The Best Wide Leg Pants For Women Over 40

By now you’ve probably heard that skinny jeans are dead and we should all be returning to wider legs and flares. While you couldn’t pay us enough to revisit the low rise bootcut trend of the late nineties and early aughts, we are kind of loving the wide leg pants that are hitting the racks this summer and for fall. Our legs need to breathe and it’s time for a change!  

Plus, playing with proportions is always fun, and there is something to be said for the easy-breezy nature of wide leg pants during the hottest months of the year. Here are some of our favorite ways to rock summer 2021’s newest popular silhouette right now…and into the fall and perhaps next year.

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Linen Wide Pants

A summer classic for a reason, linen wide leg pants never really go out of style, just wax and wane in popularity. We like white or light colored linen pants for an especially summery look, but any color can be perfect for a hot day especially if you want more coverage than shorts or many skirts have to offer.

Patterned Wide Leg Pants

Many of us tend to prefer to wear our patterns on top, a patterned pant – whether it’s a plaid, floral, abstract, or some other look – can be fun and flattering, since the pattern isn’t tight to the body and the flowing fabric lets the pattern, not your figure, be the star. For example, these tropical print patterned pants from White House Black Market are perfect for summer and you probably already own flat sandals, a straw bag, and a fitted black or white top (or both) to pair with them. 

Belted Wide Leg Pants

Wide leg pants with a self-belt might seem like an eighties throwback, but the versions we are seeing now are far from those slouchy trousers. Like these saturated pastel Express tie-waist pants that would glide over the body and be fun to dress up with a silk tee or blouse and mules or down with a more casual top and flats or maybe even chunky sneakers and big necklace. 

Cropped Wide Leg Pants

We don’t mean those hideous gaucho pants that had their thankfully brief moment a while back, but tailored wide leg pants like these from Maeve that are available at Anthropologie that are perfect for showing off a great pair of shoes – and most of us still have slim ankles and lower calves after 40 to boot.  

Keep It Fitted On Top

With wide pants or any kind of bottoms with volume, for that matter, it is nearly always a good idea to keep the top half more fitted. A slim tee or tank like these higher v-necks from Amazon Essentials make the most sense for summer casual looks with wide legs, and for more dressed-up times you can do an embellished top with cutout details or a halter – something with high drama. Tying a button-down blouse at the waist for a retro look can be fun as well, just keep the rest of the look modern to avoid the costume-y aspect unless you are leaning into that! 

Or Go Sheer

Want a little more coverage? A sheer, crochet, or open weave draped scarf, kimono, or duster jacket over a fitted top might fit the bill with wide leg pants since you can still see that you have a body under all that fabric. We’re fans of this open knit body skimming cardigan from Begonia K. via Amazon since it is cut narrow and comes in a range of neutrals, making it an excellent warm weather topper in general. 

Monochrome Looks With Wide Leg Pants

Is there anything as flattering as one long, lean column of color, any color? We think not. That’s why pairing wide leg pants with a matching top can be a fabulous choice, especially in luxe colors like ivory or crisp white. Or try something candy-hued for a luscious pop of fun. Or maybe try a neutral, like these satin jersey wide leg pants from Uniqlo that have several closely coordinating options for tops. 

Formal Wide Leg Pants

Wide leg pants (or a jumpsuit with wider legs) can be a great alternative to a skirt or dress for fancier occasions. Just keep the fabric to something that’s more sophisticated and avoid wearing the super pointy shoes we all used to wear – you know which ones. We’re big fans of the Ramy Brook Athena pants with their side slits for summer events combined with a white top and amazing jewelry or perhaps something in a more vibrant hue for a pool party or similar occasion.  These Ann Taylor wide leg pull on pants are a classic.

Casual Wide Leg Pants

These might feel like one step up from sweat pants, but they can look much more put together, even with a tee and sneakers. The key is to keep the rest of the outfit simple and clean, like these twill wide legs from Free People or the Nolita Wide Leg from Athleta that would both be ideal mixed with sleek low profile sneakers and a basic tee tucked in, maybe with a great floppy hat or some interesting jewelry like big cuff bracelets or rings. 

Palazzo Pants

Sometimes referred to as harem pants, cover-up pants, chiffon pants, side split pants, or other terms, these flowy wide leg pants are versatile. They can work for everything form a swimsuit cover-up to beach side or boardwalk, or to wear to slightly more dressed up occasions like strolling through a city or park, depending on the print, fabric, and what you pair them with. The Perfect Palazzo Pant from SummerSalt is a great option, same with this Pull-On Palazzo Pant from Ann Taylor or pick up something cheap and cheerful on Amazon if you just want some inexpensive palazzos to take on vacation.

Do you change things up with your pants silhouette or will we have to pry your skinny pants and jeans out of your wardrobe with a crowbar? Does the season or occasion matter? Do you prefer wider legs or skinny legs or something else on your figure in general? Let us know in the comments or on our Growing Younger Facebook Group! 

Shop Wide Leg Pants

White House Black Market Tropical-Print Jersey Knit Wide-Leg Pants, $89

Express High Waisted Belted Twill Wide Leg Pant, now $59.99

Anthropologie Maeve Colette Cropped Wide-Leg Pants, $118

Amazon Essentials Women’s Classic-Fit 3/4 Sleeve V-Neck T-Shirt, $14.90

Begonia.K Women’s Long Sleeve Chiffon Lightweight Maxi Sheer Duster Cardigan, $25.99

Uniqlo Women Satin Jersey Wide Straight Pants, $29.90

Ramy Brook Athena Pants, $225

Free People Mia Wide Leg Twill Pants, $88

Ann Taylor The Pull On Palazzo Pant, $119

Athleta Nolita Wide Leg, $98

SummerSalt Perfect Palazzo Pants, $80


–Jacqueline Zenn

You may like to read more of Jacqueline’s styling tips like Dreaming of Summer 2021: What to Pack for A Beach Vacation and Essential Spring Rainwear That Will Brighten Your Days.

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