Chic pants are often those considered classic women's clothing -- pleated front slacks that flow in a straight line from the hip to create an elongated silhouette.
Wide leg pants are coming on strong in 2011.
The relaxed fit pant was revived in the Spring 2009 designer collections.
For some designers, relaxed means a bit of fabric give in the form of Spandex or other stretch fibers. For others, it means a straight leg and more material in the hips. Legs vary from wide to skirt-like.
I own multiple pairs of double- and single-pleated dress and casual slacks in silk and cotton khaki. Dress up silk or dress it down, and it can go anywhere.
A single or double pleat at the front is very forgiving. Fashion gurus who cater to younger women give these a thumbs-down.
Yet older women agree this is a great way to look polished and avoid the elastic waistband.
The relaxed fit trouser was worn by Katherine Hepburn in the 40s and remains on the fashion docket as chic pants.
There is a wide choice of interpretations from those that are roomy to those that are like divided skirts.
Wide-legged slacks are another flattering professional look, as long as the wideness is reasonable.
Make sure the hem does not drag on the floor, creating a dirty, dingy edge.
I adore my lightweight, fine quality charcoal gray wool worsted cuffed slacks with high waist and a vertical pinstripe. These are super-slimming. Worn with the right jacket and accessories, the look is very 1930s Marlene Dietrich. What pants could be more chic than that?
Legs may be even wider and more skirt-like for evening occasions.
Fashion After 50 is not alone in bucking the advice of fashion gurus who warn against the drawstring waist. Older women know what looks and feels good, and we have the confidence to be our own style experts.Soft Surroundings sells drawstring silk slacks in six colors. SS is fond of quoting Lauren Bacall, who reportedly said the one clothing item she could not do without was her ivory silk drawstring pants.
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Ankle-length pants are a slightly longer version of the Capri pants (that fall between the knees and mid-calf).
These are chic pants when worn with a flat shoe or sandal for informal gatherings. No matter how many photos you see of women wearing these with high heels, Fashion After 50 says: No.
Some ankle-length women's slacks are shown tied at the ankle to form a kind of balloon bottom.
Women's hips tend to get wider as we age -- no matter how toned we may be. A very narrow ankle will emphasize hip girth. Are you sure this is what you want?
Harem pants are comfortably roominess, but they are meant to emphasize curvy hips.
Wear them to your belly dancing or yoga class, or for at-home dining with close friends. They are not age appropriate in public for women over 50, unless perhaps you are going to a midEastern restaurant or travel in Bohemian circles.
These were among the first trousers in history, according Laurence Benaim's fascinating history of Pants. This fabulously illustrated book also shows how women's have long used pants as a symbol of their fight for independence.
Recent fashion cycles have featured low- or mid-rise or mid-rise trouser waists.
A svelte and conditioned woman of 50 may be able to get away with showing her belly button, but this is one of those fashions that fall under the age-appropriate rule: If you wore the style the first time it was popular, it may not look retro on you. It may the air of clinging desperately to faded youth.
If your loved one likes to see you in these, fine. Just be sure the rest of world delights in your midriff as much as a pair of loving eyes before you leave the house in them.
Blouses tend to pop out of low-rise slacks. They circle the torso at a wide point than the waistline for most of us, and who needs that?
A higher waistline requires excellent tailoring, with no gaps.
If you have a genuinely shapely waist-hip area, this design will show it off. These are not flattering for most short, short-waisted, and full-figured women.
Of course, you should never take my or anyone else's advice as written in stone. If they look good on you and you love the way they feel and look, buy 'em.
It's the way you wear your clothing that makes your chic pants, not the other way around. Learn how to make everything you wear chic fashion.
If you have large thighs or calves or flesh that jiggles, avoid cigarette slacks and leggings.