Wide leg jeans and more relaxed silhouettes have been making a comeback this season, and they’re the most prominent denim trend in stores right now.
While some ladies have embraced the trend wholeheartedly, others are intimidated by this tricky silhouette, so I’ve been getting a lot of questions about what to wear with wide leg jeans for fall.
I was a slow adopter to this trend, but now that I’ve figured out how to wear them, I’m totally on board. Wide leg jeans have a timeless appeal that I appreciate, and while it may not seem so at first, they’re actually quite versatile and surprisingly flattering. The relaxed fit and wide leg openings allow for easy movement, and they can be dressed up or down.
The Basics of Wide Leg Jeans
Wide leg jeans have roomy fit through the hips and thighs, and they gradually widen from knee to hem. They can be high-waisted or sit at the hips, depending on your preference.
You’ll find wide leg jeans in a variety of washes, from light and distressed to dark and polished, with either raw and finished hems. Wide leg jeans are also available in black, bold and neutral colors, and even white. Dark washes tend to be more dressy and versatile, while lighter washes lend a casual, boho vibe to your look.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different washes to find the ones that best match your personal style and the mood of the day.
Finding the Perfect Fit
To ensure you look your best in wide leg jeans, finding the right fit is crucial. Here are some key factors to consider:
- Length: You’ll find wide leg jeans in everything from floor-grazing lengths to crop styles, and ankle lengths are out there as well. I actually prefer the new shorter full-length style where the hems skim the vamp of the foot without a breakline. Pretty much anything goes; it’s just a matter of figuring out what you like, and how to style them in a way that looks intentionally chic instead of sloppy.
- Waist: Decide whether you want a high-waisted or mid-rise pair based on your body shape and style preferences. High-waisted jeans can elongate your legs and cinch your waist for a flattering silhouette, but some ladies find them uncomfortable. If that’s you, a mid-rise can look just as current. They just might be a little harder to find.
- Shop Around: Don’t expect to love the first pair you try. You may need to experiment with different brands and different lengths and sizes.
- Tailoring: If you can’t find the perfect fit off the rack, consider having your wide leg jeans tailored to your measurements. This small investment can make a significant difference in how they look and feel.
How to Style Wide Leg Jeans
Wide leg jeans can be casual chic, office ready, or date night glam. It’s entirely up to you! I tend to stick to more casual looks, but sometimes I like to dress up my wide leg jeans for date nights or dinner out with friends.
Shoes to Wear with Wide Leg Jeans
Choosing the right shoes to complement your wide leg jeans is the first hurdle. Since these jeans are all about drama and volume, you’ll want to select footwear that balances the look.
Here are some shoes to pair with wide leg jeans for fall:
#1. Clogs: I’m a huge fan of clogs for transition season, and they provide a nice balance to wide leg silhouettes. The best part if, you can wear them with both full and ankle lengths.
#2. Ankle Boots: You can’t go wrong with a pair of ankle boots. I prefer boots with a bit of a heel, but they can be flat if you prefer. If wearing a flatter boot, choose a pointed or almond shape toe to extend the line of the leg.
When I’m wearing ankle boots with wide leg jeans, I prefer the jeans to be long enough to cover the shaft of the boot, but that’s a matter of personal preference.
#3. Fashion Sneakers: For a more laid-back, urban vibe, opt for platform sneakers or field sneakers. They add a playful twist to your outfit while keeping you comfortable and stylish. In this case, full-length wide leg jeans or an ankle-length style will work.
#4. Peep Toe Sandals: During those early fall days when the weather is still warm, pair your wide leg jeans with peep-toe sandals or slingback pumps for the office or date night. Again, these work with both full and ankle lengths.
#5. Platform or Wedge Sandals: For a more casual transitional look, a wedge or platform sandal also works well with wide leg jeans. I often opt for cropped or ankle length jeans with my sandals because it seems more seasonally appropriate, but you can certainly wear full-length styles as well.
Read more about What Shoes and Boots are Trending for Fall 2023.
Styling Tips for Tops with Wide Leg Jeans
When pairing tops with wide leg jeans for fall (or any season, really) you have two main goals: balance the volume in the pant silhouette and define the waist. Here are some ways to do that:
#1. Tuck in Your Top: Tucking in your top is probably the easiest way to define your waist with wide leg jeans, and you can do this with tops of various lengths. Try a fitted blouse, a tucked-in t-shirt, or a sleek bodysuit for a polished look.
#2. Cropped Tops: Pairing wide-leg jeans with a shorter top is another great way to show off your waist and create a balanced silhouette, and it can be fitted or a boxy style.
The top doesn’t have to be so short that it exposes any skin; the sweater vest pictured below is a perfect example. I like how it comes down just over the top of the waistband of the jeans, right about to the top of the pockets.
Because the pants are an ankle-length, this pairing creates that beautiful golden ratio we’re always striving for. (Read more about the Rule of Thirds, as it relates to fashion.)
#3. Fitted Jackets: Adding a fitted blazer or jacket to your wide-leg jeans outfit can create a more structured and polished appearance. It’s an excellent choice for a business-casual or date night look.
#4. Belt It: Adding a belt cinches your waist, and it also serves as a statement accessory. I like to choose a belt that coordinates with the color of my shoes and/or handbag so it looks intentional.
#5. Knot It: For a more relaxed vibe, try tying a knot at the front (or even the back) of your top. This adds a playful touch to your outfit and shows off your waist.
#6. Play with Proportions: Experiment with different proportions in your outfit. For example, pair super-wide-leg jeans with a more fitted or cropped top, or choose slightly flared wide-leg jeans for a more subtle look.
#7. Monochromatic Outfits: Wearing a top and wide-leg jeans in the same color can create a sleek and elongated appearance. It’s an easy way to look put together without much effort.
Of course, you’ll want to experiment with different tops, footwear, and accessories to flatter your unique body and showcase your personal style; but I hope these tips help you style your wide leg jeans for fall.
And if you don’t like wide leg jeans, or you like to have a variety of options, here are all the top Denim Trends for Fall 2023!
Shop Wide Leg Jeans
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photos: Alison Cornell