Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably noticed a lot more variety in denim lately. Move over skinny jeans, there’s a new, wider silhouette in town! Can petites wear wide leg jeans? Yes, everyone can!
However, there are a few important styling tips/tricks shorter women should keep in mind. If you’re eager to try wide leg jeans, but worry they will swallow you up (making you look even shorter), this post is for you. We’ll explain how to use proportion when styling wide leg jeans, then offer a few petite-friendly wide leg jean options.
To begin, let’s define what it means to be petite. Contrary to popular belief, petite women come in all shapes and sizes. Petite does not necessarily mean tiny. Rather, it is a term that refers to height and proportion.
Petite clothing is designed for women 5’4 and under, but considers more than height. For example, petite sizes offer shorter sleeves, hemlines, inseams and rises. Most importantly, they includes a range of sizes from XXS to plus-sizes.
At 4’11, I know petite sizing like the back of my hand. However, it might not be something you’ve considered before. I recommend buying petite sizing if:
Absolutely! When designers and brands consider these fit distinctions, it’s a breeze. Wide leg jeans can be incredibly flattering for women 5’4 and under. However, you need to understand the RIGHT way to style them. We’ll cover that next.
For those simply looking to shop, keep scrolling for the petite-friendly wide leg jeans I swear by. Since sizing can be tough, I always like to share my measurements to give you more shopping info. I’m generally a size 0 or 2, measurements 33-26-36. I’m petite but curvy with thicker thighs and a defined waist. Therefore, denim is not my favorite thing to shop for… Sound familiar? Let’s make the process easier!
First, you want to focus on the rise. This is a visual styling trick every petite woman should know! High rise denim gives the illusion of longer legs. Therefore, it visually lengthens your shape, slimming your silhouette in the process. Moreover, it is key in balancing out a wider leg silhouette.
How high should a high waist go? Your goal is to have your high rise denim sit at the smallest part of your waist. This defines your figure and visually narrows the waist. Furthermore, you want that high rise to be slim-fitting in the hip and waist area (like my Madewell jeans pictured above). This helps avoid an overly boxy look. Although low rise jeans are making a comeback, they are not as flattering on petites.
Next, we need to consider balance. If you’ve been asking yourself… Can petites can wear wide leg jeans? There’s a strong chance you’ve seen someone of shorter stature pairing a wide leg jean with a boxy, voluminous, or long top. These silhouettes do nothing to balance out the wide leg jeans. Instead, they make you rather shapeless (something petite women don’t want).
A better choice is a fitted top that complements the high rise waistline. For example, bodysuits, cropped shirts, or a sleek button-up (tucked in) will do the trick. When you have volume on the bottom, you want less by your upper body. When in doubt, tuck it in!
While wide leg jeans can certainly be flattering on petite women, we’re talking about moderately wide jeans. Like with other clothing, proportion is critical for a flattering denim look on petites. For instance, if you opt for really wide leg denim, you’ll be adding bulk to your shape. A good rule of thumb is to eschew the traditional 22-26.5″ true wide leg opening. Rather, choose a pant closer to 20″.
For petites, the goal is to find a leg that accomplishes the on-trend “wide” look, but with restraint. Nothing too voluminous! Whichever pair you choose, you must balance it with a fitted top. You should never feel like you’re swimming in your clothing.
Just dipping your toe into wide leg denim?
If you’re not ready to embrace a true wide leg, you can get a similar look with a straight jean. These are also amazing on petite women!
Can petites wear wide leg jeans? Yes, but steer clear of round-toe shoes. Rather, you should embrace the figure flattery of the pointed toe. My go-to with wide leg jeans is a classic pointed-toe nude pump. Shoes matter, even if you think most of the shot is covered up. The right shoe allows your pant to flow gracefully waist to hem, while the wrong shoe can cause bunching and gathering. If your wide leg jean hits you around the ankle, you also have some leeway to play with fun and flirty fall boots. A nude color is definitely the most flattering.
You have two pathways here. First, you can opt for a cropped look. For this styling, you want your hem to hit at the slimmest part of your ankle. This option is great for fall, as it allows you to show off some of the detailing on those cute fall shoes you have in your closet! Should you decide to have your wide leg jeans fall full-length, you want them nearly skimming the floor in your intended shoes. The longer the pant, the longer your legs look. However, no one wants to feel like they’re going to trip. Give your hem length a test run, should you decide to get a pair altered.
Better yet, why not skip alterations all together?
This brand gets a lot of buzz in the petite crowd. Why? Madewell seems to understand the petite figure. It gets the fit just right. At 4’11, I ordered these jeans in Caronia wash (patch pocket editing). I went with a size P26 and it fit like a glove. This style comes in multiple colorways and offers that super flattering sleek, high waist. For example, there is zero gaping at the waist (often a problem for me). Best of all? No need to hem. The length is ideal on these. A number of viewers recommended sizing up in these. Therefore, I did. Normally, I opt for a P25 when shopping at Madewell.
Like the Madewell style above, this trouser jean proves petites can (and should) wear wide leg jeans! It has a slim-fitting high waist and gives you the illusion of legs for days. If a jean can make me feel tall, I know it’s a winning style. These achieve that. These have good stretch to them, so keep that in mind when choosing your size. Additionally, they run a bit on the large side, so I recommend sizing down if you are between sizes. If you’re under 5’1, you will need to wear a heel with these. Otherwise, no alterations needed!
Not only does this denim come in an ideal shade for versatility, but also offers a supremely flattering silhouette. The stretch is enough for comfort, but also holds you in nicely. The fabric is also super soft. Consequently, these feel very comfortable. I’m including this one on the list because it works great for curvy on bottom petites. Multiple reviews from self-described curvy petites sing high praise for these Everlane jeans.
This style is perfect for those who are on the fence with wide leg jeans. With a narrower leg opening, this style will ease you in to wide leg jean territory. Furthermore, it also has that uber flattering fitted high wasit. Tons of colorways available and a good range of length options (extra short, short, regular, long and extra long).
Want to show off your shoes? I’m a bit shoe obsessed. Consequently, I was overjoyed to find a petite wide-leg crop jean that remains a crop jean on my 4’11 frame. Generally, cropped styles look like full length pants on me. Not so with this style! This is a best-seller for the brand with its high, fitted waist.
To conclude, if I haven’t sold you on this pant silhouette yet, hear this… Wide leg jeans are so darn comfortable. It’s like a polished version of pajama pants. So much freedom of movement. Likewise, they make your legs look long. At 4’11, that’s a rarity. Finally, wide leg jeans are on-trend and give you that fresh, modern look we all crave.