Today I’m trying on some relaxed white linen pants from marksandspencer.com. And I’m suggesting 5 ways to style them into outfits for various activities. This way I hope none of us just wear the same tried and tested set of clothes day after day ‘because they work’.
You can get pants like these just about everywhere this year. If you click on the retailer under an image in the main part of this post you will get to the UK retailer’s site.
Please scroll down to the matrix of images for:
- Marksandspencer US
- Boden US
- J Crew
(Note, these are affiliate links so if you click and buy I likely get paid a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for your support!)
Some retailers offer cropped pants in white, others only offer full-length pants in white linen. So, like me, you may have to shorten these pants to get the look that suits you.
How to select your summer linen trousers
The most important decision is what is the best length linen trousers for you.
I am 62 inches tall and need a size 14 UK (10-12 US), (42 French), which means I’ve got pretty big hips for my height.
If I were tall and slender I might wear this year’s wide pants slightly puddling over my sandals. But alas this look makes me look even broader.
So the question is: to the ankle or shorter?
I tried to buy cropped linen pants but at the time I was looking there were none in my size. And this year’s full-length pants are made long enough for an over-the-foot look. So I spent half an hour in front of a long mirror pinning them up an inch or so at a time to see how cropped they should be. I found just above the ankle was my best length.
How to decide on the length of cropped pants
Many of you will be able to wear wide pants cropped much shorter, to mid-calf probably. But two things influenced my decision to crop them just above the ankle. First my ankles are heavy these days (I’m 74). And second, we’ve hardly seen the sun here in England until today so my legs are pale. A tan works wonders with cropped pants, especially white pants. So don’t let my longer length crops influence you.
Once you’ve hemmed your pants to a good length ( I just use iron-on hemming strips) here are ideas for how to wear them throughout the summer this year.
1. Your sunny day outfit
Wide-cut linen is perfect for hot days. So here I’ve teamed the linen pants with a wide-cut linen sleeveless tank, also in white.
To add interest I’ve put on large hoop earrings. And I’ve added this year’s best-selling summer footwear – sliders. A thick built-up sole gives me extra height and looks right with the large silhouette of the top and pants.
Then I’ve added more jewelry and a narrow belt for when I want to stay cool but feel smarter.
Take a cover-up along too
If, like me, you feel uncomfortable showing your upper arms in public, you’ll need a lightweight cover-up for walking from the beach to the bar or from your backyard to a neighbour’s barbecue.
I’ve chosen a long black linen oversized shirt and rolled back the sleeves. The bare skin just above the wrist mirrors the bare skin just above my ankle so the outfit looks well-balanced.
If you need a cover-up for a less casual day then a boxy cropped linen shirt worn as a jacket works well.
Note that all the layers stand away from the body so you stay cool when the temperature mounts.
2. Your walk along the seashore outfit
As these cropped pants are in that soft type of linen that doesn’t really stay ironed for more than an hour or two, most women will wear them a little wrinkled and ‘lived in’. Rather than an iron, a small steamer works well on this type of linen.
So you’ll never look overdressed for a scramble over the pebbles with the grandkids.
Keep the color palette natural. I’ve put on a tee I’ve had for quite a time because it’s in an earth tone that is more calming than bright white. Look through your closet for off-white, ivory, cream, buttermilk, stone, dark beige and brown tops to keep the look in tune with the landscape around you on your seashore stroll.
3. Your sightseeing outfit
Walking around new places can be hot and exhausting. A short-sleeved tee is often the best choice. I find a modest neckline takes me anywhere. It doesn’t look like something you’d wear to work but it doesn’t suddenly look inappropriate in a museum for example. A striped tee says summer holidays. But any bright tee works just as well.
If you don’t want to change before heading off to a restaurant in the evening then add a blazer. This one featured in my French Chic wardrobe this Spring. If the yacht club vibe isn’t for you, add a casual blazer in a color that works with the color of your tee shirt.
4. Your cooler day holiday outfit
If you holiday anywhere north of the middle of France you can expect some cooler days even in the middle of summer. So here’s what I’d wear to get the full-on summer holiday look a la francaise.
Navy and white is a match made in ….Paris. So it’s useful to have a navy sweater or cardigan at the ready when wearing your white linen pants. The side-ways stripes on the cotton knit Breton keep the wide look from shoulder to ankle.
But a finer, long cardigan to mid-thigh or longer would look good too if you prefer a more slimming style outfit. Just be sure you buy it large enough not to cling to your back. This wide-leg style is all about relaxed fit.
5. Your smart summer outfit
If you’re off to a smart lunch or a concert with a friend, then here’s an idea of how you could wear your wide linen pants.
Instead of a cotton tee pop on a silk, or silky, shirt. Push it into the waistband and add a belt. The shirt can be a wonderfully bright color such as fuschia or, as here, a more subdued tone. The main thing is to make sure it drapes well.
I like to roll back the sleeves so my bare leg area is matched by my bare arm area. So if you’ve chosen pants that are cropped a lot higher on the leg than mine, push back your sleeves a bit further towards your elbow.
A jacket always looks smart. And sunglasses make you feel confident – probably because they hide any creases around your eyes.
You can make lots more summer outfits with a staple item such as white pants. I’ve just used items I have with me on my travels here in the UK this Spring.
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