How to wear the Pants in the Family

November 11, 2010

What do you do to replenish yourself? I ask myself this periodically because it is so easy for me to get caught up in the craziness of day-to-day life. I’ve become so much better at letting small things slide and rarely (although I wish I could say always) allow myself to get caught up in unnecessary drama.

This morning, for instance, I had a nagging suspicion that I was supposed to be doing something but my on-line calendar was blank so I thought…great, I can get my newsletter done. Oooops, my doorbell range at 9:55 and the second I opened it I realized that two new clients stood there ready to have their colors done.

Yikes! I had no makeup on and was dressed in my at-home clothes and slippers (and no, I refuse to post a picture!). In 23 years, this had never happened to me. Keeping two calendars has its drawbacks!

Not that long ago I would have been crazed and so distressed. Instead, I apologized profusely and told them I would be down in less than 10 minutes.

Thank goodness I have my makeup routine down to a 4-minute science, and I can easily reach into my closet and pull out a complete outfit in a matter of seconds. One less thing to stress about!

Who Taught You How To DressSo, I ask the question again…what do you do to replenish yourself? What calms your mind and feeds your soul? I feel blessed that I live just one block away from the ocean. This is a picture of the beauty I have to celebrate every day that instantly creates a sense of tranquility in my life! I hope it gives you a sense of calm and peace just to look at it.

I also know that many women are discouraged and stressed on a daily basis by their wardrobe and personal style (or lack thereof). In keeping with that, my clients often share with me that one of the most frustrating experiences for them is finding pants they love and that feel comfortable and look flattering. Who would think it could be so challenging, but we all know it is!

The good news is that there are some guidelines to follow that can help, and my friend, Mary Marino of Flashionista fame recently put together a do’s and don’ts guide to buying great pants. I wrote to tell her I thought her advice was right on target, and she offered to let me share it with you.


How to wear the Pants in the Family

One of the most popular topics at our Elements of Ageless Style Workshop last week was great fitting pants. What we came away with was a list of what works and what doesn’t.

“Ready-to-wear” is a misnomer. It’s really “ready-to-alter”. Every woman should have a tailor she can trust.

Pockets. On most pants (other than jeans) have your tailor remove the pockets completely, or at least stitch them shut. Putting hands and other items in pockets ruins the line of the garment, and they add bulk right where we need it least.

Avoid “Mom” Jeans. These have long rises and a waistband that sits right on the waist. The longer the rise, the more it accentuates the tummy. The newer-and far more flattering rises- finish with the waistband one inch below the navel for missy sizes, and at, or just below, the navel for plus sizes.

Low rises. Rises that are too short create any number of painful and unsightly issues like tummy bulges, muffin tops, and camel toes. Who needs that?

Bigger is better. When you’re in between sizes buy the bigger one. It’s easier to get a pant tailored smaller than it is to get it made larger. Even the slightest pulling is fattening.

Fit. A truly flattering fit grazes the hips and falls straight to the floor, with a medium-to-wide leg. Creases are slenderizing, if the style allows for it.

Proportion. Generally, the slimmer the pants, the fuller and longer the top can be. Wear wider pants with more tailored tops.

No elastic waists on woven pants. These are as dated as beehives and glasses on chains.

Avoid pleats. If you’re model slim with a nice flat tummy, then, maybe…

Avoid full legs with tapered ankles. This style is universally unflattering on any body type. Jodhpurs only work if you’re riding a horse.

Shorts. They’re having a weird fashion moment. Even some well-known missy stores are showing them with tights for Fall 2010. Anyone who wears this look should be rounded up by the fashion police and taken off the streets until they come to their senses.

Lengths. Hems should hit at, or slightly below, where the heel is attached to the shoe. For pants and jeans that you’ll want to wear with different heel heights, consider buying 2 pairs and hemming one shorter.

Mary Marino is a fashion journalist and clothing designer. For 20+ years she’s been identifying trends and giving them commercially viability for the fashion industry. She’s the creator of, a voice for interpreting popular culture as it relates to modern women staying healthy, fit, fabulous, and relevant. A Flashionista is a woman over 45 who loves style and fashion.

Visit to see what’s important to women over 45. Topics include Lifestyle, Fashion, Health, Connect, Reinvent, and Be Happy, every modern woman needs a strong combination of all of the above to stay current in a changing world.

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