I don’t wear printed palazzo pants, I don’t wear solid ones either. Basically, I don’t wear pants that highlight the back part of my body that I affectionately refer to as “the dead zone.” Fluid, drapey pants that make it look like I am smuggling two ham hocks under my pants is just a no go for me. No matter how much I workout my juicy thighs and cellulite, that I have had since I was 14, will not go away. Palazzo pants only highlight the part of my body that needs structure.
Yet, I see the merit of palazzo pants. They’re airy, fluid, comfortable as pajamas and very feminine. You can move around in them, bend and squat and, unlike a skirt, you don’t have to worry about causing a fire with your thighs. However, have you ever looked at yourself from behind when wearing a pair of palazzo pants? Or have you just tried to ignore it? I understand if you would rather just stick your head in the sand. I can’t tell you how many times I have chosen comfort over flattering my figure. So, if you’re either in denial or are one of the lucky ones who can wear palazzo pants, below are some tips on how to wear them, even if they aren’t perfect for your body. Believe it or not, if palazzo pants are a no-no for you, there are some workarounds that can make these airy pants look good. Here’s how.
How to Wear Printed Palazzo Pants
First, it should be noted that I chose to exclusively use printed palazzo pants for this post because prints can be great at camouflaging because they keep the eye moving and cover up what you don’t want others to see. A pair like this from Boden does just that.
Next, the types of tops you wear with palazzo pants is important. One of the first suggestions is to choose a cropped style, like this one from Theory. The top doesn’t have to be super cropped, just short enough to work with the proportion of the pants. The benefit of this type of shirt is your see the curve of the hips and the definition of the waist which can make your body look more balanced. With bigger bottoms a shorter top is more flattering. However, this look isn’t for everyone. Be careful if you have a large chest or very short waist. Crop tops will shorten the look of the torso, not good if you are already short-waisted, and a shortened torso will also make large boobs look disproportionately buxom. This may sound like a win if you have a small chest, but, anyone with a large bust will tell you, it’s not the dream it sounds like it is.
To finish this outfit, I added a pop of color with these Sam Edelman flats, a white quilted tote from Lord & Taylor, white, braided leather bracelet from Banana Republic and silver earrings from Robert Lee Morris.
For the short-waisted and large-chested ladies who can’t wear cropped tops, there is a solution, it’s simple, just choose longer tops. However, there are some rules around this. You never want to wear long, shapeless tops or tunics with palazzo pants unless you are really tall and really thin. Shapeless tops with shapeless bottoms make everyone look short, squat and stout. Sure, models may wear them but, again, they’re tall and thin. When I say long I simply mean non-cropped. Locate your pelvic bones on your body and figure no more than an inch or two longer than that point as the length you want. Next, these tops needs to have shape. A slim, knit top, like this one from Modcloth, creates a longer, leaner line with these Alice + Olivia printed palazzo pants.
Wider pants create shorter looking legs. It’s just a fact. To add some height, I used these soft, blue wedge sandals from Camper and accessorized the outfit with a coral purse from Lodis, minty summer wrap from Nordstrom and hibiscus earrings from Stella & Dot.
If you’re shapely, like me, I can’t stress enough how important it is to highlight the waist when wearing palazzo pants. When you are curvy your waist should be your best friend and considered your greatest asset. By using this shaped top from eShakti, with these printed palazzo pants from Zara, a more balanced figure is created. Work with your curves, not against them. When you have curves it is also important that the legs of your palazzo pants not be too big. You want to graze your larger thighs, not wear all this billowy fabric around them. If you’re petite, a slimmer leg will also be a smart choice so you don’t look shorter than you already are.
This outfit is accessorized for the weekends with a pair of yellow sandals from Giani Bernini, a tan bag from Coach and a gold necklace from Kenneth Jay Lane fills in the neckline for a simple finish.
An alternative to a pair of palazzo pants is a cropped pair. Sometimes just taking away all that fabric in the hem makes a difference. However, there are still some pitfalls that can come with this style. The first is where the hem of cropped palazzos from lands on your legs. Make sure it isn’t at the wides part of your calves, especially if you have thick legs and ankles. Second, if you are petite, be careful. Cropped pants can make even the tallest of people look short and wide, but wide leg cropped palazzo pants is like a double whammy.
If you have a straighter figure, with narrow hips and a straighter waist, you can choose a more relaxed shirt to wear with these types of pants, like I am styling this Rebecca Taylor tank with these cropped palazzo pants from Mango. A straighter body shape will give these pants a longer, leaner look.
The outfit is finished with a pair of colorblocked sandals from Modcloth, a white shopper tote from Nine West and basic gold hoop earrings from LOFT.
Have a tummy? Let me warn your about pleats and elastic waist bands before you purchase any palazzo pants. You have to be careful. A small amount of elastic is fine, but too much and you will basically be emphasizing the body shape you are trying to avoid. This pair of palazzo pants from Chico’s, currently sold out, here is an alternative style from Chico’s, has a small elastic. Either choose flat front palazzo pants or styles that won’t bunch too much around the waist.
To give this look a clean appearance over the tummy, I chose a this sleeveless button down shirt from Theory that creates the look of a waist, something that women with tummies don’t always have but can easily create, that is structured enough to lay flat on the midsection without showing any lumps and bumps.
The look is finished with a pair of orange flat sandals from Aerosoles, a gold bracelet from Stella & Dot, turquoise and gold chandelier earrings from Max & Chloe and canvas metallic bag from MICHAEL Michael Kors.
When buying palazzo pants, just remember, hiding out under heaps of loose fabric will not hide anything, it will only make you look like you are hiding under heaps of loose fabric. Don’t be afraid to work with the natural curves of your body, and always remember to look at yourself from behind before leaving the house or dressing room.
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[…] pair well with solid tops and chunky statement jewelry. Bridgette Raes, style expert, lays out a few ground rules for wearing patterned palazzos, including choosing cropped tops and accentuating your waist against […]