amaze plus size magazine

AmaZingly FIT
by terri murray

Pants, Pants and More Pants!

As we start looking towards spring fashion it’s a good time to look through your closet and separate what you need and don't need in your pant wardrobe. Not just any trousers, but those that are stylish, up to date and most importantly… Great fitting. Are you petite, average or tall? And what is the difference and how do I know?

I recommend organizing your pants together in your closet according to color and style.   For example hang all black pants, black capris, then black crops, black denim, etc.  Then do the same with the other colors as well so it is easier to access for pulling together your look. 

Take a good look at yourself in a mirror.  Do you need a petite, average or tall?  Measure yourself and know your body shape - Wearing a full brief for this exercise allows you to see your waistline defined in the mirror.  Or tie a string around your natural waist.  Place a tape measure at the top of your panty in the front snuggly through your legs to the top of your waist in the back.  This is your rise measurement.    Most pants are average, but you may find you need petite or tall.  Most department, online stores and catalogs offer a good selection of petite and tall. 

Are you a conservative or classic style?  Don't think you could wear some of the new trends?  Make it your own style and translate a gaucho to something you would feel comfortable in.  For example:  Gauchos in classic lightweight menswear pinstripe:  Wear a tailored shirt or lightweight cashmere sweater and a classic jacket, with a platform or wedge pump.  Same gauchos a trendy setting:  Satin embellished tank, denim or suede jacket, and stilettos or ballerina flats.  Add long chains or crystal bead necklace in variegated lengths, and a smaller clutch bag for elegance. 

Lengths for work and weekend.  It seems that now anything goes for work except at banks and law firms, which are still very conservative.  If you do choose to wear gauchos or crops for example, take into consideration what you see in your office or place of employment.  It never hurts to ask and always look a little more put together.  Save your very casual accessories for home and play unless that is your place of work.

A ‘fad’ is clothing that is in style around 6 months; a ‘trend’ is usually around a couple of years working it’s way down on the price scale every season. To me, different names for varying lengths of pants, trousers, jeans etc. is a little confusing. 


Here are a few style names to choose from: 

[1] Flat Front - Flat in front, no pleats and are contrary to what you might think, flattering on most plus size women.  This has become the staple waistline for all trousers and pants, and even shorts for a slim silhouette and less bulk at the waist with tops.

[2] Pleated Trousers - Pleats in front.  Don't buy these too small.  The pleat will open up which is unflattering on any size woman. Make sure there is no more than one pleat for less bulk. We feel these are an older style of pant unless it is matched and sold with a jacket in a pantsuit.

[3] Gauchos  - Look for them in all fabrics from knit to light weight wool. This trend has gone from fall to spring but be careful it is not pulling in the crotch area, so you may need to go up a size for the gauchos to float from the waist to mid-calf.

[4] Capri’s/Crops - Shorter, usually hitting mid calf, but a lot of petite women find they are more cropped on their frames. Fairly loose slim leg pant, but this season we have seen wider leg with cuffs for work-wear. Named after the Island of Capri (think Sophia Lauren!)

[5] Pedal Pushers - One account says they were designed by a woman of a swimsuit company who was tired of her pants getting caught in her bicycle chain and cut off her pants to a loose, calf-length sometimes with a cuff.  This designer also pioneered the skirt to wrap around your swimsuit and two-piece swimsuits.

[6] Jeans - So many to choose from - classic straight leg, flare, boot-cut/bootleg, embellished, color enhanced. But we are going to stress that the darker the denim the longer the silhouette looks. Check in the back and make sure the pockets are the right size on your bottom and not too small or too big in placement

[7] Toreadors - In the style of Spanish bullfighters with lace or pleated at the knees.  I heard Mick Jagger had them on during one of his concerts not too long ago.

[8] Cargo Pants - Pants with side pockets approximately 14" - 15" below waist usually centered on the side seam of the pant.  Not the best choice for those with a fuller thigh.

[9] Wide Leg - Usually close fitting at top and wider at the leg opening than the knee.  Usually you will see these in a wide range of styles from special occasion to casual and now in Capri and gaucho shapes in 2006.

[10] Slim Leg/Peg Leg - Narrow leg to hem.  Some are ankle length. Make sure you are balancing out the top and wearing a heel to lengthen your silhouette

[11] Flare/Boot-cut - Knee is shaped and leg opening is wider.

[12] Low Rise - Below the belly button and zipper is very short. Make sure your top is long enough unless you want spillage in the backside at the waistline. This is best for the 20 something curvy group!

[13] Drawstring - Looser around the waist, sometimes with elastic and a drawstring to tie. This season look for the flat front variety for the best line.

[14] Custom Fit - Several online companies offer custom fit.  Be sure to read return policies.  A couple to try are JCPenney Custom Fit, Lands’ End and Levi’s.  There are others that offer this service.

[15] This spring and summer don't forget Bermuda shortsThey should end slightly above the knee.  So hem them if you need to.  This October I cruised to Bermuda. It is a beautiful country with lots of men running around in their suits and Bermuda shorts and knee-highs.  Quite a sight.   From the beach, we took a pretty pink taxi back to the ship.   Our driver was adorable in his pink button down oxford shirt, pink Bermuda shorts and pink knee-highs!

POCKETS: Fit is important.  Pants that are too tight cause pockets to bulge at the opening and is not flattering.  Train your eye for fit rather than a size.  Clothes that fit are more flattering than wearing big clothes that you think hide your body.  I like flat pockets in the back if they are not too wide from center back or too low.

SHAPEWEAR: You don't want panty lines (VPL) so don't forget you must have shapewear for a smooth look in your bottoms on the more lightweight fabrics.

FIT: Your neighborhood tailor or cleaners is a great place to alter to the perfect length for you and for the trouble involved for me to hem, it is well worth the effort and money (usually $8 - $10 per pant).  I take them in, try them on, leave for hemming and cleaning if necessary and they are ready to be picked up in a couple of days.  I don't know about you, but in the past I had more than a few pants hanging around waiting for me to hem.  Also remember that if you buy flare or boot cut jeans/pants and need to shorten quite a bit, the flare of the leg opening will be cut off and you may not have the flare or boot cut look you wanted.  If you hem your own casual pants, add about 1/2" to allow for shrinkage.



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