cropped styles of any pant, it doesn’t flatter my leg shape. I use a jacket with shoulder pads and a belt to help my proportions. Many styles that are new take time to adjust to, so we’ll see what happens.

    • 4th May 2019 / 19:18

      Hello Eileen. Thank for sharing that. A jacket with shoulder pads was exactly how I used to wear my wide leg trousers before and I think I will try this look again it was one of my favourites.

  12. Judy
    4th May 2019 / 19:03

    Jo, I think you look hip and great in these trousers. We sure have the right to wear what pleases us. You are always stylish and creative. Also, always love the scarves, I have been wearing them since the 70s. Style is in our blood, you can’t hide or fake it. Bravo to us!

  13. Lynn Brogden
    4th May 2019 / 19:13

    I am surprised so many of the comments are negative about the wide leg trouser, I have always worn a wider leg trouser,summer and winter. I am 5’5, so not very tall, but I have always been quite happy with my appearance. It is only recently I have started to wear a narrow leg, so I now chop and change my look, and both have a place in my wardrobe.I think you look great in yours Josephine.

  14. 4th May 2019 / 19:15

    Well thank you all for joining in the conversation a good debate is excellent. Let us agree to disagree on some aspects and let us all continue to be comfortable, chic and stylish and happy in what ever looks we favour and enjoy “whatever floats your boat”. Sometimes rules can be broken but best done with awareness.

  15. Sara
    4th May 2019 / 22:25

    While I absolutely agree that any of us should wear what WE want, for me I doubt the wide leg trouser will return. While I am reasonably tall, I’ve become so used to the practicality combined with the leg lengthening look of skinny jeans and trousers. Most of my tops are to wear with these and I do like the slimming silhouette It all gives. The extra care needed to carry off the wider leg, together with buying a whole new set of tops is beyond me. I recall only too well the damp creeping up from the bottom edges of wide trousers whenever it was wet……… Cannot do that again and they do need to be ground length to look good.
    Think it all adds up to each of us doing what feels good and always supporting everyone’s right to do just that. That’s the benefit of getting older!

  16. 5th May 2019 / 05:01

    I love these wide-leg trousers on you. Oh yeah! Such a wonderful breezy feeling. They will be great in St. Tropez, or anywhere for that matter.

  17. 5th May 2019 / 07:48

    I’m only 5’2 and I love to wear wide leg trousers. I have to wear heels to carry off the look but I think they can make you appear taller too. xx

    • Caroline
      18th May 2019 / 16:02

      I love wide leg pants and I love the way you’ve styled them here! You look so breezy, modern and chic! I recently purchased a very similar short sleeved white swing shirt (in linen) from MUJI, thinking the proportions of the shirt might work well with my wide leg pants this summer. And now, seeing this post, I’m feeling quite confident in my choice!

  18. Maisie
    5th May 2019 / 08:15

    I LOVE wide trousers, I think they are chic, feminine and elegant, and have always worn them, I’ve never been a fan of the skinny jean. I don’t think you need to be tall to wear them, I”m about 5’5′, as long as you keep the proportions right, the top should be short and fairly fitted. Having said that , the pair you are wearing are very voluminous, and a short person would look better in a more toned-down version, I think. I adore the snapshots of earlier times. Such elegance !

  19. Judy
    5th May 2019 / 12:57

    I so want to wear these, but just cannot get my head around how they look on(I am 5’5″ and fairly thin). I finally found a way to wear a wider leg in a linen blend jumpsuit, which solves the problem for me of what to pair on top. Now that I have worn it a couple of times, I too find that it is quite cooler in our heat.

  20. 5th May 2019 / 14:17

    It’s official. I hate them. You put them together well, but I just think they look voluminous and I can totally see myself catching my heel in them and going kit over kaboodle.

  21. Sylvia
    5th May 2019 / 22:08

    At 5’3″ I also have to pass on wide leg pants more on a health and safety issue than fashion. At 71 I experience a balance problem and the flow of the pants catches as I walk. Hope there will be slim fits in the stores. I just gave away a pair so I know what I speak of – careful is the word. Enjoy your column so much.

  22. Jane
    6th May 2019 / 11:26

    You are a very attractive, stylish woman, but I find this look very unflattering. Maybe a less extreme wide leg pant would be a better look?

  23. Isobel
    13th May 2019 / 11:45

    I think you look gorgeous…absolutely adorable! I love everything you’ve chosen to wear with them, from the trainers to the really cute swing shirt. I’m going to copy your look asap!

  24. 13th May 2019 / 12:29

    Hi Isobel
    Thank you for your kind words. I would love to see your outfit when you get it together.

  25. Judy Starling
    14th May 2019 / 16:40

    I have been dithering about these, my problem is that I can’t wear heels, and I always thought that wide leg trousers need heels. Also I have no waist (!!) so anything too fitted on top would show unsightly bulges round the waist. I am thinking that brogues like yours might look better than the flat shoes I usually wear. and possibly a shirt tied at the waist to give some definition? I’d be grateful for your thoughts. I love the way you are so open to experiment, Josephine!

  26. 15th May 2019 / 09:40

    Hi Judy
    I am OK with wide trousers and flat shoes as I am quite tall. I feel that brogues work well. A shirt tied at the waist is a good idea. I used to do this and must try it again.

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