Wide thick-cord pants have been having a comeback this year.
Now, nothing says Geography teacher to me faster than corduroy. But forget the slightly tailored look of front pleats and belted waistband.
Geography teachers – if they still exist – never wore these pants.
We’re talking about chunky but soft corduroy, cut wide and straight from the hip to the hem. And joy of joys – the elasticated waist – either the full waistband or just the rear part.
No belt hoops on the ones I bought, so no belt. I bought these locally here in France but they are available from many retailers at the moment. Scroll down to see links to similar pants available online from US and UK retailers – shipping to most countries in local currency. I’ve found great examples both floor-length and ankle grazers.
These are cosy, comfy easy-to-wear pants for cold or milder weather, ideal for winter hibernation when you’re snuggled on the sofa, as well as sunny Spring walks and shopping trips.
In fact I’m wearing mine right now to write this blog.
Perfect pants for casual days
Wide corduroy trousers are one step smarter than jogging bottoms. But they are still super casual. In fact, they are often modelled by young people wearing big, bulky hoodies or padded jackets.
But that look is not for us women well over 50. Yes, we want a casual, athleisure vibe. But no, we don’t want to look like we left our skateboard at home today.
So, I’ve set out to show the dos and don’ts of styling soft, casual pull-on corduroy pants in 2023 for older women like us.
The right length for these wide pants
When I purchased these cords they drowned me. I felt embarrassed coming out of the changing room to look in the large mirror.
I always have to rehem pants but these looked far, far too long. That’s because they are aimed at young people wanting a street-wise vibe. They are meant to puddle around your ankles and graze along the floor.
But they were so comfortable to wear I decided to buy them, hem them and see if I could style them to suit me at over 70.
I decided to make them shorter than most of my other trousers. I knew I wouldn’t wear them much if the hems got dirty after every outing. Plus, there’s a lot of texture on jumbo cord, so I didn’t feel I needed to add more texture with folds around my shoes.
Here’s what I felt looked right at my age and at my size. I’m 62 inches tall and in these pics about 145lbs.
Which tops to wear with wide cord trousers
Now, if you are tall and slim, you can wear a fitted tee, or a semi-fitted sweater, and look great. This is the triangle silhouette where you are narrow on top and wider below.
But for the remaining 90% of us who are either short and/or heavier than we’d like to be, anything fitted on top is going to look awful!
Here are two examples of styling the wrong top. The shirt is fine except that the rounded hem emphasizes my hips which makes the outfit look bad. The striped tee cannot be front-tucked at the waist because it shortens the upper body and makes the pants look enormous.
I usually urge you to wear an inverted triangle silhouette – slimmer trousers, bigger top. But these pants are so wide, it makes the inverted triangle near enough impossible.
So you want to style yourself as a rectangle.
That means you are going to balance the width of the trousers with the width of the top.
The type of shirts that work well with wide pants
Boyfriend, over-sized shirts can work well. Wear the shirt fully or partially buttoned or wear it over a tee shirt. The tee shirt can be wide-cut, waisted or fitted. No-one will notice.
Any shirt that has a good shoulder line and hangs straight down without any darts for the waist will look good.
You are looking to get the all-over big silhouette.
We usually try to minimize the width of our silhouette if we’re heavy or square. But this is a slouchy casual athleisure look so don’t fight it.
In fact if you try to make these wide trousers look narrower, you will mess up the look completely. Wear the width like you mean it. Stick your hands in your pockets to spread the hips even wider.
Do jackets look good with these trousers?
No. You’re too old to do the skateboard hoodie look and the padded jacket will make you look like a deflating balloon left after your grandkid’s party.
If you’re outside without a coat, you could wear a big, thick, longer cardigan (only tie the belt if you are fabulously tall and slender.) Or a chunky poncho that falls to the top of the thigh – in the front but also at the sides.
Which sweater to select over thick wide pants
Jumpers look good with wide pants. Just make sure they are slightly oversized.
A turtle neck which lies tight to the neck is too slim. Leave the roll neck to crumple around your neck, or wear a cowl neck or a mock neck sweater. The extra height of these sweaters is great. But you don’t want to emphasise your neck as being very slim, if your middle or hips are wide.
To big up your top, push up the sleeves quite high. Wear a scarf perhaps to emphasise the width of your shoulders.
Do layers look right with jumbo cord pants?
Yes. Slightly over-sized sleeveless knits, sweater vests, have been in fashion for a year or so now. If you have one, pop it on over any sweater or shirt. Instant big top.
What length of top looks good with wide corduroy pants?
Now, if you follow these posts, you’ll know I like to camouflage my big waist by adding the half-tuck to the front of most tops, then showing a belt buckle to mark just the centre of my waist. I rarely suggest wearing a tee shirt straight down over jeans, for example.
But this is a very different look.
Wear straight tops that come to the top of the thigh. The rectangle of your silhouette is then cut 50/50 between your top and your pants. Your hips won’t look big because the width of the whole look is the same.
That said, these wide pants need to be able to fit with ease over your tummy and hips. Unlike jeans where a bit of stretching and pulling is fine, these thick cord trousers need to hang, not caress. So buy a larger size perhaps – I did!
Beware of a shoe that makes your foot look small. Rather like that high turtle neck that makes your neck slim, a small shoe will look silly and out of proportion. Remember this is a cool sporty-meets-street style. Wear sneakers. Wear loafers. In warmer weather pop on last year’s footbed sandals with the broad straps across.
Of course, ankle or knee-high boots will easily slip on under these pants. As long as they’re not too smart or have pointy toes, they’ll look fine.
I tried on my navy cords with dark loafers and slightly lighter-weight tops. Then I put on my trainers for a slightly heavier look.
What style of coat looks best with these wide trousers?
You can wear most coats with these cord pants. If you stick with one color for top to pants, your coat, whatever color it is, will look great. Just don’t smarten up the look too much. A scarf is fine. A gold-chain handbag is less fine. To carry off this look with heels, even chunky heels, you need to be under 50.
The images above lead mainly to USA sites, apart from Cos which is global.
If you live in the UK I would definitely recommend taking a look at M&S’ s pull-on cord pants here.
So that’s it. Your new weekend cool.
An easy-to-wear current fashion that just needs a little style sense to make it ideal for us older women. And thank-you, thank-you, to the trend setters for bringing the elastic waist back for warm pants.
If you enjoyed this try-on article, take a look at some other styles I try on:
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