In San Diego, the casual pant of choice for most women is a pair of leggings. Yet, even in temperate San Diego, leggings can be a disaster in the summer. I find it a chore to get into them on a regular day, let alone when the temperature is above 80 degrees. I do not appreciate how thick a pair of quality leggings can be on a humid day. On top of it all, wearing leggings in the summer means you're relegated to athletic wear for tops, and my friend, those articles present the same issues as leggings: too tight, too thick, feels like a workout just to put it on... So what's a girl to do when she wants relaxed comfort? Wear a pair of chic, casual pants. I promise these are easier to get on and more breathable than your favorite yoga pants.
Vince Side Strap Jogger Pants
Vince Side Strap Jogger Pants, $295
For those who prefer a straighter leg, these black Vince joggers work well. Dress them up with a button down blouse and pumps, or keep it casual by pairing them with a striped tee and red flip flops. These run true to size.
Splendid Classic Camo Joggers
Splendid Classic Camo Joggers, $128
One thing to keep in mind when shopping for casual pants is their shape. You want something that has a feminine cut, otherwise you run the risk of getting lost in a pair of ugly sweats. These sassy joggers, with their cuffed ankle and tapered legs are as flattering as they are comfortable. Pair with a white tee and chic sneakers or a coral top and funky sandals. These run a bit large, order one size down if between sizes.
Caslon Linen Jogger Pants
Caslon Linen Jogger Pants, $35.40 / Plus Size Version Here
Like the Splendid pants above, these linen joggers from Caslon offer a very attractive shape as well as incredible comfort. Currently on sale and under $40, they are begging to be added to your cart. Pair with a graphic tee and flip flops. They are available in petite and run large. Order one size down. Avoid them if you have very thin calves; the cuff will be too loose.
James Perse Jogger Pants
James Perse Jogger Pants, $245
For the perfect white jogger, look no further than this style by James Perse. They are insanely comfortable and more flattering than any sweatpant-adjacent article of clothing should be. Rendered in 100% cotton, these are perfect for those with sensitive skin. Pair with a blush tee and nude sandals. These run large, order one size down.
Ann Taylor Jogger Pants
Ann Taylor Jogger Pants, $59.99-$79
If there is such a thing as a dressy jogger pant, this is it. Despite being polyester, these pants feel incredibly luxe. They look as good with sandals as they do with heels. I love these in the darker colorways: black, navy, and olive. Tip: if you are petite and want these to hit below the ankle, order the regular fit. These joggers run true to size.
Loft Fluid Drawstring Pants
Loft Dotted Fluid Drawstring Pants, $69.50 / Plus Sizes Available Here
For those of you who prefer to avoid cropped pants, these fluid pants from Loft are a perfect fit. Dress them up with a black wedge and button-down top or go for a more casual vibe with a t-shirt and flat sandals. When wearing a looser pant, it is important to balance the proportion with a more fitted top. These drawstring pants are available in petites, plus, and run true to size.
A.L.C. Pierce Crop Pants
A.L.C. Pierce Crop Pants, $345 / Beige Version Here
With their ultra-flattering high waist and button detail, these fashion-forward casual pants from A.L.C. are a treat. Something about them makes you feel special, like you're about to board a yacht. They are also available in beige at Neiman Marcus. These run true to size.
Ralph Lauren Wide Leg Crop Pants
Lauren Ralph Lauren Wide Leg Crop Pants, $145
If you're interested in wide leg crop pants, look no further than this linen version from Lauren Ralph Lauren. They are definitely a dressy casual pant, with a coordinating blazer available for purchase. However, I prefer them with a graphic tee and sandals. They run true to size and a bit long. For those of us under 5'5", these will not be cropped.
Caslon Wide Leg Crop Linen Pants
Caslon Wide Leg Crop Linen Pants, $65, Similar Plus Size Version Here
For those of us on the petite side, Caslon has another great wide leg option. Pair with a striped tee and sassy sandals for that French Riviera-chic look. I find this length perfect for travel, as it prevents the bottom of your pants from being dirtied by city streets, sandy coasts, or gravel roads. These run large. Order one size down.
Sanctuary Eyelet Cargo Pants
Sanctuary Terrain Eyelet Cargo Crop Pants, $109
Cargo pants can be difficult to pull off. If they're too baggy, it looks like you stole your husband's pants. If they're too tight, they can look dated and tired. This eyelet version from Sanctuary avoids those issues by offers a flattering fit, feminine details, and functional cargo pockets. Pair with a blush tee and nude sandals.
Part of my job as a personal stylist is to research brands, fits, and styles so that I am able to make appropriate recommendations to my clients. During one of my recent retail research outings, I headed to Loft, Ann Taylor's cooler, younger sister and hit the racks to find the best stuff in the store.
The Best Dresses
Flowerbed Flutter Swing Dress, $89.50 / Plus Sizes Here
First up, this Flowerbed Flutter Swing Dress is insanely comfortable. I recommend this one for women with small hips, large busts, and/or apple shapes. The dress is cut roomy through the middle and tight in the hip area. I recommend sizing up.
Loft Lace Flutter Dress, $98
Next in line, we have the perfect little wedding guest dress for under $100. Just add silver strappy sandals and statement earrings. This lace style works well on hourglass, pear, and athletic body types. The bust area is best suited for someone with a D cup or smaller. It is available in petite and runs true to size.
Loft Floral Knot Dress, $69.50
Our final, flirty dress is going places. Rendered in supremely comfortable stretch rayon fabric with a flattering tie-waist, this one can go from work to weekend, brunch to board room quite easily. Works well on hourglass, pear, and athletic body types. I recommend for those who are D cup or smaller. This dress runs true to size.
The Best Pants
Loft Fluid Sailor Pants, $69.50 / Plus Sizes Here
Moving on to pants, I discovered this adorable sailor style. Pair with a striped Breton tee and red sandals for a chic, summer look. I recommend these for apple shapes, women who are bigger on the top, and athletically built women. Size down in these as they run large. Also available in petite, though this silhouette works best on women who are 5'6" or taller.
Loft Modern Unpicked Button Fly Skinny Jeans, $79.50 / Plus Sizes Here
I have featured the blue version of these jeans on the blog before. Available now in black, these high rise jeans work beautifully on my clients who are apple shaped or bigger on the top. They run true to size.
The Best Tops
Loft Shimmer Petal Sleeve Tee, $34.50
For those with very casual wardrobe needs, I am always on the hunt for t-shirts with that little something extra. May I present this super soft petal tee. I recommend this one for women with narrow shoulders. Pair with white jeans and beige sandals for a casual chic look. It runs true to size.
Loft Lacy Shirred Split Tee, $49.50
Another entry in the casual chic department, this lacy top is the only white blouse you'll need this summer. It's lined, shaped well, and incredibly comfortable. Pair with light wash jeans and blush sandals for a sophisticated weekend look. Runs true to size.
Loft Zebra Vintage Soft Tee, $29.50 / Plus Sizes Here
I once had a client who wanted t-shirts that looked "done". She wanted tops that would help her look put together without a lot of accessories or completer pieces. For her, we ended up purchasing several tops by Lucky. This cute graphic tee makes me think of her. This Zebra scoop neck tee will look great on pretty much everyone. It runs true to size.
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Loft Lacy V-Neck Flare Dress, $89.50, Available in Plus Sizes Here
#1 Vamp it up in V-Necks
Classic v necklines are universally flattering. The space at the top elongates the body, creating a taller (and therefore slimmer) appearance. The flash of skin also brings the eye up to one's face and away from any bulges below.
Linea Paolo Payton Pointy Toe Pump, $129.95
#2 Wear Low Vamp Heels
The vamp of a shoe is where the top of the shoe ends on your foot. A lower vamp that exposes more foot area gives the illusion that your legs are longer. A thin heel adds height. Of course, not everyone can or chooses to wear heels. In this case, a flat with a low vamp and pointed toe will do.
#3 Sport a Monochromatic Outfit
Similar to my first two suggestions, a monochromatic look creates a taller silhouette. A monochromatic look doesn't have to be the same exact color from head to toe. Hues and tones that are similar work just as well. It is important that your shoes match the tone of your pants (or legs if wearing a skirt) to create an effective monochromatic look.
City Chic Mia Wrap Dress, $99
#4 Define Your Waist
This tip may go against your instincts when you're feeling a little fluffier than usual. In my experience, most women run to leggings and flowy tops in an attempt to "hide" any problem areas. Do not do this. Any hint of shape is lost and you end up looking larger than you really are. A top or dress with a defined waist will show off the smallest part of you, giving you a leaner appearance. The top does not have to be tight, but it needs to have a shape. Adding a blazer with a nipped in waist also creates a slimming effect.
Xscape Plus Embellished Scallop Hem Dress, $198
#5 Enjoy Scallop Hems
Scallop hemlines on dresses, shorts, and skirts can be extremely flattering. Since the wave-like pattern flows more softly than a straight line, it doesn't break up the body quite as much.
Nic and Zoe Wonderstretch Pants, $128, Available in Plus Here
#6 Find Full Length Pants
While ankle and capri pants are all the rage (and sometimes all you can find), you are essentially giving up that height below the ankle when you wear them. Pants and jeans that go all the way down to the ankle are more flattering. If you are petite like me, you can save a trip to the tailor by purchasing the cropped or ankle version of straight size pants. They will be full length on us.
Lush Knit Maxi Dress, $38.90
#7 Embrace a Maxi Dress
If you're tall enough (5'6" or above), a maxi dress can be a wonderful, slimming garment. Keep in mind you want a dress with a shape that is more like a column than a tent. If you're wearing a maxi skirt, follow the monochromatic rule and pair the skirt with something of a similar hue on top.
AG Farrah High Rise Skinny Jeans, $178
#8 Make that Denim High Rise
I'm a huge fan of high rise jeans. The higher, the better. They lock in my tummy and when they inevitably slide down during the day, I'm not exposing anything. For the most flattering jeans, go for a plain, dark wash. Avoid whiskering, flap pockets, or embellishments.
Loft Dangle Charm Pendant, $39.50
#9 Rock a Heavy Pendant Necklace
Long pendant necklaces serve two purposes. Like many other suggestions on this list, the long line of the necklace elongates the lines of the body. Additionally, a heavy necklace will indent lightweight fabric, which can be especially useful when wearing a loose top, as it creates shape.
Vince Camuto Herringbone Muses Top, $66.33
#10 Play with Patterns and Prints
This tip is especially useful if you are hiding lumps and bumps in the tummy and back areas. Prints and patterns confuse the eye, so the focus is off those trouble areas and on to a pretty face, long legs, or whichever area you choose to highlight.
If you're overwhelmed with an onslaught of information and don't know where to start, or you don't have the time to track down the most flattering clothing, I am here for you! I offer one on one personal styling services in San Diego and virtual services everywhere. Click here to learn more.
I'm Jaquelyn Wahidi. I take the stress out of getting dressed. As a personal fashion stylist in San Diego, I help women organize their closets, define their style, and shop with intention. My blog features practical style advice for women everywhere. I've been addicted to blazers since 2004.