Palazzo – or wide-legged – pants are a big part of my spring/summer style, but it has taken me a while to learn the differences among these very comfortable and versatile pants.
Add to this that I was a 70s teenager (meaning that I go back to culottes and gauchos), so understanding the difference of these styles was important to me, especially when trying to decide what is best for a specific body-type.
The definition of Palazzo pants as per Wikipedia: (British English: palazzo trousers, Indian English: pantada) are long women’s trousers cut with a loose, extremely wide leg that flares out from the waist.
Wide-legged pants, on the other hand, are a relaxed fit and are generally straight cut from thigh to ankle, but the fit of palazzo pants tends to be more generous.
Gaucho Pants are described as skirt-like pants that usually end at the calf. These pants feel like leggings but flare out down at the legs (as per Urban Dictionary).
Culottes are described as woman’s full trousers, cut to resemble a skirt.
Knowing how each of these styles is described has actually been very helpful to me because, up until I actually researched it, I couldn’t understand why I felt I looked better in some styles but not others. I thought they were all the same.
For me and my body-type, I prefer the Palazzo style, a loose fit that gradually flares out from the waist. I also prefer a wider band that I can easily adjust to my waist or my hips.
I do own several other types of wide-legged pants as well, some bought because I didn’t know the difference, some because I loved the pattern and decided I would make them work no matter what ☺
The fabric is also important. Although I love linen, I do find they tend to be a bit dressier, which sometimes defeats the reason I am wearing them. Having said that, I also own a couple of pairs in linen which does create a more elegant look.
Which style I wear determines the type of top I match with it. Either way, I find these pants are a statement of their own. I tend to go for the ones with the larger, more colorful patterns, so I usually modify my top, shoes, and accessories to work with them.
I love the way a plain fitted t-shirt, tank, or cami looks with an oversized sweater or wrap over it.
Alternatively, I think that with the right lace top on, you can create a very feminine, classic look that can go from casual to dressy depending on event. You can even layer a bit with a denim vest or jacket to create a completely different look.
Although I think of palazzo pants as a statement piece of their own, if I am wearing a plain top, I also think a chunky necklace or earrings (not both at the same time!) can create a great look.
This type of outfit for me is a little ‘boho’ so I feel most comfortable wearing wedges or platforms. I have also been known to put on a flat sandal if we are spending a week at the shore or traveling, and I want a more comfortable shoe. Even the right flip-flops will work. Just keep an eye on the length of the pants so that you are not stepping on the hem the whole time.
Oddly, if I am wearing wide-legged pants, I prefer the flat sandals with them; it does create a different look from the palazzos with the wedge.
So many options with this style; you just need to know the difference and what will work best for you.
In terms of comfort, these pants are so comfortable, it almost feels like you are cheating – they literally feel like you are home in your favorite pj’s. The fun part is the shopping!
If you have any tips, please share. I love new ideas.