Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

June 13, 2011

Review Revue + How To Wear: Wide Leg Pants

Do you ever just get an image stuck in your head and declare “THIS. THIS is what I want to be wearing right now, and I shall never know another moment of joy until my dream is realized!”?

Well that’s what happened with me when I saw this:

It was exactly, exactly the feel of what I wanted for my upcoming adventure as a mex-pat. Not the exact outfit per se, but the breezy early 1930’s sportswear feel so I searched and searched until I came upon these:

Silk and Linen Wide Leg Trousers


70% silk, 30% linen, acetate lining. Obviously I would’ve preferred a silk lining, but we live in a broken and sinful world, so a girl can’t have everything. The silk/linen blend is lovely with an excellent drape and just a slight slub in the material. The lining isn’t bad either, a nice solid twill with good tailleur details you’d expect to find in a much more expensive piece.


When they say wide leg, they MEAN wide leg.

In fact, I’d probably categorize them as true tailored palazzos. Stay with me, I know we’ve been burned by palazzos before.

Are there words that strike deeper fear in the hearts of the big-boned than “polyester georgette palazzo pants”?

I think not.

Still, these are very good, just perfect for the loose, 1930’s Biarritz meets Marisa Berenson style I want while I’m in Baja.

We’ve been due for a resurgence of pajama dressing for a while, what with the natural order of things (the 70’s coming back), the undying influence of Poiret and YSL and Karl Lagerfeld bringing back the old Sara and Gerald Murphy trope a few years ago for Spring 2008, which was brilliant but ahead of its time.

Plus it’s not like pants can get tighter, so there’s nothing new or interesting fashion-wise to “say” there. Even Hermes got in on the (slightly more tailored) act for its most recent ready to wear collection.

The cut is elegant and thoughtful. Whoever designed these trousers knows their stuff. The front pleats (stay with me now) are sewn down through the waist and stomach so you don’t get that gut-level poochiness one usually associates with front pleats.  Instead you get an elegant trimness through the waist and hips. There are side pockets and besoms in the back. Nothing too distracting, but it adds a great sportswear look.


Long-legged girls, you’re in luck. On me these are entirely too long –I’m 6’3″ in 5″ heels and I’ll still need the taken up at least 2″ inches– so unless you’re half giraffe, you’ll probably need to get these hemmed.

The drape is excellent and although I would’ve liked a slightly higher, narrower waist, that could be user error since I’ve got a high, narrow (er, comparatively) waist to begin with and I really could have/should have gone down a size.

My experience with the plus size range in Spiegel is they run about a size small, so being a pear-shaped 18/20 I ordered a size 22W. I’d still err on the side of caution if your trunk comes with its own considerable collection of junk, but I don’t think you’d be led too far astray if you ordered true to size.

From the side they look like heaven. From the front it’s a little harder to get used to, but once you try them  on as part of an entire outfit instead of just “naked plus pants” it comes together beautifully.

How To Wear It:

One thing you want to remember with all dressing, but especially when you’re playing with dramatic proportions, is to stay balanced. If you’re wearing gorgeous billowy trousers, then your top needs to be slim and there needs to be some structure to it. Look at the American magazine and the Hermes still. 80 years apart, but still the same basic idea: wide, flowing pants require a slim, structured top and/or other elements to offset it.

I don’t have just a ton of experience wearing this silhouette, I don’t tend towards separates in the first place and palazzo pants can be a hard look to pull off in a way that looks chic before one is Of a Certain Age, especially if one is fatly, since fatties as a species have been done so grievously wrong by bad palazzo pants in the past.

Still, I’m determined to do loose, 1930’s Biarritz meets Marisa Berenson style while I’m in Mexico, just for my own enjoyment, so on with the show.

Current plans for deployment are with mile-high espadrilles –I’m going to be a foot and a half taller than everyone in the country anyway, might as well make it an even two– an absolute armful of thick lacquer bangles in solid brights (optional) and a scarf tied on the diagonal as a top which is surprisingly effective and flattering, covering all less-than-gracile parts of self, while putting my best features –my shoulders and neckline– on display, sans cleavage, with a cardi for modesty when I’m not on the beach or lounging at home.If you even have to ask if I’m going to be wearing a big hat I’m not angry, just disappointed. I thought we knew each other.

Parting Shots:

These are Very Good Pants Indeed, especially on sale for $29.99. It’s a lot of capital F Fashion payoff for a dead comfortable and effortless look that still has the whiff of “she took hours to look that effortless” about it, and who doesn’t love that?

You’ll probably want to give these a steam or let them hang for a while when you first get them, but after that, don’t worry too much about creases. Even though it reads more silk than linen, you still don’t want these to be pristine as crisp shirting. The key is easy, soft, a little rumpled and utterly, utterly fabulous. Kind of like me, actually.


  1. I’m in love.. although one almost always has me at “wide-leg” anything. The thing I’m wondering though, is as a shortie (5’4″ on a good day) are legs this wide a good idea?

    Comment by KESW — June 13, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

  2. Sadly, I don’t think this will work with my front heavy apple shaped frame, but what I wouldn’t give.
    Related… I just streamed Picadilly Jim on Netflix — Wodehouse at his most outrageous. Not a great movie, but excellent costumes.

    Comment by mimi — June 13, 2011 @ 5:20 pm

  3. Miss Plumcake sez “Do you ever just get an image stuck in your head and declare “THIS. THIS is what I want to be wearing right now, and I shall never know another moment of joy until my dream is realized!”?

    That pretty much describes um, every minute of my life. Envision, search, achieve, accessorize, rinse, repeat

    Comment by Thea — June 13, 2011 @ 6:50 pm

  4. @KESW: I think it depends on how much of that 5’4″ is leg and how much of a heel you’re realistically willing to wear, because heels aren’t really optional with these. It’s trickier when you’re shorter, but with a 3″ sandal, I see no reason 5’7″ would be too short to wear these successfully.

    ah, the curse of the apple. But you all get miniskirts, so it evens out!

    @Thea: Ah, my sister. Usually it flows cohesively from one thing to another but yes, I’m always at the mercy of that one scene in that movie where the heroine is wearing that one whatever.

    Comment by Miss Plumcake — June 14, 2011 @ 12:32 am

  5. Can anyone point a lady in the direction of a nice big hat that doesn’t look like just a big ugly floppy hat. I get so disappointed when I see one and then it just sits there all.. sullen and shapeless on your head.
    I’m delicate and I burn and I have a mid-day boating trip coming up.. :(

    Comment by katerton — June 14, 2011 @ 8:04 am

  6. This is kind of freaking me out, but I think I actually have that magazine at home. Seriously. I have a huge pile of American magazine from my mom (who got them at an estate sale) and I absolutely LOVE them. So bizarre to find it on your site, since I usually pull up a blank when I try to find any info on them.

    The fashion in the is, as you’d assume, divine. Very feminine and modest, but with fierce style.

    Comment by MrsBug — June 14, 2011 @ 10:22 am

  7. The hat thing. My constant misery. I have this thing for large brimmed hats, the larger the better (7″ = perfect) but my other problem is my big-ass noodle, which does not fit into hats. You know what they make, hatwise, for large-headed people? Shit Jack Nicklaus wears. Cowboy hats. It’s a TRAGEDY.

    Comment by S — June 14, 2011 @ 2:24 pm

  8. One bit of advice about being the Tall Person In Mexico (as I always am): watch out for the umbrellas. I’m only partly kidding. The sun prompts oodles of umbrellas everywhere, and I found their pokey spoke bits in my eyes, nose, ears, etc more often than I care to remember….

    Comment by Lisa from SoCal — June 15, 2011 @ 3:33 am

  9. Sigh. In this life, I am a 5’4″ short-legged apple, and in my next life, I will be able to dress like Katharine Hepburn in wide-leg pants because I will be six feet tall, most of it leg. I envy the wide-legged-pants wearers of the world, as they look comfy and chic, especially in summer.

    Comment by Jezebella — June 15, 2011 @ 11:23 am

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