Making the Case for Big Pants

I know, that sounds ridiculous, but that’s because it is.


Something happens to the way I feel about my closet at the same time every winter.

January rears its unapologetic head, the cold becomes insufferable and as a result, I can look only toward the warmer days of a pseudo-Spring and indubitable, distant summer. Of course, those days don’t just seem but are so far away, so I can barely wrap my head around whether what I see when I project is an inviting beach chair or a killer polar bear determined to crush my dreams of bare legs, and then I get frustrated.

My clothes don’t look right anymore. They’re staler than month-old crackers. My sweaters are pilling, my pants are perennially creased and my skin is just about to adopt its annual green glow. My mom will ask me if I’m sick the next time she sees me and in my most melodramatic tone I will say “only of the weather.” She will roll her eyes and I will bat my lashes, placing the front of my hand on my forehead like a high school drama student with subpar talent and then we will get on with our days. I will wonder how much longer I must wait before I can finally indulge in white cotton and yellow linen and straw and paper umbrellas again and then I remember: it’s still January.

Is this obsession with moving forward, with escaping the cold precisely what turns me off from my closet? A place I used to revere but now feel so overwhelmed with — namely by its failure?

And what’s the fix?

Simply, I have learned, to put one particular garment under attack. This is usually the one that I have exploited most comprehensively through the duration of the not-yet-over season and this year, I’m battling skinny pants. Why? Because they’re comfortable, they’re predicatable, they’re my default. They are almost always painted onto my legs and right now, I need to look different.

Enter my making the case for wide leg pants. (First up: THESE).

This is not to detract from the allure of skinnies, though. They look nice with boots and compliment long coats and large sweaters. I know plenty of women who would never give up slim pants but I suppose that what is perhaps most compelling about fashion and style is that one woman’s cigarette leg can become another’s lung cancer.

Wide leg pants offer promise. Of better, larger meals (thigh circumference be damned!), of cropped blouses and more interesting top-wear. Of short coats and a call to your most comfortable footwear (no one can see them and you know what they say: pics or it didn’t happen). That they should allow your legs to look 40% longer without calling to attention the height of your heels is another point of victory.

Of course, it’s only a matter of time before those become stale too and I must feel inclined to forgo their use in the name of something new. But hopefully by the time that happens we’re back in denim diaper season, paper umbrella floating romantically between the ice cubes of a refreshing Sea Breeze.

Get more Personal Style ?
  • Yes to all of this.

  • winter sucks. really sucks.

    • Amen to that! Which is one reason why I moved from MI to NC (^_^)

  • Katharina

    with pants like these I could skip my diet! Bye bye skinny jeans! 😉
    Katharina //

  • chanelle

    i love these pants!!

  • marinacasapu

    This reminded me of an outfit post of yours featuring an amazing pair of white wide leg pants.

  • Amara Howe

    I own roughly 10 pairs of skinny jeans however only (ever) wear one pair: my perfect fit, black high-waisted skinnies with rips in the knees. That pair has put ‘The View’ to shame – I’ve had the same jeans on for 6 days now…. umm maybe i’ll try out these bad boys.

    you are such a beautiful writer, my absolute role model!
    read my recent review on Leandras ‘Seeking Love. Finding Overalls’ regarding ketchup sodden knickers and shit strewn shoes

  • Sash Mosphere

    Maybe we could make the “inexpensive” pair in the lot not a thin one, that looks like a beach towel. This is Winter still, and, we aren’t going to be able to wear these pants everyday, like skinny jeans ( which do justify their $300 tag for jeans). Maybe put up a cheap pair- just cause? Even Allure does that.

  • “…woman’s cigarette leg can become another’s lung cancer”. I feel bad of laughing reading this remember that my relative had lung cancer but ha you are funny.
    I’ve worn wide leg pants pretty often since a kid. I’ve told my self once: get over those pants but few weeks ago I found my self purchased new one. Never heard compliments…probably not that flattering on me but I’ll keep wide leg it away:))

  • Cyrena Monique

    I’m looking for more of an oversized slouch than a wide ankle swinger. Maybe in the summer I’ll think differently. I’m off to make some oversized slacks. C x

  • My problem with wide-legged paints that they always look wrinkly and sloppy on me. I’m just not chic/tall/neat enough to pull them off. You look great in them though!

  • Kiri Yanchenko

    ah yes – the wide leg pant. I got a great pair of Céline ones on sale in DJs here in OZ and I styled them in my latest outfit post on my blog. I love them. They’re so comfortable.

  • that grid pants suit….*tears*

  • Julie Meowmeows

    ASOS has a ton of wide leg options, and they aren’t very pricey:

  • Lisa

    I always want to wear a pair of these but I somehow never dare to in the end… I guess I should just go for it (wait, I need to get myself a pair first.)

    Lisa – AT LEAST BLOG

  • Lory

    Great post, I love wide leg pants! x

  • LuluBI

    No no no. Not for the busty, narrow hipped, short-waisted gal. Same goes for the return of the mom jean

  • I want to try these but I’m so darn short!!

  • swashi

    Big pants are absolutely the best. I found a pair of great culottes on sale at a resale shop that are just waiting for warmer weather… waiting in the darkness of my closets, waiting to be worn with a polka dot scoop neck top… waiting…

  • Cardinham Killigrew

    I just don’t get it. Now I do love tight up top and flared below knee….
    Max Mara good tones, not sure on fit…
    @cardinhamkilligrew:disqus – C|K Lotions and Balms

  • the coattail effect

    I love me some big ol’ pants. especially huge plaid woolly ones that remind me of the joker.

  • Behind the Mirror

    This is so true. I have never thought about it before, but you just captured exactly what happens this time of year so beautifully. This also explains why I was shopping like a lunatic online last night…