Pick Your Perfect Pants – Exploring Leg Shape

Rae Cumbie is our resident pants expert, with a particular penchant for pants fitting. However, pants fitting is irrelevant if you haven’t first picked the right pattern for your body. Read on for Rae’s tips on selecting the right leg shape for your body. 

Screen Shot 2017 09 20 at 10.01.10 AM Pick Your Perfect Pants   Exploring Leg ShapeLEG SHAPES

The shape of the pants pattern leg should be considered in relation to your shape, height, lifestyle and type of shoes you wear. Take a look at these classic leg shapes and consider these suggestions.

  • Most women look good in straight or slightly tapered legs.
  • Tapered legs that accentuate narrow hips and legs flatter oval or inverted triangles shaped bodies with little waist definition.
  • The full hips of pear shape bodies can be exaggerated by a very tapered or skinny leg but are flattered when pants fall softly from the hips in straight- or wide-leg designs.
  • Short legs usually look best in tapered styles.
  • Long legs can appear shorter in wide-leg styles.
  • If you wear shoes with high heels to make you look taller, the pant leg should extend gracefully over the shoe.
  • If you wear athletic shoes or clogs, a straight or tapered leg hemmed with a small break looks neatest.
  • For cropped leg pants, choose a length that ends where the leg is most narrow.
  • Hem very narrow pants near the ankle and consider adding a slit in the side seam.
  • If you wear long loose tops, tapered or narrow pants are a good choice.
  • If you prefer high hip or cropped tops, tapered, straight- or wide-leg choices are flattering.
  • Cuffs add to the traditional look but can make legs look shorter.

What issues do you have with shapes of the leg portion of pant patterns? Let us know in the comments section below.

 Pick Your Perfect Pants   Exploring Leg Shape
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6 Responses to Pick Your Perfect Pants – Exploring Leg Shape

  1. The tapered leg works for me. I do have to do some alterations to the pattern , I am a little short so some style doesn’t look good on me.

  2. Mrs. Gary Szurek says:

    What about a genie style pant? The fullness/flare is below the knee.

  3. Meri says:

    I’m not really any of the shapes, but a combination of them all, leaning towards pear. My “middle” is the biggest and my hips/butt are enormous, my waist practically swallowed up by my large hips. My belly is a large mass hanging down over my panties when I can find panties to fit! It’s virtually impossible for me to find anything that fits “nicely” so I wear longer than normal shirts to try & hide the obvious: I’m obese. However, my lower legs are nice looking as are my arms below the elbow… Therefore, I prefer to wear something that accentuates them. Often, I wear leggings and a long shirt because they cover the most offending areas of my obesity and they are comfortable enough to allow me to move around when do things like walking, or getting up from a sitting position! I hate that most “styles” do not take into consideration the large woman–most older women are of larger sizes these days. My size ranges between a 22-26, depending on the cut. But mostly I seem to do well in a 3X, or a 24. Why are the pattern sizes not accommodated for our larger sizes?

  4. Cathy says:

    I’m an obese pear shape, with heavy, huge thighs. I don’t think there’s any possibility of getting a decent fitting pants pattern, because at the end of the day, I’ve still got a huge rear end and giant thighs. Not denigrating myself – simply stating the facts. This is not attractive and no amount of draping, alterations, or camouflage is going to change that I need to lose 200 pounds. Some fitting issues are simply insurmountable.

  5. Ginger says:

    I have large calves so the skinny or very tapered legs don’t fit well and make my legs look larger overall. One of my favorite styles I feel looks good on me are long palazzo pants. They seem to lengthen my body and also look very feminine when made out of flowy fabrics.

    • Amanda Carestio says:

      Same here, Ginger! Have you tried any pattern adjustments for enlarging the calves? Thinking about trying that myself on an upcoming pattern…