5 Ways to Wear Cropped Wide-Leg Trousers

Proof that jeans are not the only pants you can wear over and over



This month’s installment of 5 Ways, 5 Days features Meredith Melling — co-founder of La Marque and La Ligne— in one pair of high-waisted sailor pants.

If you’re a price-per-wear kind of shopper, you’ll know the justifications get a little tricky (embarrassing?) when a memorable pair of pants is involved. But I have good news for you and bad news for your wallet. In this month’s installment of 5 Ways, 5 Days, Meredith Melling, co-founder of La Marque and La Ligne, coaches us on how to get a week of diverse outfits out of one pair of cropped wide-leg trousers. She makes it look easy. Instructional below! (Plus a slideshow above.)

Day 1:

Meredith Melling Burke Style What to Wear Man Repeller-14

La Ligne turtleneck, vintage shearling coat from Reformation — another here, by FAR boots, straw bag from the square in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico — similar here

To get out of the door on a cold Monday morning, I rely on my winter weather uniform — a turtleneck and jeans, my trusted combo for as long as I can remember. The proportions, however, have evolved over the years: In the ’80s, it was XXXL sweaters and Guess skinny, zipper jeans; in the ’90s, cropped turtlenecks and baggy men’s jeans; in the early 2000s, more balanced proportions inspired by Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy’s refined style. These days, I’ve been drawn to high-waisted pants. I discovered these Jesse Kamm ones on a trip to L.A. last year. They’ve been a staple ever since and I love styling them with a tucked in, skinny-fit ribbed turtleneck. The vintage fur and basket bag are a nod to the omni-inspiring Jane Birkin. Worship.

Day 2:

Vintage sweater from Sleepy Jones — similar here and here, La Ligne T-shirt, 3.1 Phillip Lim boots

I grew up in New England, so I am weirdly drawn to the itchy, wool sweaters of my childhood. I found this one at Sleepy Jones, and now it’s family. It happens to pair nicely with stripes, which is key.

Day 3:

Miu Miu rainbow sweater, Trademark shearling coat, Dries Van Noten boots, Simon Miller bag

My daughter hosts a cooking night with her friends at our house on Wednesdays, and I thought this rainbow knit would be a tween crowd-pleaser. It’s playful and I like that the hem of the knit just kisses the top of the pants.

Everyone (myself included) salivates over Ali MacGraw’s wardrobe in Love Story, but Ryan O’Neal has a moment in the film where he’s wearing a shearling coat that I have been on a hunt for and FINALLY found at Trademark. I’m big on tiny bags at the moment. If it fits my phone and a credit card, I’m pretty much good to go.

Day 4:

Marc by Marc Jacobs lace turtleneck — similar here, La Ligne top and poncho, 3.1 Phillip Lim boots, fringed bag from the Hoja Santa hotel in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico — another here

Clearly, I’m very inspired by my recent trip to San Miguel de Allende! The long, strapped fringe bag was a find from a hotel shop there. The poncho and lace turtleneck were already in my closet, but the trifecta is a real homage!

Day 5:

Meredith Melling Burke Style What to Wear Man Repeller-93

La Ligne shirt and coat, Robert Clergerie shoes, Monica Vinader earrings, Olympia Le-Tan clutch

TGIF. My husband and I have a weekly Friday morning breakfast, so I dressed up a little for him today. I didn’t get my ears pierced until college so I always forget to wear earrings. But when I do remember, I feel very fancy and adorned. Pajama dressing is one of my favorite trends to emerge over the past couple of seasons and I’m really on board with it (we’ve even instituted a monthly Pajama Friday at the La Ligne offices where we order breakfast for lunch!). I also wear this robe coat around my house, so it is literally my day to night to day dressing piece. These slides have a slipper vibe, while my clutch hints at bedtime reading. I said I was on board, right?!

Follow Meredith on Instagram @meredithmelling. Follow her brands La Ligne @laligne and La Marque @lamarquenyc. Photos by Krista Anna Lewis.

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  • Olivia

    YES thank you for this post! I haven’t worn my Kamm pants in forever and was needing some inspiration. That last look is everything!!

  • Looks 3, 4 and 5 are faves !

    / ORR – Life & Style Journal

  • Samantha Lee

    I basically, exclusively, wear high waists now. They’re just too good (when they’re fitted) – hold everything in AND make my butt look good? Yes please. I’m determined to make the cropped wide legs work but am not sure they really do with my short frame. Has anyone tried the new high waist, cropped Everlane pants that just got released?

    • Ashley Minyard

      Those are at the top of my list to try! I’m planning to drop into their showroom sometime this weekend to check it out. I’ll try and circle back with some info ~

      • Samantha Lee

        Woohoo, thanks! I know they are claiming the pants are flattering on everyone, but unless this is some Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants magic, not sure that’s possible.

  • I really want to get into cropped wide leg trousers, but perhaps not white and I think I might need a slightly higher crop because I’m so short but this has given me so much inspo

    – Natalie

  • Aydan

    I love this look! I’ve been rocking jumpsuits with this kind of wide cropped pant leg and sometimes I wonder if I can truly pull it off–but damn if it isn’t comfortable!!

  • JB

    This is when my “don’t wear trends when they aren’t flattering on you” alarm goes off. I’m 5’2″ and these new trouser cuts I keep seeing (wide leg, cropped, cropped flare, etc) just make me look shorter and kind of ridiculous. Cute on the model, but what are some options for us sexy shorties?

    • leisurefox

      i’m 5’1, curvy, and i love wide leg trousers! i just never wear them with flats (higher the heel the better honestly) and make sure that i’ve got some ankle showing 🙂 also i say no to anything that’s not high waisted

  • me

    Absolutely loved this! I like the concept of wide crops in theory, but was never quite sure what the silhouette should look like in reality.

    Thank you, Meredith: this was a great PSA for us newbies!

  • Greer Clarke

    That 5th look is amazing!!!!

  • Pandora Sykes

    I LOVE LA LIGNE. She is also hella chic

  • EJS

    *Pulls out every piece of clothing I own in attempts to recreate these looks*

  • Emy M

    Day 3. Perfection, Over the rainbow.

  • Ashley Minyard

    I actually just acquired some white wide-leg, high-waisted vintage Levi’s (which are making their debut today!) that have very similar vibes to these. I’ve been puzzling over how to wear them, and a little apprehensive, but this post alleviated most of my fears. Thanks for the inspo, MR.

  • Shea

    I suddenly desperately need white, wide legged trousers…

    • leisurefox

      i actually just got the cutest pair from old navy lol

  • Nicole

    The new Uniqlo U SS17 drop makes a pair of pants like these, and from trying them on a couple times I’d say they’re pretty much spot-on. Y’all are welcome 🙂

  • Eva Skewes

    I just recently bought these exact pants, but they’re at the tailor so the waist can be taken in (you really do need to buy them to fit the butt)!

  • Thefullcolorlife

    Gosh I love all these looks!


  • Abby

    Very late public service announcement that Jesse Kamm wide-leg pants are exact copies of WWII US Navy pants. Just ordered a pair online for 10 dollars and they are identical in every single way. Hope to save some people desperate for Kamm pants $385 dollars.

    • Kelly Linares