Friday, June 19, 2009

How to wear Harem pants

I know harem and peg-leg pants are not everyone's “cup of tea", but I love Harem pants. They are billowy and luxurious (but most importantly, they are just so comfortable!). Depending on your figure, this may not exactly be the look you are after, as harem pants have a tendency to add weight to fuller figures (I should know). However, the right pair, worn with the right pieces, can actually be flattering for your figure and classy to wear, so for those who want to wear a harem or peg pant, keep trying them on until you find one that flatters your shape (if you haven't already). Having said that, be honest to yourself when looking in the mirror, you should feel confident in them...

There are a number of variations on the harem theme, and you needn’t spend too much on them, as these pants may not be around for many seasons (I don't really care, as I will be wearing them regardless, haha), but they are pieces that will instantly update your wardrobe without having to try too hard.

DO: Select the right fabric
Some fabrics will drape more elegantly than others; light drapey fabrics are the most flattering, e.g. silk or cotton jersey.

Do: Know how low you can go
Make sure the drop crotch folds are elegant and sit well, rather than in a sloppy manner. Harem pants that sag in the centre half way down your legs don’t flatter most people. Instead, choose a leaner style, especially if you are under 5' 3". A capri-length variation can be very flattering, as a certain portion of your leg is exposed, lengthening the look.

DO: Keep it simple
Although I like to keep jewellery to a minimum with harem pants, I like wearing sparkly jewelry, so keep them in the same tone. I also love ethnic, chunky pieces, but not too many at once (usually just one or two at a time). Keep tops, cardigans and jackets, such as tailored jackets or a fitted boyfriend blazer, simple, as the pants are already the feature; alternatively skip the jewellery and wear a more costume-like top as the accent.

DO: Tuck it in

To balance out the bagginess at the waist and the fullness at the legs, harem & peg pants are best worn with a fitted top, like a tank top, casual silk T-shirt (or brightly coloured tee) or fitted feminine blouse.

DO: Lighten up
If you feel the style is too masculine, go for soft pastels and blush tones, which are more feminine and will provide a much softer look.

DO: Jump it!
If you have trouble finding a look that works for you, then try a slouchy harem-style jumpsuit instead.

DO: Not forsake femininity
For a more classic take, pair tailored harems with a pussy-bow or frilly blouse.

DO: Belt it up.
It's a minimal addition that doesn't distract from the interesting part of the outfit - the silhouette. To add some glamour to this classic tailoring, add a wide statement belt, or even an obi-inspired corset.

DO: Modify the runway look.
Subtlety, femininity, sequins, leather - infuse them into this look, while keeping the shape simple and chic.

DO: Crop it
Wear cropped jackets and tops with harem pants, so that the pants are the obvious feature. Short tops show that your pants are deliberately billowing, look better and accentuate the style. Defining the waist is key to successful wearing of harem pants.

DO: Distract
You can draw the eye upward to the top half of your body with interesting detailing, graphic prints, vibrant colour, or a bold accessory.

DON'T: Be afraid to mix trends.
I have worn mine with a tuxedo jacket, or with a striped top for a French/Nautical 'take' on Harem pants.

DO: Pair it with high heels.
This will give you the added height needed and it also balances out your figure; gladiator sandals or strappy stilettos, the higher the better. Flat shoes will deaden the harem pants look unless you are very slim/tall (I often disregard this in exchange for ultimate comfort, whilst aware of how unflattering it is for me, and seriously hoping no one I know spots me, oh, the shame!).

DO: Indulge in the comfort of harem pants.
Once you find the right ones, you'll want to wear them all the time, I certainly do! They are my 'muu muu equivalent' of pants, and are my 'jeans' staple equivalent, seeing I no longer can fit into any of my jeans.

Sass & Bide Harem pants worn throughout

Outfit 1: Sass & Bide 'Hot cat on a tin roof' tee & Burberry washed navy leather jacket, Dries Van Noten buckle sandals
Outfit 2: Vanessa bruno wool jersey/satin blouse, Chloe silk belt & with amber buckle, Stella McCartney Patent Pumps
Outfit 3: Bora Aksu silk chiffon blouse, Gucci studded pumps
Outfit 4: Dries Van Noten silk blouse & cognac and leather sandals
Outfit 5: Sass & Bide 'A little Peace' Jagger sequinned 'Mickey Mouse giving a peace sign' tee, Costume National brushed velvet tux jacket, Gucci peep-toe slingbacks

In short, wear them with heels, the right accessories, and confidence...and have fun doing so!


  1. I love Harem Pants! Great Post. By the way, thanks for the post on Tastevin. Because you gave it such an awesome review, i decided to have my birthday there and did a french theme! Everybody was really lovely including Natasha who made us cocktails the whole night.If ever your in Sydney drop by :)


  2. OMG you look SO amazing in the harem pants. And I agree with you: pairing them with heels (especially if you are my height) is a must. I love them too! They are like a high fashion equivalent of sweatpants for me. I really want a pair in every color! :D

  3. OoOoO!!! I've been looking for a pair just like yours. I'm really not a fan of drop crotch harem pants, which most of them seem to be, so yours are PERFECT! Going to see if I can locate a pair.

    Great post.

  4. Roxanne - Aw, thanks! And so glad to hear you enjoyed Tastevin! Happy belated birthday! A French theme would've been such fun! :)

    Dream Sequins - Thanks D! I totally agree with harem pants being the high fashion equivalent of sweatpants. That's what drew me to them in the first place :) Having struggled with fitting jeans (with increasing weight gain), I wished there were such a thing as classy sweatpants, haha! On holiday, I spotted a 'hippy' girl wearing a billowy sheer pair, and frantically researched on them, this lead me to harem pants, without my knowing they were going to be such a popular trend. :)

    Lily - I did spot a similar pair to mine by "Natasha' (I think it was) when I was in Sydney's Myer store a month or so ago...good luck with your search! ;)

  5. Great tips! As much as I'd like to wear these, along with bf jeans, I can't do it. I'm way too short to pull them off. I live in shorts! I have all kinds, denim, dressy, twill, distressed, white, acid wash.....

  6. you make yours look so elegant. it's true what you said, sometimes you just gotta find the right pair for you. i never thought id buy one, but i did! and they're so soft and comfy i also wear them as pajamas.

  7. you wear them justright

    so do you think that only tall girls can pull those off?

  8. Katlin - IF you want to, I think the trick is to keep the silhouette lean, and being short, maybe have it cropped, to say under the knee? I have a pair of 'draped shorts' that I love at that length, and am thinking of getting some cheap pairs so I can wear them to the gym, am hating seeing myself in gym pants! :)

    h - Thanks! Ooh! You bought one! Would love to see you wear it! They would make the best PJ's :)

    Damsel - Thanks! And nope, I don't think only tall girls can pull them off, I'm by no means tall, and neither is Ashley Olsen (pictured in a Calvin Klein 'tuxedo peg pant' ensemble :) I think it's about proportions & silhouette, so maybe a little shorter (ankle or higher), leaner (not as many folds, mine can be quite tricky sometimes, I think I will find my Akira Tuck Waist pants easier to style) and with heels (oh, and the other tips, such as keeping the top half sleek & simple...)


  9. Great tips and you definitely wear them well!

  10. Oh so cool tips. I have a Diana's harems. I say: Brave, Janet, but I don't... LOL!


  11. LOVE the last look. And does Diane do anything wrong?

  12. i love how you wore them (all of them):)

  13. really interesting your post on the harem pants. I find that the harem pants are the most elegant piece of clothing of all time! they are so sophisticated, comfortable, feminine, exotic, fascinating, timeless.
    I have 3 pairs: one in silk with with jersey edges, an other one in a cotton gauze and an other one in crepe viscose, I've been wearing them for many years and I never get tired of them have given me the right inspiration to make a post about my harem pants!

  14. Sometimes I see it done soooo wrong, but you get it oh so right!

  15. Wow, what a great post! I've seen those pants everywhere but didn't feel like they'll look flattering on me. I like my pants to be fitted but what's tempting me is that they look so comfortable to be in! Hmm...maybe I'll change my mind and buy one. I think my favorite one is the one-shouldered black jumpsuit! xxoxoxoxo

  16. Ooh you've succeeded in convincing me to try out the harem pant!
    Problem is, I'm 5 foot so am always worried they'll swamp me.
    You look great in them though.
    This is my new weekend shopping mission!
    p.s. loving the blog and your outfits, you always look so relaxed and chic

  17. I'm not sure if I will look good in such pants :/ But when I look at you, I want to find the right pair for me :)

  18. Humm Diane Kruger always gets it right doesn't she? I love the look with the Mikey Mouse sequined T, it's gorgeous!!!!! Ahhh Alice que inveja do seu guarda-roupa. hahaha
    Anyways babe, I was going to ask you for a little favor.... would you mind linking my friend's blog? She has just started but has so much potential and she aspires to work in a fashion mag and I told her this is a great way to network. She is still very insecure about it and asks me to read every post .....

    Thanks and I'll be answering to your email shortly.....
    P.S: Any trips to NZ ahead????

  19. I really needed this, have no idea how to wear harem pants even though in theory i am open to the idea seeing as jeans and me aren't the best of friends. Where are you pair from, you look so great in them! i especially love the last look, the tucked in tee shirt and blazer... wow. so chic!

    great tips and so helpful. am on the look out for some harem pants now. :)


  20. Thanks for all your lovely comments! :)

    b-chic - Look forward to your post! I'm so glad you've been wearing it for a few years, a I plan to do the same :)

    janet - to quote Nike 'Just Do It' ;)

    caz - I believe Ashleh Olsen's around your height, so on your 'shopping mission', I highly recommend going for the leaner slightly cropped look, not too many folds to the fabric, good luck!

    grazi - Muito obrigada! :) (haha, mas meu nome nao e Alice), for you, anything!

    hrose - Thanks! Mine are quite a few seasons old Sass & Bide, but I saw a similar pair by Natasha in Sydney's Myer, I think it was shorter, and possibly in silk, but it had the same little brass buttons.

    xx to you all!

  21. Great Post!!
    thank you for sharing!

  22. Hello to you...

    What a fabulous post! There are so many looks I like!!!

    And your look: YOUU have that fabulous vintage Chloe belt (ahh, this is such a stunning piece! remember Chloe also had a matching bag which was in the Ads, lovely piece!) ... and of course your awesome Dries pieces!!!

    Happy sunny & relaxing weekend!

    Beautiful Blessings to you....

  23. That was a great insightful post! I feel the same as u, harem pants for me are my jeans staple equivalent these days. I only fit in a single pair of jeans now, oh well. I have only a pair of harem though, but your post definitely inspired me to look for more! beijos xxx

  24. all your styles are sooo good!I prefer second and the last outfits. You never go wrong with such good pants and nice legs. I love your shoes collection. So feminine and so elegant!
    Wonderful blog1love it!

  25. Loooove this how-to and all 4 outfits you put together! Those Sass & Bide pants are fantastic, and I love Ralph Lauren's take on the harem as well! Really enjoyed this post, darling!


  26. your harem pants are beautiful! i love all of the ones that you featured as well, especially how ash olsen wore them!

  27. Thanks for posting this blog post.. It really helped me decide how to wear my harem pants :)

  28. great post! I've always wanted to try the harem pant look but thought it kind of ugly. Now I'm completely on the other side of the fence about it and can' wait to get a pair!

    love the fashionkiwi

  29. I finally jumped on the bandwagon a few weeks ago (:

    I only wear them with heels. The low drop crotch is a nono for me (: Otherwise, they are genius & so comfortable!

    La C.

  30. I never tried harem pants but you looking so good in yours, that it made me interested. Ah, answering your previous question, yes - I'm surprised and flattered that you do remember, it was so long ago ;)

  31. thanks for those tips!! You are great on it! Really! :)

    new post on my blog

  32. I LOVE this post!! Harem pants are one of my fav pieces in my wardrobe at the moment. I have been dreaming of watermelon coloured silk harems for a LONG time, and have great dreams of replicating what is in my head of these days. Also just found 2 x Manning Cartell peg leg pants for $50 each today! I also have some amahzing jersey Andrea Yasmin ones which I wore to death last spring, but have forgotton about it lately - must pull it out!


  33. I LOVE these slouchy pants and how they can range from being casual and also highly classy and haute.

  34. What a fantastic post! I'm loving harem pants the more i see them and all your outfits with them are quite stylish as well.

  35. I'm in love with harem pants too! i thought i'd try it first and bought a cheap one at F21. i loved it so much i've worn it several times in the past month. my friends are getting sick of it :). i guess we sometimes don't equate comfort to fashion but when we do it seems like a miracle and we can't get enough of it!

  36. great post...looove harem

  37. They definitely look stunning on you!

  38. great post :)
    i love that belt with the stripey fabric you've got on. i think i have a runway pic of it somewhere in my inspiration folder!

  39. See who needs fashion magazines when we have this!

  40. Hi Brigaderio-
    This is a great tips. You should turn this into Elle and I love how you style your harem pant into many different looks.

  41. your blog is amazing!

    por cierto tienes una invitación en mi blog!
    A/N - Resort colección.


  42. you look so cute !
    i love your pant !

  43. I LOVED this post! You're absolutely right about everything :)! Oh and you've definitely got the perfect pair of harem pants, they look really flattering on you!

  44. me encantan los pantalones peg-leg.. mucho más que los harem.. aunque no se si durará mucho esta moda... No los he visto tanto en las colecciones para este otoño, en la anterior sí

  45. I've always followed ur blog through my cellphone. I dont know why as it takes SO long to load and most time some of the pics just wont show.
    Leaving comments is hard too bc, again Im using a cellphone, the word verification thingy just became too frustrating. :)
    Anyways i immediately rushed to my laptop as soon as I read this article, which I totally can relate to.
    Yesterday was the first time I debuted my harem pants. I didn't like them at first sight, I thought them weird at first because they reminded me of Arabian genies somehow LOL. But my friend Nanda wore them to school a couple of times and they started to look cute. So I went and bought myself not just a pair but 3! LOL.
    Previously I was unsure of how to wear them as I wasn't tall, though I do have thin legs which help.
    I went through a number of tops til I found the one that was JUST right and wore them with heels to give that sense of height.
    I find myself nodding throughout reading ur post. All in all GOOD JOB! :)

  46. GREAT style!!


  47. you go girl! you look something fierce in those pictures.

  48. Love them! I've got one in denim and I really adore that jeans! <3 <3

  49. estás maravillosa, todos los looks son de 11 y el outfit muy bien editado simplemente PERFECTA a muaaaaaaaaaaa

  50. I tagged you, check today's post.


  51. agree, harems are so so chic!! and you wear them so well :)

  52. Com a sua classe, vc pode tudo!

    Mil beijinhos

  53. What a fantastically thorough post! Adore the the gold sparkly ones, and your outfits are wonderful!

  54. you are officially my fashion guru. AMAZING. I couldn't agree more about your tips but seriously girl, I neeeeed your wardrobe! Just lovely :-)

  55. awesome post !!
    I love harems, but don't think i could pull them off. You on the other hand, are rockin' them !!

    ps. come see the kittens, i posted a picture :)

  56. I love the pants on Lily Donaldson and Ashley Olsen. Still, I don't think that I could pull them off. You, however, certainly have what it takes to make them look bad-ass.

  57. you wear them perfectly!
    wear my black pair of Maje with my blazer by The Row and some heels..
    thinking of getting the dries ones in either orange or pink :)

    p.s. thanks for the help on the dries shoes on tfs!

  58. great post brig! you really rock those pants throughout.

  59. thank u so much!!!!!

    ill try a few combos ansee what the reactions are!!!!

  60. that first outfit is fabulous!
    i love the look of harem pants, but not a lot of people can pull them off!
    you look great!

  61. Clarice you look absolutely HOT in harem pants! I can't believe how well you pull them off! I still haven't had the courage to try them on yet =( I especially LOVE how you have teamed it with the Costume National blazer with Gucci heels :p~~~~

  62. wow you have a amazing blog. love the harem pants, ive been looking for a pair

    camille x

  63. great post on harem pants! nice work!

  64. Thank you for posting this!!! :O
    I'm wearing my harem pants to school tomorrow for picture day and I couldn't decide between a pair of vans or Jessica Simpson heels. Deff heels. lol So my harem pants, a black sequined crop top and heels. :DD
    Thank you

  65. Adorei! Estou começando a usar harem pants pelo conforto e estava cheia de dúvidas... Obrigada! Ainda tenho dúvidas quanto a como usá-las no inverno. Mas seu post está ótimo! Parabéns!