45 undeniable pants truths you need to know
Great Northwest denim shirt with Loft flare jeans, white Fossil denim jacket, Coach bag, Studio strappy multi-color sandals and statement belt (all own)
In this post
    1. Pants can mean iconic style
    2. Pants can hide flaws over 40
    3. The full truth about looking chic in pants over 40
        • Trousers outfit inspirations



Disclosure: This post has affiliate links.

Pants can mean iconic style

One of the ultimate pants style icons is probably Lauren Bacall. She once said

I wear pants almost exclusively so I can sit like a truck driver. I own one dress – an evening gown.

I wear pants almost exclusively so I can sit like a truck driver. I own one dress - an evening gown. - Lauren Bacall #fashionquote Click To Tweet

Many women over 50 remember times when women weren’t allowed to wear pants or jeans to school. When we also happened to be the oldest girl in the family, we had to fight our way to finally wear them. Many of us made the experience that the younger sister(s) took the position of the parents. However, after you declared victory, she/they were the first to wear benefit from your battles.

how to pick your perfect pants

Pants can hide flaws over 40

Whether it was the fight to wear what we wanted or just the comfort like for Lauren Bacall, most of us still love to wear pants or jeans. A new reason may be that they perfectly hide spider veins and/or bumps on the legs. Let’s get down to the bottom of why pants are great for us over 40 and which ones to wear. In the following, I will just use the word “trousers” when it doesn’t matter whether we are talking about jeans, pants, slacks, cargoes, etc.

 fashion blogger in business casual outfit looking chic in straight brown trousers

style blogger donning straight leather pants and an Irish blazer for a posh office look

#midlifestyle woman looking posh in straight leather pants
Outfit details: Orvis Irish blazer, GNW Luxe sweater, I.N.C. straight leather pants (similar), Nine West plateau loafers, Hermes collier de chien bangle,  Festina watch, DKNY socks (all own), and leather pearl necklace c/o Wendy Mignot

The full truth about looking chic in pants over 40

It is important to find the best pair for your body-type. Not sure what’s your body type? Take this free body shape quiz to find out and get the most out of the tips below.

  1. Trousers hide spider veins and/or bumps.
  2. Some trousers styles are best for one shape or the other.
  3. Cropped trousers shorten your legs.
  4. Wide trousers shorten your legs unless they have a high waist 40s style.
  5. Just because everyone wears cropped or wide trousers is not a reason that you wear them when they actually shorten your legs.
  6. Evening cropped trousers look terrific with high-heeled ankle strap evening shoes. Just make sure that the fabric will not get caught in the buckles.
  7. When you are slim and petite, go for slim leg trousers.
  8. When you are long-legged high waist wide leg trousers work for you with flat. Otherwise go for plateau shoes at add height and a hem that is 1/2 inch above the ground when wearing the plateau shoes.
  9. Low waist trousers elongate your torso, i.e. they are great for women with short torso, and bad for those with long torso.
  10. When you have a short torso, stay away from high waist trousers. They shorten your torso even more and sit under your boobs. Recall an “empire waist” is a style for dresses, never for trousers.
  11. Low waist trousers bear the risk to expose the Y of your bum or the tail of your thong. Any exposure of this kind is never in style. Thus, always sit down and take a selfie of your derriere to make sure you are covered appropriately.
  12. When wearing low rise trousers make sure your top is long enough to cover their waist band.
  13. Getting the leg length right is important. While there is the classic rule that the hem should hit just 1/2 of an inch over the ground, trends may be different. Thus, have classic cuts that will be basics in your wardrobe hemmed this way and buy them in the best quality you can effort. Go cheap on those with trendy leg lengths like the leather pants in this phost.
  14. Unless your bum is flat like a pancake, avoid pockets with flaps.
  15. Small back pocket make your bum look huge, while large back pockets do the opposite.
  16. Pleat-front trousers carry off. If you don’t need the illusion of that extra weight, skip them.
  17. Only when you have a tummy that carves in you can wear pleated trousers.
  18. Floarl print trousers are for vacation, open air festivals, garden and beach parties. Don’t wear them downtown.
  19. Animal print pants come back on a perenial cycle. Thus, wear them only when they are (again) trendy. You can find how to wear snakeprint pants in the post at the link.
  20. Wear white trousers after Labor Day for ageless style in a fall or winter outfit. So chic and unexpected.
  21. Trouser worn with a dress are a do. However, watch which dress length is on trend at the moment (short tunics vs. knee length or longer than this).
  22. No matter how perfect your body is, anything that bulks out of the trousers waist band looks like you have a huge tummy and/or bum. (That’s why I am not a big fan of blouses and button-down shirts!). However, you can do a half-tuck like in the jeans outfit inspiration with the floral blouse later in this post.
  23. When you wear skinnies with high boots, try to stay as close to the same color to not visually cut your legs in half. You can find more on how to style tall boots at this link.
  24. Buy your jeans in a dark wash. They look slimming and more posh. Plus they last longer. Any change of the wash “wastes” water and might harm the environment. When the distress is cause by blowing sand on the fabric, small particles less than 2.5 µm in diameter may enter the lungs of the employee who does this job. On the long-term it may harm their health.
  25. When you are on the fence between jeans sizes, go for the lower size.
  26. When you find a pair of jeans that make your bum look hot get two pairs, one to wear with flats, one to wear with heels.
  27. Skinnies look awesome with a chunky sweater and high heels when you have great legs.
  28. When you have slim legs, wear your skinnies with stilettos and a slim cut blazer for date night. It’s a nice Rock’n Roll attitude.
  29. When you want to wear cargo pants go for a slim cut. Make sure all pockets are flat and basically useless to carry anything in them. Otherwise they will add weight in undesired locations. You don’t want to risk to look like a walking diamond.
  30. Unless you are in your twenties, cargo pants need a high heel, no matter whether the heel is chunky, stiletto, skinny, strappy, …
  31. Leggings bear a high risk to make you a fashion victim. Important pre-requisites are slim legs and knees. Only style them with a tunic, sweater, trench coat, shirt or dress that entirely cover your bum. When leggings are along your line read this post to avoid the most common mistakes to look great in leggings.
  32. When you are on the curvy side, classic or relaxed fits are best for you that sit on the hips rather than on your waist. Your waistband should sit just below your nattural waist. The legs should skim your legs, i.e. not be tight. Furthermore, stay away from small back pockets, wide away set back pockets, and back pockets with flaps. They all make your curves look even wider than they are already.
  33. When you are curvy and have a tiny waist go for low rise stretch jeans with straight legs. Doing so avoids to have a gap between your hips and waist, i.e. you get a better fit.
  34. When you are curvy and have a tiny waist avoid all high-waist trousers like the plague. They make your hips look unproportionally large compared to your waist. Who needs to look unbalanced?
  35. When your bum is flat, decorated not body-concious, but slim stretch jeans with decorated back pockets or flaps are your best bet jeans-wise.
  36. When your bum is flat, stay away from boyfriend jeans, baggy or loose trousers, and trousers in stiff fabrics.
  37. When your tights are heavy go for an easy fit around your hips. Stay away from tapered trousers and tucking in.
  38. When your tights are heavy bootcut jeans can balance your tighs.
  39. When you are straight up-and-down like a light pol, the boy friend jeans are for you. Depending on whether you have a long or short torso go for high and low rise, respectively.
  40. Jeans always look best in a medium weight (12 oz). However, when you are living in a cold climate region wear leggings underneath or go for Alaska weight (16 oz).
  41. When your trousers have belt loops and you tuck your top in, wear a belt that fits for the size of the belt loops.
  42. Match your belt to the color of your trousers when you are short-legged and/or have a long torso to elongate your legs. Match it to the top when you have a short torso and/or long legs.
  43. Watch the proportions. Slim trousers can take wide tops, wide trousers need slim top.
  44. Boyfriend jeans need a heel unless you are a twenty something.
  45. Cuffed trousers shorten your leg. Leave them to the 5 ft 10 (1.78 m) women.

Trousers outfit inspirations

Don’t let the right outfit be a random thing. Wear the right look in every situation by looking up what to wear when in How to Dress for Success in Midlife. Buy my book now.

zoom on Alaskan weekend look with hoodie, button-down, bf jeans, mules, sunnies and fringe bag Oliveo button-donw shirt, statement gemstone necklace, statement belt, London Jean boyfriends, Festina watch, upcycled Vittoria Vernai shearling coat (all own), wooden sunnies c/o Winkwood, fringe purse c/o Uno Alla Volta and Matisse embroidered mules c/o Soft Surroundings
Nicole of High Latitude Style in trendy trousers, gemstone belt, pendant necklace, and silk blouse eShakti paper bag trousers, gemstone belt, Hermes collier de chien bangle, quartz pendant necklace, hair pin, statement rings, Escada denim heeled booties (all own) and silk blouse c/o LilySilk
Nicole in a size S jacket, size 0 pants, size XS top Dyed Notations blazer, Miu Miu croc imprint pumps, gemstone buckle, croc imprint wide belt (all own), tear-drop 3/4 sleeve layering shirt c/o Covered Perfectly, and slim stretch crop pants c/o White House | Black Market
50+ Alaskan in glencheck high waist trousers Great Northwest denim jacket, Pendleton glencheck high-waist wide trousers, Kieselstein Cord Belt, ethnic buckle, Moda International cashmere sweater, LeatherCoatsEtc wool beret (all own), and Musse & Cloud booties c/o Coolway
Blogger Nicole looking posh casual in ankle length jeans Shirt and pants both c/o Etyl Clothingstyled with own DIY bangle and necklace, Hermes collier de chien bangle, smokyquartz statement belt, and Glora VanderBilt red pumps
over 50 years old style blogger in spring business casual work outfit with hoodie cardigan animal print top, linnen pants, Gucci footwear GNW leopard print cardigan worn as top, Oliveo linen pants, GG pumps, Ray Ban sunglasses, structured bag, Judith Leiber gemstone charm belt (all own) and cape hoodie c/o Tricia Tanaka
casual look with capri Leather capri with Vintage Silk floral top and GNW leopard print cardigan and LV bucket bag (all own)
street style blogger in silver leather statement pants Anne Klein cashmere sweater, Dolce & Gabanna Madonna sunglasses, Steve Madden sandals and no brand name statement silver leather pants

When you like these outfit ideas, please feel free to pin them to your own Pinterest board.

Which style of trousers is your favorite? Which style would you like to try, but never did? What are your style challenges wearing trousers?

Are you interested in what to look for in a Fair Isle or the original details of an Irish cable knit sweater or a Norwegian Lice jacket? If so check the posts at the links.

Join the High Latitude Style tribe. Register for my Newsletter to let you know about new posts, how tos  and special style subjects? I’d highly appreciate it if you take the time to sign up and ask your friends to sign up too!!

Photos: G. Kramm

© 2013-2020 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved