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PatternReview Blog > The Love/Hate Relationship With the Popular Trends...Wide Leg Pant and the Skinny Jean! By Angela Wolf
The Love/Hate Relationship With the Popular Trends...Wide Leg Pant and the Skinny Jean! By Angela Wolf By Angela Wolf on 3/7/11 12:29 PM

The Love/Hate Relationship With the Popular Trends...Wide Leg Pant and the Skinny Jean!
by Angela Wolf

Angela Wolf is the designer and founder behind ABO Apparel, Angela Wolf Ready-to-Wear and ABO Sport. An A-list clientele has given Angela more than fifteen years of experience dressing and fitting many diverse women and has enabled her to understand the different styles that compliment each individual woman.

The wide leg pant...

Well, as you have probably noticed the wide leg pant is very popular for spring/summer and even into fall/winter for 2011. I often hear women say, "I can never wear those pants. They make me look short and wide!" Just the effect we want our clothing to have, right? I don't think so! Although every trend is not for everyone, I can give you a few tips on how to pull off this look.

First, consider your overall proportion when coordinating tops and jackets. Keep the rule 1/3 - 2/3 or 2/3 - 1/3. That means never cut your body in half. You will see this rule come to fruition here. The pants will end up covering 2/3 of your body, and your shorter jacket will cover the remaining 1/3. (If you have questions on this, let me know and I can explain further).

  • Keep the jackets and tops short, ending at your natural waistline.
  • The hem can be the magic trick here, especially if you wear heels. Hem the pants 1/4" from the floor, unless the pants are white or a very light color, then go with 1/2" from the floor so the bottom edge doesn't get dirty.

So what's the big deal about heels? With the hem so close to the floor, you are covering up your heels, giving the illusion of longer legs. I must admit, I have a bit of a shoe fetish ... or is there a term "shoe-aholic"? I love my three-inch heels, and, with the longer pant hem, I visually gain 2 inches in leg. Not too shabby!

Another thing you can do is taper the legs a little from the hip to the knee and then back out to the hem, creating a little more of an exaggerated boot leg style.

In all actuality, be realistic about your own figure, and remember not every trend flatters everyone. If you try on the wide leg pants and all you see are short, wide legs bag this trend! I have to admit, I bought a pair of brown linen, wide-legged pants three years ago. Every time I try them on, I HATE the look, and the pants go right back into the closet. Those pants make me feel like I gained ten pounds overnight, despite the fact I have very long legs AND wear the major heels! I realized it was the linen that ruined the look for me. I have since designed a pair made of wool gabardine, and I live in them all winter. It is amazing that fabric can make such a difference; keep that in mind.

Pictured: "Ashley Top" and the "Rachel Skinny Jeans" from the Angela Wolf Collection for Spring/Summer 2011

The skinny jean ...

Now take a 180 degree turn to the skinny jean and jeggings. Did I hit another nerve? It is amazing that the two hardest trends to pull off are in a marriage for the next year. So, if you attempt this trend, think totally opposite of what I just told you:

  • Hem to the ankle. It is even more fashionable if the hem scrunches at the ankle like the picture above.
  • This look goes great with flats or heels!
  • Wear longer, loose tops and try layering those longer tops.

A few patterns that fall in line with the new trends...

It looks like The Sewing Workshop has a couple of patterns that would look great, including tops that would complement the pants!

Valencia Jacket & Pants (Sewing Workshop)

Plaza Jacket & Pant (Sewing Workshop)

For those of you looking for a great fall/winter pant, this Vogue 8717 pants pattern would be awesome in a wool gabardine. Cute jacket too!

Vogue Patterns 8717: Misses' Vest, Jacket and Pants

I actually have a jean similar to this Burda 8488 in my collections this spring - very cute, very sleek ... although my top is a bit longer!

Burda 8488: Trousers/pants

Burda 7863: Pants/trousers

The Burda 7486 version with the longer top looks great!

Burda 7486: Tunic & Pants

For those of you looking for a great jeggings pattern, be sure to check out McCall's 6173!

McCall's 6173: Misses'/Miss Petite Pants and Leggings

As always, have fun sewing and if you have any personal styling questions, feel free to ask.

I look forward to meeting many of you at PatternReview's 10-year anniversary event in Chicago!

Like this article? You can "like" Angela Wolf on Facebook here.

21 Comments      Login to Add a Comment    
SusanaM said... (3/13/11 5:30 PM) Reply
Might be interesting to know, the "loose top over skinny jeans wrinkled at the ankle look is very similar to and probably derived from the Indian "churidar kameez" (the embroidery patterns used on the kameez [tunics] are my current handwork obsession). Now, if the loose-top-hanging-out-from-under-short-sweater/jacket look will just go away! I think that looks so sloppy and un-put-together!
Angela Wolf said... (3/13/11 10:42 AM) Reply
@vogue ... It's a new PBS show called "It's Sew Easy" and will begin airing nationwide June 30th. The show features many designers and experts in the fashion and sewing field. If you follow my facebook I will keep you posted on how to get the show in your area and other details. Here's the link:
Angela Wolf said... (3/13/11 10:37 AM) Reply
@sewrose ... it's all about visually seeing what proportions do for your individual shape. For example, if you wear a short jacket with pants; that would mean your top visually takes up 1/3 of your body and the pants (since you can see from the waist to the hem) takes up 2/3rds of your body. Next week I will update my blog with detailed info on that. Here's the link:
vogue said... (3/12/11 10:58 AM) Reply
Angela fill us in on the new upcoming pbs show, is it a sewing program I can't find any on Tv anymore
sewrose said... (3/11/11 11:36 PM) Reply
Angela, Perhaps you could comment more on what you mean by not cutting your figure in half, and the 1/3-2/3 rule. Maybe show some examples?
Angela Wolf said... (3/11/11 7:17 AM) Reply
@AnnS ... great quote! LOL
Angela Wolf said... (3/11/11 7:08 AM) Reply
@ purplebouquet ... yes, the layered look is still in. They are showing flowing fabrics for the tops underneath.
AnnS said... (3/10/11 11:02 PM) Reply
I was wondering if they would coexist. I am liking my skinny jeans, but I also love wide leg trousers, too. Glad to know I can have my cake and eat it too!
darcidoodle said... (3/10/11 7:01 PM) Reply
Fabulous and helpful article! Thanks!
purplebouquet said... (3/9/11 12:38 PM) Reply
Very helpful post. Thank you. Please comment on the untucked blouse/shirt look that peeks out below a shorter jacket. Is that still in? Thank you.
Angela Wolf said... (3/9/11 9:20 AM) Reply
Sorry about the spelling ... that's what I get for typing so fast!
Angela Wolf said... (3/9/11 9:18 AM) Reply
@MB at YarnUiPhoneApp ... for the faux pockets and zippers think of a bound button hole concept, just use a zipper and then close up the back. I just finished shooting for a new PBS show coming out this summer and one of the techniques I show is how to add a zipper at the hem of your jeggings. This is so easy! Use interfacing on the back to keep fabric from stretching, cut a slit up the back center (or front center) and finish your cut with a V at the top (like you would prepare to add a sleeve placket). Press each side under and press the V at the top under. Pin in your zipper and topstitch around. That is it! If you are doing this to a pair that you already have, then you will also need to open one of the side seams so your sewing machine can fit to sew in the zipper and then just reclose that seam and rehem. Good luck!
Angela Wolf said... (3/9/11 9:11 AM) Reply
@dove29 ... for a classic pant you might want to try Vogue 8498, Claire Shaeffer's pant pattern. She also usually has some great couture sewing tips in her pattern directions.
lamstu said... (3/9/11 6:29 AM) Reply
This is very helpful - I have many lovely pieces but sometimes falter about how to create an outfit. I guess that's why I go for dresses so often! Thanks for the useful article and I look forward to the next.
Angela Wolf said... (3/8/11 5:43 PM) Reply
fabric for jeggings - If you want really fun, I just bought some fabric from Vogue - I am actually making skinny jeans with this, but jeggings would be perfect in this. They also have other colors and prints. The skinny jeans above also came from Vogue - I will see if I can get you the link. Just make sure you pick a fabric with a lot of stretch, but that will also keep its shape. There is nothing worse than bending a few times and your knees on your jegging don't come back! LOL
MB at YarnUiPhoneApp said... (3/8/11 1:03 PM) Reply
Jeggings...what fabric would you recommend for that? How would you add the faux pockets, zipper that you see in many jeggings?
fuzzy said... (3/8/11 8:21 AM) Reply
I'm short-waisted and pear-shaped, but have had some wide legged pants that work well. The best pair is made from drapey (but not soft) RPL and has a 2-inch wide waistband. It skims the hips and thighs and accentuates the waist.
kareninwisconsin said... (3/7/11 8:04 PM) Reply
Sure would be nice to see something classic in the way of pants (with pockets, please, and a real waistband.) I look sloppy in wide leg pants and unprofessional in skinny jeans.
Kat B. said... (3/7/11 3:27 PM) Reply
I never thought I could wear skinny jeans, but after trying on several, I found a pair that looks fabulous! It's all in the cut. :) Now to find the perfect wide leg pants pattern....
Laurie Lou said... (3/7/11 3:23 PM) Reply
This was a great article and very interesting to read. We always try to remember some of these rules and you put the information together is a very nice format. I like the scrunched at the ankle skinny so that does really seem to work as your picture points out with a flowing top. Thanks
TallBean said... (3/7/11 2:30 PM) Reply
Thank you for the helpful article. I have been wondering whether the wide leg was going to take over the skinny jean. Hopefully they'll exist in harmony for a little while. I'd love to make a pair of jeggings. What kind of material would you use? (and where would you get it?) Thanks! Brenna

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