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4 Ways to Look Great in Pants

No longer is the question, “Who wears the pants in your family?” relevant in order to uncover the real decision maker in a household.   Women have taken to pants as men took to parking in reverse…it is a part of our current makeup.  In 1981, Barbara Walters interviewed the classic, chic, late Katharine Hepburn.  In that interview, these words were spoken:

Hepburn: “I have not lived as a woman. I have lived as a man…I’ve just done what I damn well wanted to and I made enough money to support myself. And I ain’t afraid of being alone.”

Walters: “Is that why also you wear pants?”

Hepburn: “No, I just wore pants because they’re comfortable.”

Walters: “Do you ever wear a skirt, by the way?”

Hepburn: “I have one.”

Walters: “You have one.”

Hepburn: “I’ll wear it to your funeral.”

4 Ways to Look Great in Pants

Perhaps I prefer wearing pants because of the comfort, but I also love the look and the variety of styling a “pants-based wardrobe” offers…though, I confess, I do not look like Katharine Hepburn in her pants…some of those outfits were simple perfection.

Currently, anything goes in fashion with pants selections…the lengths, widths, styles, fabric choices, prints and colors are all over the place and available for women of any age.

If ready to do a little pants upgrade, here are a few suggestions:

  1. Step out of your comfort zone. Not tried on the chic jogger pant for every day wear, or the slim ankle length pant?  Then, please, get into a store and spend some time with the mirror.  You will be surprised how styles possibly passed over will look so good on many different body types.  Consider a flowy, resort wide length pant or culottes in place of a dress for a warm weather party. Sorry, everyone, you are not allowed to scoff without first trying styles on.
  2. I highly recommend taking your measurements around the hip, leg length and inseam. Then go online, use the sizing button, and find your best size.   This knowledge equips you for the in-store experience, and saves time and heartache.  We tend to get discouraged with the need to try on multiple sizes. It is embarrassing at times to ask a salesperson for another size.  Doing a little pregame preparation can make such a difference in attitude.  Unfortunately, sizes differ for all retailers and designers.  Sizing is not universal.  Who cares what the number says….a flattering fit is all that matters.
  3. Forget rules. Right now, they do not really exist. White pants are good all year long and look amazing with so many different outfits.  There are great, slimming elastic waist styles on the market.  I can remember when WHAT NOT TO WEAR counseled to only select pants with a button and zipper.  But, I have been very impressed with recent elastic band waistline pants which are designed to slim the figure.  Some really work.  The only caution I would throw out there is to be careful with capris pants.  It is more flattering to go with an ankle length than to cut off your body at mid-calf.  A walking short is even more flattering to the figure than a capris length. Culottes come with the same cautions.  Try on all four in one shopping trip and I believe you will see what I mean.
  4. Don’t get discouraged. There are pants for you.  Remember, you just have to take time to find the style which flatters your own unique figure best.  Katharine Hepburn did it with classic, flowy, long pants.  Audrey Hepburn did it with the famous cigarette pant.  You will find both on the racks today.


Are you a lover of pants?  If not, please share why and if you have specific questions, let us know.  As for the question at the beginning, I wear the pants in our family!  SHHHH, don’t tell my husband!

Thanks for stopping by the Joy Boutique for our Tuesday discussion.  Have a wonderful week, everyone.


Pamela Lutrell

Pamela Lutrell began her blog, over50feeling40, July 2010 with a desire to encourage women over 50 to walk in strength, confidence and joy. Of course, head turning style makes each day fun!

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Leslie Roberts Clingan

Wednesday 8th of April 2015

Love your statement about forgetting about the rules... I find that almost everything I grew up believing about fashion is no longer true. Apparently you can wear white pants all year, you can mix stripes and polka dots or florals and not look like a clown! Who knew? Thank you for a great post.


Tuesday 7th of April 2015

Katherine Hepburn reminds me so much of my mother in law - she lived life her way and never apologized for it. I love that there aren't any rules with pants these days - gives us all an opportunity to be creative!


Tuesday 7th of April 2015

Thanks for the great post Pam. Not ever working in an office, the only pants I ever wear these days are jeans, and they get A LOT of use! I think I own one pair of slacks by Ann Taylor in black, classics that I've owned for a decade.

I do have a couple pair of skinny capri jeans, and am always careful to pair them with high wedges to keep my bottom from needing it's own zip code! Kimberly

Susan - ofeverymoment

Tuesday 7th of April 2015

I am realizing perhaps I need to step out of my comfort zone! My issue is always which shoes to wear with whatever pants I have ... !


Tuesday 7th of April 2015

I wear a lot of pants! It is certainly simpler to just put on one item, a dress, but pants seem to fit my lifestyle these days. These are great tips Pam! I totally agree about those Capri pants!! Usually awful unless you have legs a mile long


Tuesday 7th of April 2015

This is so true!! The models that are shown that look the best in capris have long (thin) legs and no hips. Capris can easily and often venture into frump territory, I think. I got rid of all of mine a few years ago. I do like the walking shorts that Pam suggested when it gets too hot.

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