Can petites REALLY wear wide leg jeans? That may have been the question that popped into your mind when you initially clicked on the article. I know, I know. I’m a petite woman myself and it’s a legitimate question. Wide leg can seem like a whole other style challenge for a petite woman but I’m here to tell you petite women CAN wear wide leg jeans or wide leg pants.
I started writing about petite styling tips for short women since 2016, and my articles have touched the lives of millions since then. Based on my own fashion trial and errors and feedback from numerous petite readers, I have published a book “The Petite Style Bible“, first of its kind dedicated to petite fashion. Click here to learn more.
Now that jeans and pants with wide leg are a big trend, I wanted you to feel the freedom to embrace the trend as a petite woman. With just a few key style tips you’re going to be full knowledgeable in wearing petite wide leg jeans or wide leg pants like a true fashionista.
I have summarized my key points in this video on how to wear wide leg pants if you are short. I highly recommend you read the full article to get all the tips after you watch the video.
Go for a Straight Silhouette Wide Leg Jeans
Wide leg style, either pants or jeans, are, well…wide leg. As a petite woman, when you wear silhouettes that are too wide they can shorten your frame and add bulk to your shape. These are obviously things we all want to avoid with our clothing. While you can still wear wide leg jeans for petites, it’s important that you focus on a straight leg silhouette. This means opting out of big flares at the bottom of your wide leg pants and instead sticking to a silhouette that’s straight in shape.
The reason a straight leg silhouette is going to be a better option is because it creates one long line on your body – this will help to create the illusion of a longer, leaner leg which is ESSENTIAL when wearing petite wide leg pants.
Choose High Waist Petite Wide Leg Pants
This is crucial for all my petite women out there who want to rock a wide leg jeans or pants. High waisted style are your friends ladies. I’m so serious about this, especially when it comes to wearing petite size wide leg jeans. Skip the low rise and make sure any wide leg pants you wear have a nice high rise. The reason high rise is such a must for petite wide leg jeans or pants is because when you have a wider pant it’s easy for your petite shape to get overwhelmed and shorten you, choosing a high rise gives the illusion that your legs are longer than they are and helps to lengthen your shape. Pretty cool right? Honestly, this is why high rise pants are a every petite woman’s best friend no matter what silhouette they are in.
The most flattering place a high rise pant can sit on your petite frame is going to be wherever the smallest part of your waist is. Not only does this give you the look of longer legs but it’s also incredibly figure flattering. Even if you don’t have a really defined waist, high rise pants give the effect of having a defined waist. Double win, right?!
Pick Fabrics for Wide Leg Pants that Flow
I’ve talked about wearing petite dresses that flow and form to your body and that same principle applies when shopping for petite wide leg pants. Since petite’s main style focus is avoiding anything that causes overwhelm to their body, you’re going to want to keep that concept in the back of your mind when selecting the right pair of petite wide leg pants.
Wide leg pants are already a larger silhouette than you may be used to as a petite, a great way to balance that out is to choose wide leg pants that are in flowy fabrics. When you have a pant that flows it’s going to show your shape and prevent a lot of the dreaded overwhelm to your shape. As you walk the flowy fabrics will form to your shape in a really great way. If you are going to wear them in summer, choose natural fabrics such as silk, linen or cotton that will ensure they are breathable.
Choosing fabrics that flows means you should avoid any fabrics that are really heavy and too-structured. Those types of wide leg pants will be too much for you as a petite.
Avoid Too Much Length
I’m sure as a petite you’re pretty familiar with the concept of pants, skirts, everything being longer than you’d like. Wide leg pants are often going to be rather long in their length because of the style and trend of them. That means you are going to need to make sure the length is on point when selecting your petite wide leg pants. If they’re too long they’re just not going to do your shape any favors. Unfortunately, too much length on a petite woman is a recipe for disaster. The additional material will shorten you and add bulk where you don’t want it.
Because of that, it is critical for you to shop at petite designers. Getting your wide leg jeans in petite size is the first step that will make sure all the main measurements are tailored for shorter women, such as inseam length and rise.
That said, even if you’re shopping in the petite section, chances are they could still be too long for you, especially if you are under 5 feet tall. The reason is because even though petite brands are designed for women under 5’4″ (some are under 5’3″ or 5’5″), they are actually made according to the measurements of petite models who are usually about 5’4″ tall. What that means for girls who are 4’11” or 5’2″ is that you might find the petite sized wide leg jeans or pants could be a bit longer than you need.
If you’re not quite sure how to know whether or not the length is right, a good rule of thumb is to check to see if there’s a break in the front when the pants rest on your shoes. If the material “breaks” or folds you’re going to need to get them hemmed a bit. Another place to check is the back, you don’t want the pants dragging on the ground at all.
STYLIST TIP: When getting any pants hemmed make sure you bring the heel height you plan to wear most often with you. This will ensure that you have the right length for the shoes that you wear. ALSO, wash your pants at least twice before you go to get them hemmed. Shrinking often occurs in the washing process and you don’t want to end up with pants that are too short.
Wear the Right Shoes
Now that we’ve gone over the key characteristics to look for when selecting the right pair of petite wide leg pants, let’s chat about what to wear those pants with…like the shoes you should wear! As you may have gathered by now, petite wide leg pants are going to need some balance to avoid them looking like they’re completely consuming your body. One way that you are going to create some of that balance is to wear your petite wide leg jeans with high heels. I know….high heels are every petite woman’s go to for obvious reasons. But when you’re wearing wide leg pants they’re even more essential. The added height will add more length to your shape overall in a great way.
That being said – you don’t want to wear your petite wide leg pants with boots or shoes that are too heavy. Big shoes are going to add additional bulk to the bottom half of your body and shorten you. Instead, stick with shoes like pumps, sandals, etc.
Balance Out The Top
Continuing the conversation about what to wear with your petite wide leg pants, you’re going to need to wear something on top. Keep the same balancing focus/idea in the back of your head when styling your wide leg pants. Just like with the shoes, you should choose a top to wear with your pants that fits closer to your body so you aren’t in too much fabric. You don’t have to wear skin tight tops but you should be able to see where you are at in the shirt to create some of that definition and balance out the wide leg silhouette of the pants.
If you want, or need, to wear a jacket with your wide leg pants outfit choose a jacket that has structure and is a bit of a cropped style. This will keep the balance going strong.