Does it seem possible that fashion companies are leaving out a large portion of their buying public this season? It would certainly seem like it if the trend to push the skinny jean or pant on women is any indication. As I go through rack after rack of impossibly narrow pants, I often wonder if there is any option for the average girl this year? Even Gap is jumping on the bandwagon with an Audrey Hepburn (the only woman who could really wear a skinny pant with style) inspired skinny pant campaign. Is there any hope for those that don’t wish to succumb to the “bare all” nature of the skinny?

There certainly is in the form of the wide-leg pant. Fashion’s new preoccupation with excessive volumn(to counteract its love affair with super-skinny items?) is played out in the most eccentric and charming ways with these ultra-wide pants. These are not the “wide leg” cargos of the late 1990s, but rather a garment which harkens back to the sophistication of Katharine Hepburn and the 1940s. The styles range from more fitted with a flat front, to wildly wide with pleats. They also are much kinder to the figure compared to skinny pants–providing much needed coverage for those of us that are far from model-thin.

The key to wearing this style is to balance out the volume with a fitted top. Although many fashion photo-editorials show the wide-leg pant with an equally full jacket or coat, I find this look is not tidy and tends to make even the models look like they’re wearing potatoe sacks. Pairing the wide pant with a tissue jersey turtle neck and thin cardigan worn open (loose) creates a pleasing sillhoette. Or how about a silk-print blouse worn with a tailored vest? A chunky-knit sweater that is fitted rather than loose isalso a great option. Another “must” for this style is footwear. Opt for something that has some bulk to it; this season is great for chunky-heeled pumps and wedges. Fun colors peeping from beneath the floor-sweeping hem is a great way to intigrate color into a neutrals-based wardrobe.

The directions you can take this style are endless! Go totally retro with cream wool slacks and a black skinny crewneck tee, layers of necklaces and chunky open-toe wedges (a la Coco Chanel in the 1930s) for a French vibe. Or play up the 1970s vibe with a collegiate look pairing denim pants with a thin-stripe sweater, layer skinny scarves, chunky-heel boots and a knit cap. Have fun with the man-tailored vibe of this style is wear a crisp oxford shirt in a feminine color, a sweater vest and polished flats. The possiblities are quite endless; I find this style very verstile.

There really is no reason to feel left out in this Season of Skinny. Try a new pants style and give your bootcut slacks a rest for awhile. You’ll be amazed at how fun these are to wear! 🙂

where to buy: Anthropologie, Free People, Le Train Bleu, Urban Outfitters, H&M, Delias.

above: women who rocked the pants look in the 1930s and 1940s. (L to R) Lauren Bacall, Marlene Dietrich, Katharine Hepburn. Images courtesy Simply Classics and Dr. Macros’ Scans.

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