Outfit Proportions—Pants Edition: 5 Different Styles

One of the things that I see many women struggle with when getting dressed is correct outfit proportions. And up until a year or so ago, I totally struggled with the same thing. Creating balance in an outfit can be challenging, but once you figure out which pieces are the most complimentary, it suddenly becomes easy.

Today I want to show you five different kinds of pants, and pieces that compliment them to flatter your body and bring balance to your outfit. Keep in mind that some of the “Don’t” photos are still worn by some to create a specific look, and sometimes even look fantastic with the right body type and styling. However, for the average woman, the “Do” photos will create silhouettes that are the most beautiful and flattering, and outfits that are the most proportioned and balanced.

Check out these 5 common pants styles, styled disproportionally and proportionally:

  • Outfit Proportions for 5 Common Pairs of Pants 1 of 11
    Outfit Proportions

    I'm here to help!

  • Skinny Jean – DON’T! 2 of 11

    For most women, the hips and tummy are where they carry the most weight. So avoid pairing fitted tops and jeans since they'll emphasize the skinniest areas and leave the middle looking the widest. Not a good shape. 

    Pointed flats are trendy and cute, but be careful when wearing them with super skinny jeans because they can make your feet look extra long. 

  • Skinny Jean – DO! 3 of 11

    Instead, try a fuller blouse to balance the skinniness of the jeans. Also, try a rounded toe flat (or a pointed flat that doesn't have a sharp point), to keep your feet from looking a mile long. 

  • Boyfriend Jean – DON’T! 4 of 11

    Boyfriend jeans are so big right now, and they come in all varieties of size. Mine here are more fitted, but I often see pairs that are very oversized. Be careful pairing oversized blouses and boots with them, as it can look like you bought all the wrong size of clothes. 

  • Boyfriend Jean – DO! 5 of 11

    Instead, pair them with more feminine, fitted, or structured pieces (lace, florals, embellishments!), and a strappy pair of heels. Then those boyfriends jeans look sexy instead of slumpy. 

  • Straight Leg Jean/Flares – DON’T! 6 of 11

    Flared and wide leg jeans are very flattering on pretty much everyone, and are also flattering with most tops. However, because of the fullness of the leg, they can make your legs look stumpy when paired with flats. 

  • Straight Leg Jean/Flares – DO! 7 of 11

    Instead, try a pair of wedges or heels to keep the line of the leg long and avoid the bunchiness at the feet!

  • Wide Leg Pant – DON’T! 8 of 11

    Extra wide leg pants are making a comeback these days, and although they are fun, they can also become overwhelming to your figure really quickly. Avoid pairing fitted tees with them since that will just accentuate the fullness of your pants. Also, if they are long, like mine, skip the flats. 

  • Wide Leg Pant – DO! 9 of 11

    Instead, try a top with some structure (like a collar and buttons) to balance out the fullness and looseness of the pants. Also, try a wedge sandal to keep your summery look but also add some height so those pants aren't dragging on the ground. 

  • Cropped Trouser – DON’T 10 of 11

    Cropped or rolled trousers are a great wardrobe piece, but when paired with a structured top it can look a little too professional for me (that certainly has a place, but is not the look I'm going for as a stay at home mom). Also, flats with ankle straps cut off the line of the leg and make your legs look stumpy. 

  • Cropped Trouser – DO! 11 of 11

    Instead, opt for a loose, casual tee, like this striped one, that helps balance out the professionalism. Then add a pair of wedges to elongate the leg and keep you looking long and lean. 

Find more of Merrick’s style and writing at Merrick’s Art. 

You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook


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