The Curvy Girl's Guide to Finding Pants That Fit Flawlessly
Pants and I have not always seen eye to eye. When I was about 5 years old, my commitment to skirts and dresses was such that once, when my mother tried to force me into a pair of pants (that were, in hindsight, totally adorable) for school, I opted for an act of open defiance and decided to march to class in my underwear instead of give in to the tyranny of trousers.
However, somewhere along the way, I was seduced. And, in (another) act of defiance, had a beautiful pair of high-waisted, wide-leg pants made, ignoring my private school's strict "skirts only" rule. My love affair was pretty short-lived. I was suspended for a week. After making a ruckus over women's rights, the school changed its rules, and once everyone could wear them, I could no longer see the appeal.
As an adult, my fascination became all about fit. I’ve always known the value of my assets, and so often my "Beyoncé booty" felt ignored in a summer dress or an A-line skirt. Working in a business where women expend so much energy trying to exercise away their curves was insane to me; all I wanted was to highlight my thin waist and bodacious behind. But the fit was too often problematic.
As a result, for years I avoided wearing trousers because I could never find a pair that worked with my proportions. Gapping at the waist and tightness at the hips does not a good look make.
But then Nicolas Ghesquière happened. The designer's F/W 05 collection for Balenciaga had hip-hugging military trousers that pooled languidly around the ankles, exuding that type of Parisian coolness that’s both sexy and chic. I had to dive in, and in the process, I learned a few lessons.
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Accept the fact that not all pants are created equal. They’re not all gonna work for you. For instance, I can lust after low-rise boyfriend jeans or an ankle-length cigarette pants all I want. But the reality is these cuts just cling in all the wrong places. I’ve grown to accept that a high-waisted style with a relaxed or wide leg is much more flattering for my shape. When it comes to trouser trends, just say no; stick to what works for you.
If you are blessed with a curvy bottom and/or thick thighs, lucky you. You’re killing it. But understand that that means your fabric choice is that much more important. A super-thin or sheer fabric might be a little too immodest. Options in silk or lightweight linen shouldn’t be too tight and are better off lined. For unlined options, look for stiffer fabrics. And most importantly, avoid too much stretch: It tends to look cheap.
Bigger is better. Don’t be afraid to go up in size. I have never in my adult life purchased my actual size in pants. Most times I go up TWO sizes. These thighs need room to breathe. And, I secretly love when the sales person says "That’s way too big for you." Thanks.
There is not one pair of pants in my closet that has not been nipped and tucked at my corner dry cleaners. Skip the overpriced tailors, and just find someone who is really willing to work around your body. Early in our relationship, my tailor asked, "Why don’t you just buy clothes that fit you?" (I’ve since forgiven him.) The truth is that bigger sizes make it possible to tailor trousers exactly to your body for the perfect fit. I always get the waist taken in, and occasionally the leg (to make it a touch more narrow), and have the hem taken out. If they’re not dragging on the floor, I don’t want them. It makes me look taller when I wear heels, and I love the slightly slouchy look when I wear flats.
What tricks do you use to find the perfect pair of pants? Share your tips in the comments!