A fashion and style blog for the over 40s covering body shapes, colour palettes, how to wear neutrals, style personality and capsule wardrobes. Come on in!

4.14.2017

Dressing For Your Body Shape Series | Trousers & Jeans

Probably a wardrobe staple for 98.999999% of us (that's a made up stat but it feels about right). Thank goodness for Elizabeth Smith Miller. Who? You know, Lizzy Miller, the first woman to wear trousers way back in 1851. It would be another 7 years before Emmeline Pankhurst entered this world.

Thankfully, our choice extends beyond the bloomers that Elizabeth championed although sometimes the sheer number of different styles and lengths can be daunting. I hope therefore that you'll find the following information useful. You can find your body shape here if you don't already know it. Discovering your perfect shape of trouser is blueprint that you can store away for future use.

Neat Hourglass

Well lucky you, you can wear most, if not all styles of trousers and jeans preferably with a waist band because you should show your waist.

You can do pockets, flat fronts, pleats, boyfriend, skinnies, capri. Really the world is your trouser oyster.

You may want to swerve very wide leg trousers and jeans if you're petite in height as they will swamp you.

These fabulous trousers have capsule wardrobe written all over them. Proper staples that you won't be throwing away after a couple of months wear. Update each season with shoes and/or top. They're figure skimming but not tight which means that they'll be comfortable to wear. And of course you can do so much with them. Jumper and trainers during the day, blazer and shirt for work, heels and top for evening wear.

Next Navy Taper Trousers £25



Statement trousers anyone? Go for it neat hourglasses, you'll look amazing. I think the belt is fully removable for a slightly less dressier look. Check out those perfect pleats.

Mango Sash Linen Trousers £69.99


And a round of applause for white jeans. Because you can so do white jeans.

Boden Wellington Jeans £60



Full Hourglass & Triangle

(The rules are the same for you both) 

Ok, so sometimes you may struggle with certain styles. The curvier you are, the harder it will be. Let's take cargo pants for example. The baggy style will do you no favours whatsoever, and if the fabric is stiff, you'll end up looking a good size or two larger.

It's all about the fabric and cut for you. Look for fluid lines in stretchy material (lycra is your friend).

Do waistbands bag? Often, trousers and jeans aren't cut for your narrow waist. Look for flat fronted styles without a waistband if possible. You could try a jegging style in jeans because the elasticated waist will be a snugger fit although a straight leg is more flattering than super skinny. Alternatively try a lower rise. I know lots of women don't like this style but they do work. Finally look for a cut specifically for curvy ladies. The waist will be cut narrower than a general style but will still feel comfortable over your hips and bottom.

Avoid contrast stitching on the back pockets of jeans unless of course you want to hilight your bottom.

A bootcut is very flattering as it mirrors your own curves (park this information for now, they're bound to come back into mainstream fashion soon).

At first glance, this photo isn't doing it is it? But honestly, get the length right and you've got yourself a great wardrobe staples. Ponte is a brilliant fabric for curves. If you're in between sizes, go up because they'll swish with your body and look much more flattering. They're pull ons which not only screams COMFORT but will also fit your neat waist and curvy bottom.

Personally I think you need to go longer if you're wearing with heels.

V by Very Pull On Ponte Trousers £20 available in petite here



A great casual summer option from Baukjen. Although I say casual, I'd dress these up with heels too. It's really worth spending a little bit more on your bottom half. A great fitting pair of pants says a lot about a woman. The soft drape jersey that Baukjen uses is just brilliant.

Baukjen Neath Jersey Pants £55



I've included this next pair as my jeans choice for you because I was asked by the brand to try them out last year. They're comfortable, soft and hold their shape. The clever cut at the back under the pockets lift up the bum for a bit of a pert look! You'll need to check that the waistband doesn't bag but I'd definitely recommend that you look at them. They're true to size.
And look, no contrast stitching 👊

M&Co Lift & Shape Jeans £29 (also available in petite here)



Inverted Triangle

Trousers are your thing and you suit most styles: combat, palazzo, straight leg, boyfriend, girlfriend and culottes to name but a few.

Bum pockets and front pockets (especially with contrast stitching or embellishment) are good for balancing out your shoulder line.

Print and coloured trousers will draw the eye down away from your top half. And in jeans, you can do distressing, turn ups and washed denim. Although you might want to avoid a super tight skinny as it will accentuate your larger top half.

These culottes are ace. The flare at the bottom will balance out your shoulder line. Probably better illustrated in the ivory here. If you haven't tried culottes, I really would urge you to give them a go, they work a treat on inverted triangles. Also check out these purse friendly ones from ASOS. They've got everything going on for you.

Boden Nancy Culottes £80



And because stripes are everywhere this season and, you do them so well, how about these?

River Island Beige Stripe Print Trousers £35


Any kind of flare, even a small kick flare will help with the old balancing act. These are lovely.

Mango Flare Trumpet Jeans £35.99



Lean Column

To create curves, look for pleats or anything that builds up your hip area such as embellished pockets. Roundness at the bottom of your trousers also helps to give the illusion of curves so try cuffed trousers. 

Look for high waists with pleats, culottes in a stiff fabric, tapered trousers, kick flares boyfriends, girlfriends, capris, cargo pants and thicker fabric such as joggers. Anything that gives some shape to your frame.

I know we're looking specifically at trousers and jeans today but I couldn't not mention this whole outfit which is so amazing for you. The horizontal stripes and layering of the jacket gives the illusion of width. The half tuck and belt breaks up your body line as do the turn up. Finally, the over sized pockets and and loose cut fakes curves Just wow, so much to talk about. Anyway, you need to get these trousers!

Boden Brook Relaxed Pants £95 (navy reduced to £66)



A cropped kick flare is a great way to break up the body line so that you don't look too runner beany.




Similarly the interest at the bottom of these trousers breaks up the body line. 




Rectangle

If you're a rectangle, you won't have a waist and possibly carry weight around your tummy but have a flatish bum. I have just one word for you - uncluttered. That means no detail, trim, embellishment around the tummy area. 

Flat fronted trousers (definitely no pleats) work well. Think stretchy pull ons (I know they sound sad but reserve judgement for a moment).

Loose trousers will add pounds. These only work if you have a small waist. Structured, fitted culottes work though as we see the bottom of your leg which is slim so gives the illusion of shape.

Jeans with minimal detail at the front are good but a flap pocket to the back will build up your bottom. Try jeggings and straight legs. Honestly boyfriend jeans can be so hard to pull off. I feel I've exhausted that particular search. The loose fit around the hips and tummy add pounds to your frame. 

So, pull on trousers. Yes my Nan used to wear these but they don't have to be grannified. Do you remember these ones that I banged on about last year?

Jumper - Mango (old)
Pull On Coated Leggings - Next
Trainers - Next (similar)
Bag - Modalu (similar)
Scarf - Kettlewell Colours 

Well they're pull ons, flat fronted, no detail and so darn comfortable. This is why I have 5 pairs 😳 and wear them lots.

And they're still available in black and navy here.

This next pair are also pull ons and a perfect option for spring/summer. They're a nice stretchy ponte fabric which pulls everything in but still comfortable to wear. Might wear them tomorrow actually!

Winser London Emma Miracle Pintuck Capri Trousers £79 




Jeans-wise, you could look at jeggings, skinnies or straight legs. Let's kick off with the Edens from Dorothy Perkins. Why? Because they are my second favourite pair of trousers/jeans. You won't find yourself hoiking them up every couple of minutes because they don't get baggier by the hour. By the way, they're quite long. My regulars are almost full length.

Dorothy Perkins Eden Jeggings £18 (some colours reduced to £13.50)



Round

Wide legs and boot cuts will balance out the roundness of your upper body. Choose them as long as possible to give you a longer leaner look.

That said, you have fabulous legs so you might want to show them off. You may find it tricky to get the fit right though as often they'll fit around the waist but will be baggy around your legs. So, look for fabric with lycra. The pull up styles that I mention for a rectangle above could work. 

You may want to swerve low rises. The reason being that your hips are quite possibly smaller than your tummy which will obviously lead to the sliding effect! You really don't want to be pulling up your pants all day.

Soft draping fabric is a must unless there's lycra.

Because you quite possibly wear looser style tops, don't discount leggings. They can work really well.

And finally a crease running down the front will elongate the leg. 

Oh my goodness, these look so good. Soft drapey fabric, double waist band for comfort and security. The length should hit no less than 3mm above the soul of your shoe. I'm guessing there's a bit of flexibility and you can pull them up or down to get a length that works for you. Available in sizes 14-30

La Redoute Jazz Pants £19 (25% off with code SUMMER)



These next trousers are from a brand that I've worked with before, Mandy's Heaven and cater for the curvy figure. I haven't seen them in real life but Mandy knows her stuff and buys exceptionally well so you can guarantee that they'll be bob-on. 

They're an elasticated waist but sit flat on the tummy so no extra bulk where you don't need it. And of course there's built in stretch 👍

Available in this stunning shade of blue and beige up to size 20. Order soon if you want to try them as I know how popular some of her styles are. 

Mandy's Heaven Deck Trousers £50 (free next day delivery)




And finally, a jeans option for you. These are available up to size 32 and in various colours and lengths. Look, no contrast stitching!! Stretch fabric and elasticated back for comfort. A heck of a lot for your money - got to be worth a go (20% off your first order too). 




Phew, we made it! Hope that's useful and sorry if some of the items above are now out of stock. I've been researching and writing this since Monday (hey, Rome wasn't built in a day).

It's been a really funny Good Friday for me today. Husband has travelled to Woking for the football, I dropped the daughter off at the airport (lucky bugger, she's gone to Tenerife) and the little 'un has (should have) been revising. So a bit of a loner today. Which is fine by me. G&T by my side, remote control to hand and lots of catch up tv. 

Oh by the way, for those asking, these are the shoes that I wore over on Insta today and still available (they run true to size). 










Anyway, I'll be off. I hope you all have a fabulous Easter, whatever you're doing and wherever you are. 

Catch up soon.


6 comments on "Dressing For Your Body Shape Series | Trousers & Jeans"
  1. A great post Donna with really useful guidance. I'm glad you say that that flat fronted trousers and skinny jeans are good for rectangles as those are my staples. I recently bought pair of looser jeans (with distressed hem!!) What was I thinking? The shape is not flattering on me and doesn't work with my tops and jackets.
    Luckily I didn't pay a lot as it was something of an experiment! Maybe they'll work better with a slimmer summer top, maybe sleeveless, but I suspect they will be too warm in summer!
    I love Capri trousers though and you've shown some lovely ones here.
    Hope you enjoy a relaxing evening. Xx

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    1. Thanks Elaine. I think we instinctively know what suits us but are drawn to other styles because we see other women looking great in them. Obviously they're different body shapes and what works for them, might not work for us and vice versa. Thanks for all of your lovely comments, I hope you've had a great Easter x

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  2. Thank you for this, really enjoying this series on shapes. As a classic pear shape I always find trousers hard to find for exactly the reasons you've mentioned. I've ordered the baukjen ones, they look great! Happy Easter xx

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    1. Glad you're enjoying the series, still a long way to go yet. Hope the Baukjen pants work out for you and happy Easter to you too x

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  3. I'm very fortunate as just after turning 40 I discovered one amazingly simple rule for choosing and wearing clothes. It's totally radicalised how I feel about myself, my wardrobe and my body. It's 'wear whatever the fuck you like'.

    When oh when are we going to get over these totally arbitrary rules about who can wear what clothes, and why the hell does it matter if it's 'flattering' or not. I have a fat bum and small waist (hate the euphemism pear shaped) and wear whatever the trouser shape I like. If other people don't like how it looks on me they can look away!

    The most stylish women out there are the ones breaking the rules not making them.

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    1. Because some of us don't have that confidence Rachel. And by the number of very personal emails that I receive, understanding their colour, style personality and body shape has given these women the tools to feel more confident about themselves. They're not rules as such, mere guidance and of course you are free to wear whatever you darn well please. I would never be prescriptive to anyone and have a full appreciation of every shape and style.

      Of course if what I write offends you, please feel free to unfollow as you are obviously not getting anything from this and I'd hate to offend you any further.

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