Who would have imagined that the “mom-jean” trend would come back so heavily! I sure didn’t. In fact, for the last ten years of my life, I’ve owned and worn pretty much only skinny leg jeans and skinny-fit work trousers. Now that these some different pants and jean styles are coming back into trend, I’ve been paying attention to the way everyone is styling them and what they look like on different people. But, it wasn’t until recently that I ventured into a few other styles!
I will always love my skinny jeans –– how can you NOT when they work with everything in your closet and are flattering on everyone? –– but like most things, it’s a little refreshing to break a habit you’ve had for so long. So, over a few months, I ordered a bunch of different pants that weren’t skinny jeans, to figure out what works on my frame. I’m very petite — 5’1″ — so I was skeptical of some trends that I’ve seen look great on taller ladies. I quickly found that I have been missing out on some really great pants, that work even on my petite frame, and I’m so happy to have a little variety in my life!
So without any more fluff, let’s get into it!
5 Pants To Buy That Aren’t Skinny Jeans
When I started noticing the mom jeans look, I immediately looked to Madewell first to see what options they had since every pair of Madewell jeans I own (see them here, here and here) is incredibly flattering. This pair, the Madewell Perfect Vintage, appealed to me because they weren’t drastically mom-ish and didn’t have a ton of distressing (although now, I really love this pair of distressed jeans). They’re more of a straight leg than a skinny leg, but they’re a little more tapered than regular straight leg pants. I was instantly drawn to the wash and the raw hem.
They’re a high rise pair, which I love, and the ankles cropped fit seemed like it would be flattering. Tip: for looser-fit pants, you always want to make sure your ankle shows, unless it’s a style that goes all the way to the floor like very wide leg pants or flare jeans.
They were a perfect “starter” pair for me, and even though they were backordered for two months when I bought them, there were DEFINITELY worth the wait. They have become my most worn pair of pants. I was so happy when I tried them on and they were PERFECT.
The details on this pair
Regular pair: 11″ high rise, fitted through the hip and thigh, 13″ tapered leg opening, 25 1/2″ full-length inseam.
As you can see in the photos below, this pair hits me lower on my ankle than on the model, even though I bought the petite option (which has a shorter inseam).
(Most of the items you see in these photos were sent in my Trunk Club box! You can read about that, here.)
More “mom jeans” that I’m loving
Paper Bag Waist Pants
These paperbag waist pants were like hitting the jackpot. Whether you need business attire for work or just want cute pants to dress up for a dinner out, I cannot rave enough about these. They are (a) comfortable with the perfect amount of stretch and (b) so flattering while still looking professional. And, even though none of us are actually going to offices anymore, including me, I still find myself wearing these at least once a week. (Yes, I still get ready even when working from home! I get dressed, do my hair and makeup! See my hair and makeup routine during the coronavirus phase here.) And when you do go back to an office, these are my #1 pick for pants for work.
Since I left Corporate America, I’ve been playing with styles that are a tad bit dressy, but also comfortable enough that I actually want to wear them. These fit the bill. Another great thing about these pants is that you can dress them down. Originally when I got these, I only imaged them with pumps and a blouse for work. But I’m quickly finding that they’re cute with sweaters, a basic tee shirt and a denim jacket, and loafers or ballet flats. And, they look amazing with a strappy camisole and sexy heels for date night.
These have a more slim fit through the calf and ankle but are still forgiving in the quads. And the stretch material makes them look great from behind but they don’t stretch out for that dreaded diaper butt look (we’ve all been there with work pants, right?). The waist hits above my belly button and ties at my natural waist. The bow is really flattering and a great statement if you’re wearing a more neutral outfit.
Again, the key to these is the cropped ankle.
If they hit lower on your ankle, I’d recommend having them hemmed. On that note, ALWAYS have your clothes altered if they don’t fit you perfectly. It makes a big difference and will help you make sure you really wear everything in your closet and that it looks the best it can on you!
When you’re buying skinny jeans, you’re typically looking for a pair that will work with every item in your closet, but that’s not the case with pants in fun colors and prints. And that’s okay! I’ve been drawn to fun colors recently. I love hot pink and light blue for the warm months and dark green and red for the colder months. These days, I’d pair a sweater with colored bottoms, but you can pair a creamy white blouse or linen top to make bold pants feel spring-y and summery when those months roll around. These are skinny jeans, yes, but I wanted to share how the color takes otherwise neutral pieces and makes it all more fun. (I’m still on the hunt for the perfect printed or colored pants that aren’t skinny! I shared a few I’m eyeing below!)
First of all, now that I’ve been wearing high-waisted pants for a while now, every time I put on lower cut pants I cringe. I love how a high waist or mid-rise feels like it’s hugging you in. And it makes a front tuck look so cute. I love wearing a colorful belt, too, and tucking in my tops. I recommend getting at least a single pair of pants that is high waisted so that you try it. You likely won’t look back.
The black pair above is a great example of high waisted pants and how flattering they are. Even my skinny jeans are almost all high-waisted now since they make my waist, legs and butt look better!
Pull on Pants
Pull on pants almost feel like cheating on wearing real clothes, but they they can look so professional. See? These don’t have any zippers or buttons but look professional and feel like yoga pants. I got these in a Trunk Club (and the top) but I haven’t had a chance to get them hemmed. I’ll get them cropped right above my ankle! To me, ankle length always means right above the ankle bone. It helps elongate your legs and make it look more fresh, modern and youthful.
I’m not super tall, so it’s important to me that my pants don’t make me look shorter than I am. For wide leg pants to work well on me, they have to go ALL the wait to the floor or they need to be a distinct, slightly higher ankle crop. And like I mentioned earlier, it’s always a good idea to have a tailor alter or hem your pants so that they fit perfectly, especially when it comes to length!
And another place that seems to have tons of pants that aren’t skinny jeans is Urban Outfitters. At first glance I wouldn’t gravitate there, but if you dig a little and picture the pants on you, not a teenager, they have good options too! Shop here!