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The Smart Way To Wear Wide-Leg Denim

Put aside your prejudice – this cut is universally good

By Nicole Bonython-Hines

They’ve been around for a while now, but wide-leg jeans are still a controversial choice for some. Compared with the much-loved skinny, though, a wide-leg is infinitely more wearable.

Most women’s bodies change as they age and a jean that glides over your hips and thighs really works much better than one that clings to your bum and thighs. I also avoid denim that contains any elastin, for the same reason.

My other tip for wide-leg jeans is to wear them long in the leg. Personally, I love pants that ‘puddle’ on the floor. Everyone says, ‘But won’t they get dirty or fray?’ You can wash them – and a bit of wear adds character to a jean.


UNIQLO top, $39.90; H&M jeans, $89.99; ADIDAS Samba shoes, $180; miu miu bag, similar here.

Look 1

There’s a real high-low feel to this look, with H&M jeans, a Uniqlo top and Lee Mathews coat, which is a dream to wear. It’s unstructured, no lining and feels like a cardigan.

The entire look is very casual, giving weekend vibes, but also feels quite luxurious because of the pieces I’ve paired with the denim. I believe denim is one of those things you really don’t have to spend a lot on and provides the perfect canvas for other, more indulgent pieces.


Left: Commonry crew-neck knit, $199.95; Commonry wide-leg jean, $149.95; ZARA leather slingback, $209; Oroton Ellis tote; $699. Right: Scanlan Theodore jacket, $2,800; Uniqlo U tee, $19.90; Scanlan Theodore jeans, $320; ZARA slingbacks, $209, YSL sunglasses, $605.

Look 2 & 3

This look, on the left, demonstrates that you can wear a wide-leg jean with an oversized knit; you can wear big-on-big, and it’s elegant. The beauty of wearing a jean with a looser top is that the jean waistband is flat, whereas a wide-leg trouser often has pleats or tucks, which add bulk around the waist.

And you can carry all your stuff in your big tote bag, and you’ve got it all going on. Casual, but pulled together.

Meanwhile, this fluffy jacket feels very glam rock – it has a real David Essex vibe, really 70s. This whole look is quite indulgent, with the YSL sunglasses and turned-up jeans from Scanlan Theodore, and again, the kitten heel really lengthens the leg. I’d wear this for a fun night out.


Left: JAC +JACK Peter cashmere sweater, $400; ZARA cardigan coat, $119; ZARA high-waist jeans, $79.95; Billini kitten heels, $99.95; Celine bag, similar here. Right: Matteau shirt, $400; Cotton On jeans, $69; Cotton On sneaker, $41.99; Trenery trench, $449.

Looks 4 & 5

This first look is my way of showing you can do jeans for work. The cropped jacket is very off-the-moment; it’d be a little ‘old lady’ if you wore it with a pencil skirt, but with jeans it looks cool. I love the pointed-toe kitten heel peeking out from underneath the jeans – I can’t wear anything higher than a kitten now, although I’ll suffer a higher heel for an evening event if I’m mainly sitting down. A pointed heel gives the denim a more corporate, Friday-at-work vibe.

You could wear the jacket and jeans with a t-shirt and sneakers, which would obviously be more relaxed.

Wide-leg denim with a striped shirt and trench is a very classic look. These Cotton On jeans are a great mid-wash and perfect with the Matteau shirt, which is nicely oversized and good quality. You could also style a white tee with a jean like this.



BY Nicole Bonython-Hines

Nicole is a fashion stylist and former Fashion Director of Australian Elle

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