How to style wide legged trousers – and what to do if all else fails….

Whistles jeans and Topshop shoes (current), Topshop jumper and Orla Kiely bag (not so much)

So, let’s talk about wide legged trousers. As Julia Roberts said in Pretty Woman “slippery little suckers.” OK so she was talking about snails but the concept is the same – both can be tricky to deal with.

So how to deal with the fact that wide legged trousers do what they say on the tin – namely make us look wider, and quite often shorter too? The shoes can be problematic, unless the trousers are really long, in which case heels solve a whole host of leg shortening problems.

If like this pair of jeans from Whistles (which are now apparently back in stock) they don’t require a heel, then a flat with a pointed toe helps to create a nicer silhouette. I still haven’t worked out why that is but it works, trust me.

Secondly, a top works better if it’s fairly short and fairly fitted. The best ones are generally listed under the term “cropped” on various sites such as Topshop, M&S Limited, ASOS etc but don’t be put off by that, not all of them will be designed to flash one’s midriff. Failing that, tuck a top in and pull it out a little, or tuck a shirt under and knot it at the front, or even tie a vest or t-shirt at the back. All of those options will give the silhouette that you need.

Thirdly, carry a huge bag, just like this Orla Kiely one. The effect will be twofold – it’s something to hide behind and its scale makes you look smaller.

Fourthly, if all else fails, chop the bottom of the trousers off and turn them into something like these Karen Millen culottes which a friend of mine has and which look amazing. Seriously though, that way you can still get a little lower leg on display which helps with the silhouette, it means that you can wear heels too and it’s a good use of a piece of clothing that could otherwise sit at the back of the wardrobe. Job done!

Oh dear, now I’ve convinced myself that I need these too. Perhaps I need to phone a friend.


  1. Charlotte Schmidt
    May 18, 2015 / 10:24 pm

    It's quite hard to find a wide (but tailored) leg with higher waist which I think lengthen the leg. I've been on the hunt for a navy pair for yonks. Unless you wear a heel or have long pins, cropped trousers don't do shorter legs any favours I don't think? What do you reck oh guru? X

    • StyleGuile
      May 19, 2015 / 8:08 pm

      Oh so witty! Yep, you're deffo right re cropped trousers – depending exactly where that it is they finish and the amount of volume in them. Narrow crops at the ankle are fine but wider ones mid calf are trickier. You're also right re the higher waist, tho they can also lengthen the bottom too! Primark had some fab tailored navy culottes which were a good price and a great place to start. KM have a black pair, also tailored. I'll try and suss the the Primark ones for you. xx

  2. Carol
    May 19, 2015 / 10:22 am

    I tried on the KN denim culottes yesterday -they are fab – a perfect mid-rise, lovely quality thickish stretch denim, flattering on the bottom. Only downside is I'd prefer them to be wider. But they are in my sales wish list nevertheless! Good idea re chopping off wide leg jeans – might give that a go. I wore mine the other day but didn't feel right in them. And my daughter commented – "how very nineties Mum!"

    • StyleGuile
      May 19, 2015 / 8:10 pm

      Oh kids, don't you just love them?! Topshop have some wider ones which may be worth looking at and as I mentioned above, Primark. KM also do another couple of styles so they may be worth a look but yes, the KM denim ones are on my list too!

  3. Anonymous
    May 19, 2015 / 5:37 pm

    Warehouse have some navy sailor pants just now, wide legged with a high waist and side fastening. I love them!

    • StyleGuile
      May 19, 2015 / 8:10 pm

      Ooooh yes, I know the ones that you mean. I spotted those the other day too but didn't have time for a try on. They looked lovely though. x

  4. Charlotte Schmidt
    May 20, 2015 / 5:23 pm

    I like the look of Warehouse pants. They look like they could work. Thanks.

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