If you found a pair of wide leg jeans that you love, but you usually wear slimmer fitting skinny jeans or straight-leg jeans, you may be wondering how to style this type of jeans to create a flattering look.
When wide leg jeans came on the scene, I was conflicted about them. As someone who wears a size 12 jeans and who has a butt and hips, I love how they easily fit my lower half. And they have an effortless and laid-back vibe that I love. But they can also make me look short and squat at 5’6”. Now, after finding the right pair of long wide leg jeans, I love how they create legs that go on for days.
Wide leg jeans have a wide leg from the hips to the hem, making them feel like baggy jeans. If you fold the hem up to the hip, the width is the same at both spots. That makes them roomier in the thighs than flare jeans, which are fitted from the hips to the knee and then flare out to the hem.
Loving how you look in wide leg jeans starts with choosing a pair that works for your body type. In this blog post, we’ll talk about how wide leg jeans work for different body types. Plus, how to pick wide leg jeans that look great on you. I’ll show you 18 wide leg jeans outfit ideas, with styling tips for how to put together flattering outfits.
Not familiar with the body types? Read all about them in my post, How to Look Good in Your Clothes by Dressing for Your Body Type.
Are wide leg jeans flattering on all body types?
Not surprisingly, wide leg jeans work differently for different body types.
If you’re smaller on the bottom like an inverted triangle, with slim hips, thighs, and bottom, they’re a great option. They provide balance to your broader upper half. Wide jeans with visible patch pockets on the hips are also great for adding volume to the lower half and drawing the eye in.
As a rectangular body type, wide leg jeans are a great option for creating curves in the lower half. The best pair hugs and shows off your rear end. Wear them with a belt to add waist definition. Since your upper body and lower body are proportional, choose a top that keeps balanced proportions with your bottom half. Try a puff or flutter sleeve.
That is also a good styling tip for the hourglass figure, since your upper and lower body are proportional, too. Wide leg jeans emphasize your lower half. Wear tops with details like a flutter or puff sleeve to maintain a balance between your top and bottom half.
If you’re larger on the bottom, wide legs can add extra volume to your lower half. This may be true for the round body type or the triangle, like me, who wears size 12 jeans.
Choosing the right pair that works with your body shape will help you feel great in them!
How to select the right wide leg jeans for you
When you’re trying on wide leg jeans, consider the weight of the denim, the pocket placement, the leg length, and the rise.
Fabric weight and width of the legs
Thicker fabric jeans with a higher cotton content are more rigid and the wide leg of the jean holds open more than a pair with a mix of cotton and elastane, or other stretchy fibers. If you are worried about adding weight to your lower half, look for a pair with a thinner, softer denim. A draping soft fabric will fall in waves around the legs. Also look for a pair with a slim cut wide leg.
If you have trouble finding wide jeans to buy in the winter months because the legs are too wide on you, look for them again in the warmer months. In cold months, the stores show dark blue denim that’s thicker. In summer, you’ll see jeans with lighter and thinner fabrics. Those fabrics are more likely to drape and flow. Although, this may not be the case with white jeans, since white jeans often come in thicker white fabric to hide lumps and bumps.
Here are two different pairs of wide leg jeans from Loft. The first pair came out in winter and has a dark, thick rigid denim. The legs were overwhelming and not super flattering. I ended up returning them. The second pair has a lighter wash and a soft and thin denim that drapes, making the legs much more flattering.
Pocket size and placement
Pockets draw the eye to the spot where they’re placed. So visible patch pockets on the hips draw the eyes to the hips.
If you are an inverted triangle or someone who is narrower on your lower half, visible pockets on a pair of wide-leg jeans are a great way to add dimension to your lower half. That creates balance with wider shoulders.
However, for other body types, patch pockets can be tricky if you’re wider down below or evenly proportioned.
For triangles, they draw your eye to your widest spot. Avoid hip patch pockets and flap pockets on your rear.
For hourglass or rectangular types, they can create an imbalance in your usually balanced proportions. When wearing patch pockets, wear tops with flutter or puff sleeves to add emphasis to your upper half and rebalance your proportions.
Length of the jeans
There are both cropped and full-length wide leg denim jeans in the stores now.
Pants that go down to your heels lengthen your leg line. If you’re petite, look for full-length wide leg jeans if you want to keep your legs looking long.
If you’re tall, cropped wide leg jeans are great for you.
Choose the length that feels right for you, your life and how you plan to wear them.
Shorter jeans have a more casual feel and you get to show off the shoes you’re wearing. I love cropped jeans at 5’6”.
In the stores today, we’re seeing jeans styles with a very high rise that hit a couple inches above the belly button. A high rise helps to lengthen the look of your legs if your torso is long enough to accommodate it.
If you decide to wear cropped wide leg jeans, choose them with a higher rise. That helps to counteract the cropped length by adding some visual length to your waist.
For me, at 5’6”, my ideal rise is around 10.5 or 11 inches, hitting at or below the belly button.
In these pictures, you’ll see me wearing two different pairs of wide leg jeans. The first pair are high rise wide leg jeans in size 31 from Loft with a 12-inch rise and 31-inch inseam. The fabric is a blend of cotton, lyocell and elastane. They are so soft and comfortable. The second pair are wide leg crop jeans from J.Crew Factory in size 31. The waist rise is 12 inches with a 26.5-inch inseam. The fabric is 99% cotton and the waistband loosens a bit with wear.
What kind of tops to wear with wide leg jeans?
Wear your wide legs jeans with fitted tops like cardigan sweaters, tank tops, and fitted tees. Loose tops like button-up shirts, slouchy sweaters and blazers work great too.
The easiest tops to wear with wide leg jeans and the tops to try first are slim fitting tops. A slim fitting top shows your waistline. And creates balance and proportion between your upper and lower body.
Shorter tops and sweaters also work great with high-waisted jeans because they’re easy to front-tuck.
A very fashion-forward look to try is pairing a loose top with wider leg pants. Choose an oversized button-down shirt for an easy laid-back feel. An oversized sweater, flowy shirt or blazer are also great options.
What is the best way to wear wide leg jeans?
Let’s look at all the great ways to wear wide leg jeans. I have 18 outfit ideas for you with fitted tops, loose tops, blazers, and coats. With platform sandals, ankle boots, sneakers and slides.
Wide leg jeans work in all seasons and for a variety of different settings. First up, let’s look at long wide leg jeans.
Long wide leg jeans with a slim fitted cardigan
Wear a slim fitting V-neck cardigan as a shirt and you will create a very modern look. Here I’m wearing a trendy cream and blue Breton stripe cardigan, buttoned up with a couple buttons at the bottom open to help create waist definition.
For shoes, I’m wearing platform clog sandals with a small heel to add some height, so the jeans hem is a couple inches off the ground. This is one of my absolute favorite looks!
Long wide leg jeans with a short sweater
Shorter shirts and sweaters that aren’t quite cropped make some of the best tops to wear with high-waisted jeans. They are a great way to display your waistline, without all the excess fabric that creates a relaxed look. They’re also a great choice if you are short-waisted. I’m front tucking this sweater to show the waist even more. Pushing up the sleeves draws attention to your waistline.
Simple 2-inch heel ankle boots give a little height to keep the pants from touching the ground.
Long wide leg jeans with a ribbed tank top
Here’s a super trendy look, pairing a ribbed tank top with white sneakers and a belt bag. Tuck the tank top in to show the waist. The halter neck ribbed tank top shows off the shoulders. Add some layered necklaces and white sneakers and your look is on point.
This is a look that gives anyone legs for days.
Long wide leg jeans with a button-up shirt left open
If you like wearing a tank top but want a bit more coverage up top, throw on an oversized white button-up blouse and leave it open. Roll up your sleeves to draw the eye to the waistline.
Long wide leg jeans with a slouchy cardigan sweater
Here’s a look with a relaxed fitting cardigan. I’ve styled it to define the waistline by front-tucking the sweater and pushing up the sleeves. Pointy-toe ankle boots with a 2-inch heel give height, and lengthen the leg line even more with the toe of the boots peeking out from under the hemline.
Long wide leg jeans with a Breton stripe sweater
Here’s another laid-back look. Wear your pullover Breton stripe sweater with white sneakers. My sweater has very relaxed sleeves, so I roll them once and push them up. Front-tucking the sweater shows off the waist.
Wearing sneakers with these jeans puts your pants hem very low to the ground for a slouchy feel. If you love this look but don’t like having your jeans hem so close to the floor, it may be worth it to get a pair of platform sneakers.
Long wide leg jeans with an oversized button-up blouse
Here’s a great way to create a relaxed look. Pair your long sleeve oversized button-up with wide leg jeans. Button up the shirt and tuck it in. Roll up your sleeves to draw the eyes to the waistline and to add to the laid-back denim look.
Brown clog sandals and a brown bag add visual interest to the look.
Long wide leg jeans with a striped sweater and blouse
If you’re a fan of layering sweaters and blouses for spring days, try a striped button up under a striped sweater. This green striped boatneck sweater from Loft gives a fun pop of color.
If the weather will be cold, wear ankle boots instead of sandals.
Long wide leg jeans with a classic blazer
You can totally wear a blazer with your wide leg jeans. This is one of my favorite ways to do it. Pair a classic blazer with a fitted tank top. I’m wearing white on white for a crisp look.
Platform sandals give height and add a summery vibe.
Long wide leg jeans with a double-breasted blazer
Double-breasted blazers are trendy and also classic. You’ll see them worn with wide leg jeans. I never thought I’d like this look. But double-breasted blazers work well if you’re smaller on top like I am, so I decided to give one a try. The blazer brings a tailored look and the wide leg jeans create a silhouette similar to that of wide-leg pants or trousers.
This creates an elevated jean look you could wear to the office on casual Fridays.
Block heel slides finish the look.
Long wide leg jeans with a trench coat
A trench coat is a classic way to complete this wide leg jeans look on spring colder days when you need a light coat. Tuck in the blouse to define the waistline.
Ankle wrap platform sandals make this a casual look.
Long wide leg jeans with a striped button-down blouse
As someone who loves a preppy look, button-down shirts are some of my favorite tops to wear with a pair of wide leg jeans. This striped button-down from J. Crew is a favorite. Tuck it in and roll up your sleeves.
Brown clog sandals and a shoulder bag add contrast.
Cropped wide leg jeans with a dolman sleeve top
Cropped wide leg jeans are great for the summer months in warmer weather. A white dolman sleeve top is a must-have for summer. This shirt from Loft has a gauzy fabric and is longer in the back than in the front. It works perfectly with high-waisted jeans, tucked in all around. Shirts are so oversized these days, I sized down to an XS to get this more fitted look.
Bow slides and these cropped wide leg jeans with a frayed hem create a very laid back look.
Cropped wide leg jeans with a classic blazer
I have to style cropped wide leg jeans with a classic blazer so you can see how easy it is to wear cropped jeans with a blazer. I love this look so much!
Platform sandals are an easy choice with wide leg cropped jeans. They have a substantial look that just works with such a wide leg.
Cropped wide leg jeans with a double-breasted blazer
Here’s the double-breasted blazer with the cropped jeans. I love dressing down this jacket by wearing casual frayed hem jeans and black Adidas sneakers with it. It’s a party on the top and casual on the bottom.
Wear this out for a casual dinner.
Cropped wide leg jeans with a leather jacket
Here’s a most unexpected pairing. A gray sweatshirt under a leather jacket with Adidas tennis shoes. It’s a casual outfit with a kick from the leather jacket.
Cropped wide leg jeans with a flowy blouse
Here’s an outfit with cropped wide leg jeans. This light blue flutter sleeve blouse has a loose fit. I’ve side tucked it for a relaxed and easy look.
Raffia slides with a metal buckle add some visual interest to the outfit.
Cropped wide leg jeans with a cap tee
Here’s another loose fitting top with these cropped wide leg jeans. Try a side tuck like this when you want to show some waistline and want to create a relaxed look.
Brown clog sandals and a brown shoulder bag add a pop of contrasting color.
Cropped wide leg jeans with a sweater vest
If you have a sweater vest that you wear layered in colder weather, try wearing it alone as a top.
Nude pointy toe flats extend the leg line and elevate the look.
Curious about how to style wide leg pants? You may like my post, 12 Super Flattering Ideas for How to Wear Wide Leg Pants.