The Curvy Girl’s Guide to Finding Pants That Fit Flawlessly

Pants and I have not always seen eye to eye. When I was 5 years old, my commitment to skirts and dresses was such that once, when my mother tried to force me into a pair of pants (that were, in hindsight, totally adorable) for school, I opted for an act of open defiance and decided to march to class in my underwear instead of giving in to the tyranny of trousers.

But one day, a pair of pants caught my attention, and I decided to wear them to school, ignoring the “skirts only” rule. Sadly, this stint was short-lived, and I was suspended for a week. After making a ruckus over the “no pants for girls” rule, the school changed its dress code, and everyone was allowed to wear them. 

As I grew up, I became fascinated with the fit of pants. I’ve always known the value of my assets, and so often, my “Beyoncé booty” felt ignored in a summer dress or an A-line skirt. Working in a business where women expend so much energy trying to exercise away their curves was insane to me. All I wanted was to highlight my thin waist and bodacious behind.

As a result, I avoided wearing trousers for years because I could never find a pair that worked with my proportions. (Gapping at the waist and tightness in the hips is just not my style.)

But then Nicolas Ghesquière came along. The designer’s F/W 05 collection for Balenciaga showed hip-hugging military trousers that pooled languidly around the ankles, exuding that type of Parisian coolness that’s both flirty and chic. I had to dive in, and in the process, I learned a few lessons. Keep scrolling to check them out.

Accept the fact that not all pants are created equal. Not all pairs are going to fit you like they do on the model. For instance, I can lust after low-rise boyfriend jeans or an ankle-length cigarette pants all I want, but the reality is these cuts just cling to me in all the wrong places. I’ve grown to accept that a high-waisted style with a relaxed or wide leg is much more flattering for my shape. When it comes to trends, there’s nothing wrong with sticking to what works for you.

If you are blessed with a curvy bottom and/or thick thighs, lucky you. You’re killing it. But understand this means your fabric choice is that much more important. Options in silk or lightweight linen shouldn’t be too tight and are best lined. For unlined options, look for stiffer fabrics. And most importantly, avoid too much stretch—it tends to make pants look low-quality.

Bigger is better. Don’t be afraid to go up a size. I have never in my adult life purchased my actual size in pants. Most times, I go up two sizes because, in all honesty, these thighs need room to breathe. (I also secretly love when the salesperson says, “Those are way too big for you.”)

There is not one pair of pants in my closet that has not been nipped and tucked at my corner dry cleaner. Skip the overpriced tailors and just find someone who is really willing to work around your shape. Early in our relationship, my tailor asked, “Why don’t you just buy clothes that fit you?” (I’ve since forgiven him.) The truth is bigger sizes make it possible to tailor trousers exactly to your body for the perfect fit. I always get the waist taken in and occasionally the legs. I also have the hems taken out to add some length. (Believe me—if the pants are not dragging on the floor, I don’t want them.) I personally love wearing my long trousers with heels so I look taller.

The story was originally published at an earlier date and has been updated. Next up, check out what five celebrity stylists would purge from my closet right now.

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