Many women struggle to find pants that are a great fit — more than just “they’ll zip”. And it’s often because they don’t understand the criteria that define flattering fit in the first place. Know this: You may not find perfection right off the rack. A well-fitted pant starts with the right style for your body type and ends with strategic alterations and the perfect length. Let’s make this the year for your best-fitting pants ever …
Pants should skim over the body, and are too small if they form a bulge of soft tissue above the waistband, reveal underwear lines, bow open the side pockets, pull in horizontal wrinkles from the crotch area or pull the leg creases flat through the thigh area.
In considering “how tight is too tight?” don’t forget to allow for the fact that pants with a percentage of Spandex in the fabric will relax a bit with wear.
Pants need to fit both the hips and waist even though many women have a non-standard waist-to-hip ratio. Styles with slightly lowered waistlines make fitting that imbalance easier, but extreme figures may still need alterations to perfect the fit.
Buy the size that fits your “critical fit zone” – the area of your body that is proportionally larger – because you can’t let out a tight area. If you buy to fit a fuller hipline with just a bit of “hug” under your derriere, you can (relatively) easily have the waistline made smaller. If you buy to fit a fuller waist, you can have the curved side seams taken in.
A skimming fit through the thigh area is usually more flattering than a looser cut. That was a surprise for me … but when I dared to experiment, I really liked the look. Take a pair to the dressing room and see for yourself; it doesn’t cost a cent to try.
Length is an important part of pant flattery. A style with a wider leg needs to cover most of your shoe, ending no more than ¾” above the floor. A narrower leg obviously won’t fit over your shoe, but should be hemmed as long as possible without gathering at the ankle.
(BTW: if you haven’t gotten into skinny jeans or pants … head back to that fitting room. Trying is free and you may be happily surprised.)
The lower leg of walking shorts, crops and capris should fit close to the body to avoid forming a widening horizontal at the hem.