Trousers – Wide or Narrow Leg?

Are you a wide-leg trouser fan, or are narrow legs more your thing?  I’ve always felt more comfortable in straight or narrow legs, and have never really been a wide-leg-trouser person.  I tried some on once (actually they were pyjamas!) and they looked alright, but I’ve never owned a pair as they always seemed so grown-up to me!

But there are so many nice inspiring naval style trousers in blogland!  So with the belated realisation that I am grown-up, and aided by the fact that my personal trouser block has long needed redoing, because I have not only grown up but out as well, I took the plunge into Wide Leg Trouserville.

I’m quite happy with the results, and they are very comfortable – the fabric is a relatively heavy but stable knit with good drape – the same fabric as my 1956 All Black Dress.

I have a long waist to hip height, so commercial patterns never fit me.  When I make my own, the front rise looks fine:

Although it looks like I need to shift those L side buttons down a bit lol!  The back rise is good too:

I thought these two side-on photos were worth posting – in the first one I am standing as normal for me, and in the second one I am trying to hold in my tummy and tuck in my bum – look at the affect this has on how the leg hangs:

I thought this was a good example of how things need to be fitted to your natural posture, not your wannabe posture!

My favourite thing about these trousers are the buttons:

They were pilfered from my mother’s button box many years ago but I had never found the perfect use for them.  I think I finally have – thanks Mum!

The buttonholes were made using my Greist buttonholer, which jammed on the first buttonhole and left
a few snags, but I made sure the worst was covered up with the button.  I decided to close the pockets in this knit fabric as they curled out slightly.  By doing this the buttonholes didn’t need to be cut, so I made them longer to make those pretty satiny stitches more visible.

I’m actually thrilled with my new wide-leg trousers – they are really nice to wear, but I still have to get used to all that fabric around my ankles when I’m walking!  I’m undecided what shoes to wear them with too – I envisage these trousers would look nice with flats but I don’t think I’ll wear them that casual, so I hemmed them for shoes around 8cm high.

Do you like wide leg trousers, or are you a narrow-leg devotee?  Maybe you switch between both with ease!  Is there a reason you prefer one style to the other – does one flatter your figure more, or is it a personality thing?

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73 thoughts on “Trousers – Wide or Narrow Leg?

  1. oh wow – they are so fabulous – I prefer flared or straight trousers because they balance out my heavy top – otherwise in tapered pants I look like I'm a house on stilts. Burda has a lovely pattern for the sailor look pant you've just made. I think you've just bumped it up on my “must sew” list.

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  2. These are just perfect. I'm just venturing into the world of trousers and perfecting my block, so sticking to slim legs at the moment. But I am very inspired by these and am pinning them to my inspiration board for when I've cracked the block and can start experimenting.

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  3. The pants look great on you, but wide legs look absolutely ridiculous on me. I'm rather short & I wide leg only make me look stout. I find that a tapered leg & waistline that hits me just below the my natural waist is most flattering, so that's what I stick with.

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  4. Those trousers are lovely, and look wonderful on you. I like the sailor-style buttons on them. 🙂 I'm a straight or wide-leg trouser person myself, just because I find them easier to move around in. Although I only wear trousers probably once every two months, if that.

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  5. I love sailor pants, but I cannot find a pattern that fits on the natural waist. Your pair looks absolutely perfect to me. Just the way I would want them to fit. Smooth as glass! The buttons a great little detail.
    Good point about fitting to your real posture, not your “looking in the mirror” posture!

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  6. OMG, they look fantastic!!! What a drape, they hang sooo nicely, very flattering. I agree with the shoe height, they look really nice with a heel.

    That is exactly the kind of pant on my wish list: a wide leg that just hangs down from the hip. I don't like myself in narrow/skinny pants, being a pear I'd have to wear a tunic length top or something, but it's hard to get away with it as I'm also petite; it would cut me off at the wrong place. It's funny, I feel the same way about realising that I am actually grown up!

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  7. Stunning trousers, they hang perfectly, no horrible wrinkles, and thank you for the side on shot, it is something we all need to remember. I don't think I have tried wide leg trousers and being petite I would have to be careful with the volume, now I need to find the Burda Mary Nanna referred to.

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  8. Wow! Perfect fit! And drape. Wow! The only pants I won't wear are tapered – just awful on women with hips! But overall it depends on the top I plan to wear it with.

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  9. These look awesome–such a perfect fit and so flattering! Now I want to make some stable knit pants! Because I've quite full-busted and flat-assed/small-hipped (i.e. topheavy) I've always gone for wide legs to “balance” things out. I actually just finished my first pair of proper trousers and they're wide-legged. BUT I keep thinking I should branch out and try a narrow leg.

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  10. I prefer a leg width in between straight and flared but this is due to my figure being hip and thigh heavy so straight leg trousers do nothing for my figure.
    I love your trousers, I am aiming to get my trouser block to fit my new size so may use your trousers as inspiration if that's okay.

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  11. Your pants look lovely as usual. The drape is lovely.

    I prefer a wider leg, although the patterns I call wide leg probably aren't a true wide legged pattern. I just don't like skinny or really straight leg long pants since they make my legs look like chicken drumsticks (I am not too worried about shorts for some reason).

    Love the two posture photos – I seem to have the opposite problem with my posture and I am never sure whether the adjustments I make are the right ones since the wrinkles are different (what I see in the mirror is different to how it photographs on one day to another day). Some days it exasperates me while other days I let it slide.

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  12. Ooh fabulous trousers Sherry – they have everything I love in one go! They're a perfect fit, very flattering indeed, I'm guarantee you'll wear them a lot! Fab buttons too. I sway between narrow and wide legs, but you're right, wide legged strides definitely feel more grown-up! x

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  13. A very nice pair of trousers and the side photos are instructive too. As for my preferences, the most important consideration (for me) is close fitting hip and thighs. It may sound weird, but this is the most proportionate on me (short-waist, less than long legs, boobs, but relatively non-wide hips). Wide leg pants tend to overwhelm and make me look blocky, so I have only straight legs (and in the past, flares with slim-cut thighs). I'm thinking about making a pair of capris though. In anything, skirt or pants, a “hip-hugger” fit is more flattering and more comfortable for me than a high waistband.
    ~JenL

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  14. What a fabulous looking pair of trousers! The buttons are the perfect finish. I really like wide legged trousers and think they look flattering on a variety of shapes. Currently I am working on a pair of narrow legged pants. My gut is telling me I won't like them as much, but I do want to have a pair available for certain outfits.

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  15. Your trousers are terrific. The fit, the buttons, the drape of the fabric, and the long, slim line, sigh.
    Wide to straight leg is my style of choice when I need to wear trousers, as these shapes seem slightly less unflattering on me, and are comfortable.

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  16. These are fantastic – you do such an amazing job with fit! The buttons do look perfect too… I tend to wear a mix – straight & narrow, or boot cut, or super wide pants. I have some very fitted leg jeans but don't feel as comfortable in their shape – just feels too revealing!

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  17. I'm typically a straight leg or bootcut (narrow) jeans kind of girl. BUT a few weeks ago I found some killer RTW jeans with wide legs. They are so comfortable, I'm in love. I feel like substantial wedges/platform shoes are the only thing that look good with the wide leg though. they are too overwhelming with a small dainty shoe (at least for me–they cover up my entire foot!). and too long for my flats… still thinking about hemming them and maybe adjusting one of the two pairs to a narrow leg.
    Yours look fabulous!!

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  18. Absolutely stunning Sherry. Perfect fit,the style looks wonderful on you. Oh, if only my legs were 3″ longer!
    Is it possible to get that lovely fall at the back with straight trousers? My efforts always 'tuck under' the derriere no matter what I do.

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  19. I like both. Your trousers are fantastic! I love the sailor style. And your front rise fit is absolutely perfect. I am working on trousers as we speak and am incredibly frustrated. Sigh….

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  20. I tend to prefer wide leg or bootcut for me, they balance my womanly hips a little. Skinny leg trousers make me look like a leg of mutton ready to be cooked for dinner; not a good look. Love the fit you managed on those trousers; perfect!

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  21. These look very smart, and welcome to the world of wide-legged trousers! Myself, I have examples of all types of trousers and jeans, of all leg widths in my wardrobe. I like to mix it up!

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  22. I definitely have a preference for wide legs – they lengthen shorties like me. I have been looking for exactly this pattern with the buttoned sides. Did you self draft?

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  23. I prefer wide legs, and will not go further than straight. Narrow legs just look horrible on me.
    I do know what you mean by the fabric around the ankles, but I love the feel of it.
    By the way, did you use a pattern for these trousers? I really really do like them

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  24. I love these! I think wide-legs are so chic, and they're my preferred look for summer (bootcut/flared legs for cooler months). I have heavy thighs so tend to avoid slim/narrow legs. I would love to able to make something like this … One day!

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  25. I usually prefer straight leg to wide leg. Saying that more than often shop bought and commercial patterns are way to wide (as I do have thin legs.

    Your version is gorgeous!

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  26. These trousers are great. They fit you really well. I'm wide-legged or straight legged all the way. Narrow trousers make me feel like I'm being chocked at the legs. The only time I can wear narrow trousers is when they are really, really stretchy.

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  27. I'm trying to figure out if we “imprint” on the trousers that are in style when we're in our late teens/early twenties, or if we legitimately gravitate towards the styles that suit us. Maybe a bit of both… anyway, for me the most “comfortable” shape is one fitted through the thigh with a small flare below the knee. Do I like that because it actually looks good on me,or just because that's what was “in” when I was 20? Or just because it's a comparatively easy shape to fit?

    I don't know, but these look great—good for you! Those buttons are amazing, too. And thanks so much for sharing the two side photos—that's so fascinating the difference a minor shift in posture makes! 🙂

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  28. Those look amazing! I am really interested in how your posture changes the way the pants appear to fit. Thanks for including those two pictures. Given a choice, I will wear wide legged trousers first as I am an hourglass and they hang just right from my hips. Then, straight pants. Then, occasionally, stretchy skinnies with a long top.

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