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If My Mom Can Wear Wide-Leg Pants, So Can You

They’re for everyone, despite what you might’ve heard.

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Checked Trousers
Zara Checked Wide Leg Trousers, $89.90

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If you’re not already wearing wide-leg pants, you’ve probably at least thought about it. The trend started on the runways a few years ago and at this point has trickled down to pretty much everywhere; they’re in Zara and H&M, in all the indie boutiques, in Everlane, even in Target. Despite the style’s ubiquity, we’ll still get questions about what to wear with them or where to find a good pair for certain body types — short, tall, plus, etc. — suggesting that many people still don’t feel like the silhouette will work for them right off the shelf.

But! I’ve seen people of all shapes, sizes, and ages pull off wide-leg pants of all rises and lengths. My middle-aged neighbor looks just as cute in high-waisted wide-leg denim as my teenage cousin does in her pleated satin wide-leg lounge pants. And I at least feel like I look as good in my own DIY-cropped chinos as my most stylish friend does in her perfectly tailored wide-leg work trousers.

Wide Leg Pants
The pants that were comically huge on me, but looked awesome on my mom.
Photo: Condor via Garmentory

In my own orbit, it seems like the only person who hasn’t totally come around to the trend is my mom, who (not unlike many moms) is a pretty good barometer for when things have been fully embraced by the wider culture. She’s got impeccable taste but tends to play it pretty safe. I stopped letting her pick out my outfits when I was about 3 years old, but she was in town the other day when I got a pair of wide-leg pants delivered in the mail from a designer consignment store, so I tried them on and had her be the judge. They were a size too big and I’m really short, so they ended up being comically huge on me. My mom beat around no bushes and told me I looked like a clown in balloon pants. (I did.)

But when I made her try them on, we were both surprised by how good they looked — especially after she tucked in her white T-shirt and added a long-line cashmere vest, which she told me she bought forever ago and is happy that they’re now back in style. She hung out in her new outfit for a solid hour and reported back that they’re the most comfortable pants she’s worn in a long time.

Even though she looked awesome, I couldn’t convince her to wear them to her work meetings the next day. But I’m betting that our latest shopping story on the very best wide-leg pants out right now can convince her to try another pair, maybe one that’s more suited to her own look. Who knows: If you’re skeptical about “pulling them off,” maybe we can convince you, too.

(Psst — if you’re a shortie like me, check out this helpful post we ran earlier in the year on all the things you can do to make the pants work for a petite frame.)