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How to Find the Best-Fitting Pants for Older Women

By Doreen Dove October 07, 2021 Makeup and Fashion

What is the hardest item of clothing to shop for as an older woman? PANTS!

Oh my, how we ladies struggle to find a great fitting pair of pants. Most women give up right there in the store and they settle! Well, no more settling. One thing we ladies over 60 know how to do is say NO!

So here is the pant shopping protocol.

First, interview the pants and then get naked! Got your attention?

Good… now read carefully! If you were going on a date with hopefully a well-dressed gent, what would be the requirements you might have for your prospect?

Let’s pick four things. He’s wearing a belt. He has change in his pockets. His pants aren’t dragging on the floor. His butt isn’t sagging in his cotton khakis.

Oh my, you are particular, aren’t you? If only you were that particular when it came to the choices that actually affect your pants!

Let’s visualize the process of hunting, gathering, finding a dressing room, and then getting naked in the hopes of exiting said dressing room looking like Cate Blanchett in a perfect fitting, traffic-stopping pair of pants!

Guess what – your chances of that happening if you have skipped the all-important interview process are nil, none, and zip! Plus – didn’t your mother ever warn you about getting naked on the first date? So what’s the point?

Let me help you with some “gathering” pointers – I call it the 4-point checklist.

#1: Stop Buying Pants with Belts

When was the last time you wore a belt? Ten years ago? Then why are you still buying pants with belts? Put those pants back on the rack! You should buy pants that fit well and that don’t need a belt to adjust the fit anyway.

#2: Say No to Side Pockets

Do you have a little extra in the hips? Then why are you still buying pants with side pockets? Note to self… there are no more phone booths so no need for jingling change in your pockets, which translates to no need for pockets. Put those pants back on the rack!

women's plus-size, sport-knit, high-rise elastic waist, pull-on, tapered trouser pants at Lands’ End

For instance, you can check out the women’s plus-size, sport-knit, high-rise elastic waist, pull-on, tapered trouser pants at Lands’ End.

On the other hand, you may want to add some oomph around your hips with pockets if you have a slim body type. Make sure that the pockets don’t create bulges and also refrain from stuffing a bunch of things in them.

#3: Lose the Loose Fabric

Do you find you have a baggy butt in your pants? Then why are you buying pants with bottoms that are 12 inches wide? Do the math… 12 inches, times two sides, equals 24 inches of fabric that actually starts at the hip! No wonder you have a baggy butt!

Look for pants that have an 8 to 10-inch bottom, like the BRIGITTE Blue Floral Slim Ankle Pants at Chico’s. Go no wider unless you are going for the 70s look. Put those pants back on the rack!

BRIGITTE Blue Floral Slim Ankle Pants at Chico’s

#4: Kick Out the Khakis

Did I mention khakis? Geez ladies… leave those stiff cotton pants for the guys! They can stand on their own – you don’t even have to be wearing them! You need to be wearing your clothing as opposed to your clothing wearing you!

Opt for Chino’s instead of the bulky khakis. Chino’s are typically made with lightweight cotton and have a similar look to khakis. Here’s an example of Striped Relaxed Chinos at Talbots.

Striped Relaxed Chinos at Talbots

Look for luxury fabrics like Ponte knits (like the Harper Glen Plaid Ponte Trousers at Nordstrom), all-season tropical wools, and blended fabrics that include a bit of Lycra for ‘forgiving’ – anything but stiff cotton khakis that look like you are wearing your canvas tote bag. Put those pants back on the rack!

Harper Glen Plaid Ponte Trousers at Nordstrom

The long and short of it is shopping can be challenging! Don’t make it worse by hunting and gathering for the wrong thing and then dropping your drawers resulting in a huge frustrating waste of time! Plus, now you are naked in the dressing room with not a salesperson in sight. Can you spell waste of time?

Here’s another pointer – shop online before you even start the car! Take your measurements, match them up with the ‘store fits’ before you even step foot in the store.

Most stores now carry several different styles to accommodate women’s fabulous figures including petite, plus, long, high rise, low rise, slim, curvy, and extra curvy. You can pre-shop online and then either buy there or call ahead to the store to make sure they have inventory.

Where have you found the best pants for women our age? Have you had any issues shopping for pants or other types of clothing? What gives you the most trouble? Please join the conversation.

Let's Have a Conversation!

The Author

Doreen Dove is an award-winning expert in the field of Image Consulting who coaches women to use style as a tool to take strategic control of their image and fully engage in the possibilities of their future. In addition to her one-on-one work with individual clients, Doreen conducts workshops and seminars for corporate groups and speaks at conferences across the country. Visit Doreen at http://doreendove.com. Her book, "Confidence is Always in Style", provides in depth expertise to help women identify and express their most authentic image with humor and clever insight. Get the book here: http://doreendove.com/confidence-always-style-purchasing-options/

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