6:13:29 PM

How to shop for pants

I’ve come to the conclusion that there are two types of women in this world. Those who buy clothes that are too big for them and those that buy clothes that are too small. Rarely have I come across someone who buys the right size all the time - especially when it comes to pants. (My guess is you know which one you are.)

Usually women from one camp think the other is worse. Those that wear their pants too tight are likely to think, I’d rather that then have to keep pulling them up all day. Those in the too big group think it is better to be loose than show every curve. Both are equally bad! When pants are too tight you can see every line, curve, wrinkle, etc.... This is not flattering. When your trousers are too big you look dwarfed, unkempt, and uninterested in fashion.

  • Is it a struggle to button them? If so these pants are not for you. Many of us fall into the mindset of, ‘If I can button it that means they fit.’ WRONG. I might be able to squeeze myself into two sizes smaller than I am but that does not make me that size. Plus, who wants a muffin top?
  • Do they sit where they are supposed to? This applies to both the tight and loose wearers. If your pants are too big they will slip down on your hips, not sitting where they belong. On the other hand, if you go for tight you are likely to have to wear them higher on your body. Pants are made to sit at a specific spot on your body; they are cut and sewn for that proportion and not for the proportion you pick.
  • How does the fabric sit? When we opt for tight pants the fabric pulls, usually creating ripples in the fabric around your behind and hips. UGH! That draws attention there and makes you look. When the pants are too loose they are likely to bunch in the front when we walk, causing unsightly lines to run toward your inner leg. UGH, again.
  • What kind of pockets are we dealing with? Side pockets that gap open usually mean your pants are too tight (sometimes it means they are poorly made). Pockets with a flap in the back will make your behind larger. It’s just a fact of life (although sometimes you can tuck those flaps in and avoid the extra baggage look).
  • How do I look from the back? Most women neglect to look at the back when trying on clothes. But this is important because all day long people see your back nearly as much as your front. If your underwear lines show this is a PROBLEM. Obviously, we have a wide range of undergarment styles to choose from; sometimes a pair of thin boy shorts is the best option for pants.
  • What length do you need? This is obviously specific to the person. But if your pants are too long or too short you will look unkempt. Get to know a good tailor if either of these are your problem.
  • Do I need a curvy fit? A lot of retailers have introduced a curvy fit into their product line. Recently, Ann Taylor Loft, Banana Republic, Express, and the Limited have all done so. This fit is for those of us who are smaller in the waist while wider in the hip and thigh area. The hourglass or pear-shaped people may want to try this. If you are boxier or a heart shape these pants are not for you.
  • What does my friend think? Take a good, honest friend along with you when shopping. She’ll help ground you in your decisions. Sure maybe they are the coolest pants, the latest trend, the best color ever - but that doesn’t mean they work on you. Getting the outside opinion of someone who knows you and knows your lifestyle is important.
  • Lastly, am I convinced that not every pair of pants is for me? It’s hard to admit this, but unfortunately it is true. The latest styles, colors, shapes, designs, etc. are not made to flatter every body type. And since we look best in the things that flatter our personal figure, it’s good to acknowledge from the get-go that you can’t pull off anything you want to. Sorry.


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