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Plus Size Style: What Length Pants Should I Get?

Posted on April 22, 2020 by Jen Anderson | 3 comments

If you've been unhappy with how pants fit you, you've probably realized that there's no straightforward answer to this question. We all have different proportions, so you can't just go by your overall height. The answer also varies according to the style and look you're going for.

It's Not Just About Height

You probably think that petite length pants are for people 5'3" and under, and tall pants are for those over 5'8". Not so fast. If you're tall and long waisted, then you may need regular length pants, or even petite pants. If you're short waisted, you may need longer pants than you think.

Wisteria plus size leggingsWhere Your Pants Hem Should Be

The only real requirement here is that your pants shouldn't be long enough to trip you. If you don't want to be precise about this, that's fine. I'm 5'2" so I've always focused on the not tripping thing. But thinking about this can give us a better idea of what we're looking for.

You want Crop Pants and Gaucho Pants to end anywhere between your knee and ankle - you have plenty of wiggle room with these styles. For Pull On Pants, you want them to end just below your ankle bone. With Bootcut Pants and Wide Leg Pants, you can go longer - long enough to barely skim the floor. Slim Leg Pants should end right above your ankle bone.

It's Inseam Measuring Time

If you have a pair of pants that are the perfect length for you, lay them out flat and measure the inside of one of the legs. If you can get a friend to help you, then you can measure your actual inseam. Measure from the top of your inner thigh to the bottom of your ankle bone. You can hold the top of the measuring tape in place while your friend focuses on your ankle. While you're at it, also measure all the way down to the floor so you won't have to guess for the longer styles.

Danielle in black plus size leggingsVikki Vi Inseams

Let's take a look at the numbers:

Petite Pull On Pants - 28"
Regular Pull On Pants - 30"
Tall Pull On Pants - 33"
Slim Leg Pants - 30"
Wide Leg Pants - 30"
Extra Petite Boot Cut Pants - 26"
Petite Boot Cut Pants - 27"
Regular Boot Cut Pants - 30"
Crop Pants - 24"
Gaucho Pants - 24"

So what does this all mean? Well, if the Petite Pull On Pants hit you just below the ankle, then the regular length Wide Leg Pants would give you that longer look. If the Petite Pull On Pants are still too long for you, the Crop Pants or Extra Petite Boot Cut Pants may be perfect for you. If you usually wear the Tall Pull On Pants, then the Slim Cut Pants won't be too short on you, and you can consider wearing the Petite Pull On Pants as Crop Pants.

My point is that you don't have to stick to your lane here.

Now What?

Write down your inseam measurement, as well as that longer floor-skimming measurement. Now when you shop online, you can look at the inseam measurements and you'll have the necessary context to know if those pants are for you. When shopping in stores, you can measure pants before taking them into the dressing room.

Unless you're walking the red carpet, you don't have to be precise about this. But understanding the whole inseam thing means that you can explore all your options. 

Check out our other posts about plus size style.

Posted in plus size style tips


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3 Responses

Jen Anderson
Jen Anderson

April 22, 2020

Kristy, I’m really loving the bias cut tunics. Thanks for asking.

Kristy Healy
Kristy Healy

April 22, 2020

Jen! What is your personal fave new Vicki V item for spring ? So many cool things to choose from . I am thinking a long tank dress maybe !❤️❤️

Diane Bernard
Diane Bernard

April 22, 2020

Being a short “fluffy” hobbit has it limitations…. I used to catch my pant legs going up a flight of stairs! I remember how I lived in fear of falling constantly. My final attempt at tripping “the light fantastic” over my pant legs was so funny I have to share…. One rainy northwest day on the way home from an adventure with my dear mom….I got out out of the car to go into my garage from the driveway. That was to be the last straw for long pants on short legs. It had been raining and my pants as usual were dragging. Unbeknownst to me, I headed directly for a nice wet and slick spot and with said pant legs underfoot, I lost all traction and bounced quickly onto the cement. Lucky for me I slid to an abrupt stop without major injury. Remember the roly poly “Michelin Man” tire mascot? If not, think of a nice big black and white Orca whale sliding onto a platform to retrieve a fish reward….
Thank goodness my body type was similar in type, as that’s indeed what saved me from breaking both of my outstretched wrists. My reflex action was to brace for the fall, but belly sliding saved the day. Mom was glad I wasn’t hurt but my brush with the concrete served up the best laugh for both of us in a long time. From that day forward I have worshiped at the alter of the crop pant God. May the Michelin Man always keep watch over me and my short pants!

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