Patterned pants have gained momentum over the last five years and for good reasons. They are more unexpected than patterned tops, skirts and dresses. They are another way to wear pattern away from the face, which for some is a prerequisite for wearing any pattern at all. And they can amp up a stay at home style.
When adding patterned pants to your wardrobe, there are three variables to consider: silhouette, pattern and support act.
All styles of pants are available in patterns these days, so there is ample variety in silhouette. From skinnies, straight legs, upscale track pants, cigarette pants and ankle pants, to bootcuts, wide flowing flares, high-waisted cropped pants, capris, culottes, slouchy styles and paper bag styles. Choose the style that best suits your style, lifestyle and figure flattering priorities.
The type of pattern can greatly influence your decision to wear patterned pants, almost as much as the silhouette itself. On one extreme, patterns can be big and bold like a bright happy floral. Or they can be small, tonal and neutral like a dainty pinstripe, houndstooth or glen plaid on a pair of trousers. And there are countless patterns that run between the two extremes.
Generally, a bold and bright pattern is easier to wear in a sleek silhouette because there is less of it. And you might find that a smaller tonal pattern is less overwhelming in a wide, flowing style.
How you style patterned pants has a lot to do with creating a high or low contrast between the pants and the top, and possibly a topper. The contrast created between the pants and the footwear is another important point to bear in mind. Generally, creating a lower contrast between the patterned pants and the top will look more slimming because it increases the vertical integrity of the outfit. Wearing a high-contrast top with patterned pants might mean adding a bit of a heel to the outfit, although none of these elongating strategies are essential.
I don’t believe that you have to be relatively smaller on the bottom half of your body or straighter in general to wear patterned pants with panache. Nor do you have to be tall or wear a regular size. Any body type can wear a pair of patterned pants with a little forethought to silhouette, pattern and styling. Many of my clients wear patterned pants and their body types run the gamut. It’s especially great when my curvier and pear shaped clients enjoy wearing patterned bottoms because the widening effect of patterned pants is a myth when the combined variables are just right.
If you’re wary of patterned pants but would like to give them a whirl, choose a tried and tested silhouette in a small pattern made up of neutral tonal colours so that the patterned effect is subtle. Combine it with a low-contrast top and footwear.
Over to you. Do you wear patterned pants, and if so which styles and patterns tickle your fancy? Or are patterned pants a no-go no matter what?