Palazzos are loose and flowing, wide-legged pants. The volume on the legs varies from wide to very wide. Lengths range from calf, to ankle, to floor-sweeping lengths. Fabrics are knitted or woven. Palozzos are generally made of soft and drapey fabric, but versions in rigid fabrics do exist. Waistbands can be structured, elasticated, or a combination of the two. Side entry pockets are a fun addition. Rises are usually on the high side, although mid-rise palazzos are available too. Palozzos can be dressy or casual, depending on the fabric and how you style them. They can be dead right for a cocktail party in a formal silk, crepe or chiffon. Or fab as a beach and pool cover-up in jersey knit.
The collection below shows good examples of palazzo pants:
I think of palazzo pants as a warm-weather wardrobe item because of their drapey, breezy, and relaxed integrity, and their lightweight fabrication. To my eye, they look best with Summer footwear. That said, palazzos can work in cold weather if the fabric is suitable and the support act keeps you insulated.
Palazzo pants take me back to the early ‘90s, when I last wore them in dressy and casual renditions. Black chiffon and crepe for dressy and business formal, and patterned cotton, linen and viscose with flat sandals, platform sneakers, mules, slides, and espadrilles for casual. I wore them calf and ankle length, and with short-sleeved boxy cropped tops and ballet style body-con wrap tops. Sometimes I wore them with a sleeveless sack-like tunic in the same fabric or pattern.
I remember how COMFORTABLE palazzos were, and how good they felt in the blazing Cape Town heat. Palazzos were practical because they kept you cool and covered when you didn’t want to wear shorts or a dress. I liked the versions with pockets and waist pleats, and enjoyed how they swooshed in stride. They made me feel grown-up and snazzy when I wore the dressy versions for events.
I also remember the not-so-fab aspects of palazzos. Their volume could make you feel un-streamlined and wide. A full elasticated waist — although forgiving in high heat — was like wearing pajamas all day. The excessive leg fabric would flap around as you walked. It was comical when the hectic Cape Town wind billowed them out like a balloon, or made them stick to your legs like skinnies. But worst of all was how the hems would get stuck under your feet in shoes without back closures when you wore them at long lengths. You could trip over them on the escalator and walking up and down stairs. I’ve also seen the hems get caught in an elevator.
I like the way palazzos look and my thumbs are up for the trend. You can eliminate annoying and hazardous hems by wearing them several inches shorter and reducing the volume on the leg. But on this leg of my style journey, I’m simply feeling Summer skirts and dresses more than this style of pant. So for me, it’s no thank you this season. How about you?