Does this sound familiar? You see a pair of fabulous new pants on a friend, neighbor or coworker and think, I would look great in those! This is followed by dressing room drama as you flip from size to size, brand to brand, in a frustrating attempt to find a pair of those very pants to flatter you. The truth is this: Trying on pants is a lot like dating. Not every pant with eye appeal is worth a take-home. Here are the new top six styles and how to meet your match:
1. Black pull-on ponte pants
I’m a former fashion editor who is a wardrobe stylist/personal shopper, and if I could nominate one pant as the ultimate universal style today for women 50-plus this would be it. The thick knit known as “ponte” is stretchy but has enough “hold” for subtle control and shape. It never fails to look good day or night. Basic black ponte pants look like leggings’ more flattering sister. They follow your body line and offer a slightly straighter lower leg — more like a pant than tights. Since ponte knits can differ in weight, look for a dense fabric (hold it up to the light) and a flat, broad waistband or invisible shaping panels to keep you (and the pants) contoured. If there is any flab over the waistband or a squeezed-in feel, go a size larger or try another brand. Bootcut and flared styles like the Eloquii Miracle Flawless Flare Leg Pant in Totally Black ($45-$75, eloquii.com), Spanx The Perfect Pant, High-Rise Flare in Classic Black ($168, spanx.com) and A New Day Women’s High-Rise Pull-On Flare Pants in Brown or Black ($32, target.com) are the newest look and can help visually balance width at the bust, hips or thighs. The only decision you’ll need to make: how many pairs to buy.
2. Faux leather pants
What started out as a fashionistas-only look has mushroomed into an endless category of all-seasons pants. Women 50-plus love the edgy vibe leather pants give them and their wardrobe. However, not all faux leather pants are desirable. The ones you want will have a buttery soft texture that’s not shiny or “sticky” (this has to do with each brand’s polyurethane mix of materials), a stretchy feel that makes the pants slip easily on over skin and they won’t “squeak” when you walk, climb stairs or cross your legs. Choose between a body-hugging trouser like the Loft Pleated Tapered Pants in Faux Leather in Black or Fresh Pumpernickel ($54, loft.com) or NYDJ Plus Sculpt Her Marilyn Faux Leather Straight Leg Pants in Ripe Olive ($89, nordstrom.com), and a relaxed jogger style like the Banana Republic Slim Vegan Leather Jogger in Mocha ($105, bananarepublic.gap.com), depending on your taste and lifestyle. While black is the edgiest hue, softer neutrals like tan, brown and olive have a tasteful effect that moves faux leather from sexy to posh.