Pants for Sturdy Legs

“Why do you wear jeans so often?” It’s all about the fabric. Denim fabric holds you in, smooths you out and is substantial enough to accentuate the shape without showing all the jiggles under it.

These size 6 Mandie jeans are by Bandolino from The shirt was from Chico’s last year. The sweater is old. Similar in my online shop here. The bag is a couple of years old by Dooney & Bourke. The loafers are by Nine West last year.

It is better to have three pairs of altered pants that fit you like they were made for you, than a whole closet full of losers. When I buy dress pants or summer pants made from lighter weight materials, I always go up in size, sometimes two and then have them altered. The lightweight fabrics look much better when they are a dark color and just skim the leg all the way to the top of your foot. I accept the fact that I will need to get most of my pants altered to fit me properly.

These pants are size 2 by NYDJ, and they are the Sheri Slim fit. (You can see that the number size means nothing.) The jacket is old from White House|Black Market. The silk scarf is a few years old. The shoes are by Paul Green.

Pants sometimes hug my knees and calves, but that is what happens when your hips and waist are straight, and your lower legs are curvy. I mostly wear a size four, but I have never been able to put on a pair of skinny jeans. The styles I wear most often have straight legs. I tend to look more substantial all over when I wear wide leg pants, flares or bootcut pants. The proportion is off when I wear those pants because they need to be worn with a short, close-fitting top. I am much more comfortable NOT showing off my ample bust and thick waist.

These are the straight leg pants from my site in a size small here. They are made from lightweight comfortable crepe material, and they have a simple elastic waist. The top is the three-quarter sleeve scoop neck top in a size medium made from the same crepe material also on my site here. The denim jacket is by Levi’s. The shoes are by Louise et Cie.

When I can find a pair of jeans that start a slight flare a bit above the knee, I buy them. Most begin to flare below the knee, and that just won’t do. Fabrics such as linen and silk don’t work for me. If I wore them, they would have to be fully lined.

The white ankle pants above are a size 6 in a lightweight cotton twill fabric from Fabrizio Gianni. The top is by Clara Sunwoo from My Fair Lady. The sandals are a few years old from Vince Camuto. Fit, fabric, and color are the things I take into consideration when buying pants. I hope this post helps you to discover which pants will work best for you.

Susan Street

Blogger for

  1. This column reminds me that everyone has their fit problems! I, too, have sturdy legs (“athletic” they call them now). But that is just the beginning of fit problems! Continued searching and trying on of all potential purchases and a lot of looks in full length mirror are called for now. I am reminded that most people don’t (or won’t) take the time to do this. However, it shows on you that you care to hit that sweet spot and look for great fit from head to toe. Love the looks today. I love Paul Green shoes! I hate to pay their price, but this brand of shoes fits my feet. Some good tips today!

  2. I love jeans for the very same reasons you gave. I think that they can be casual or dressed up with accessories.
    You always look appropriate. I appreciate the detailed explanations that accompanied your photos.

  3. Express legging jeans extreme stretch midrise. I have two pair each in white, blue and gray. Fit better than my Joes and Citizens.
    And price on special cannot be beat.
    They work for me…with the stretch. Best to try on first in store. I buy the short size as I am 5’1″ and they are perfect. I do have skinny legs and they are not tight at all on my calves. So keep that in mind.

  4. I love the Bandolino Mandie jeans as well as the NYDJ style. They are a great fit for me- slim hip, thicker waist, pretty good legs for 62! Our Sam’s Club carries them making them a much better value than the mall. Skinny jeans and leggings work well for me, but just the right top must go with it. I’ll never wear a boot cut jean or any jean with a leg opening wider than 8 inches again. Even an 8-inch leg opening works with a short boot or western boot. Thanks for the great tips. Spring is coming! Any new ideas for the upcoming season?

  5. Thank you so much!! I had a pair of $25 Levi’s altered and it’s my favorite pair of jeans. Skinny jeans look ridiculous on me, so I had the straight leg style tapered. You always look terrific and have inspired me to step my style up a notch!

  6. Susan, You look absolutely stunning in every one of these outfits! Would you mind telling where you get your alterations done locally? Thanks!

  7. Susan, will you please address Spandex in a post. I often buy pants thinking they fit, but after a few hours they fall down. It’s miserable and looks disgusting to constantly be hiking up my pants.

  8. Enjoyed this newsletter very much and you look gorgeous in all of these shots. You look especially gorgeous in the Royal Blue top. I love that top. You have given a lot of information in this letter and I love info. Keep up the gorgeous work. Wish I could do something like this. I feel so outside the knowing what to do?

    Thanks for your blog.


  9. I have found I love love love the pants from JJill (they’re a little stretchy). Come in navy, black, khaki and white. They can be worn as dress pants or casual – travel well and never wrinkle and so so comfortable. The material is a little thicker, too, so wrinkles don’t show. They’re a little pricier than I like, but I have found worth every penny. I actually bought two pairs in black.

  10. Why not wear jeans? They are a classic and have thousands of permutations in color, weight, style. They can flatter every body type. They are a youthful look you can enjoy at any age. I think having a wardrobe with no jeans is aging.

  11. I would never have guessed you have a difficult time buying pants that fit you well off the rack. You make it look effortless!

    Thanks for the tips. I have the flip shape which can be challenging too.

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I blogged for five years as Fifty, not Frumpy. Now that I am sixty, I am honoring this new decade with a great new website