Oh Yes She Did

Hammer time 1

Summer has finally arrived in Southern California. Right now we’re getting sub-tropical heat from Mexico, served up with a side order of humidity. Soon the seasonal Santa Ana winds will bring their own brand of dry, intense heat intermittently over the next few weeks.

“There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Ana’s that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.” — Raymond Chandler

The last of our big projects at work is now “live.” It’s been a busy few weeks, and I think the stress and occasional lack of sleep is showing on my face. We probably still have a bit of Higher-Ups-Want-To-Tweak-It last-minute changes to work through, but I’m hoping things will settle down to the usual nonsense soon. Yes, this is a departure from my usual uniform of slim pants. Between the heat and being a bit worn out, comfort was top priority so wore these Eileen Fisher harem* pants to a backyard BBQ in The Valley™ (hotter than our coastal neighborhood) over the weekend. These pants are so very comfortable and totally non restrictive. I actually like the edgy look of them, and yes, I know, they’re not “flattering” in the conventional sense. I’ve had them for several weeks and have worn mostly very casually, running weekend errands and such. Here I’m wearing as a maxi-skirt alternative. I’m certain they’ll divide the masses. 😉

Hammer time 3

You’ve seen the Stella and Dot spiky bracelet many times. The other was an impulse purchase from 12-14 years ago, snatched up from a spinning countertop “vintage” jewelry display at a strip mall salon as I was paying for a haircut. I have no idea how “vintage” it actually is, but I love the colors and quasi-mid-century design; it’s quite sturdy and has held up amazingly well. (It looks like there’s a piece missing, but that’s actually the design; every other “flower” is like that.) I get compliments every time I wear it.

Hammer pants, slouchy pants
See, column of color!! (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

The Stuff:

Sweater: Eileen Fisher, no longer available. Similar / Tank: Eileen Fisher / Pants: Eileen Fisher / Earrings: Alexis Bittar, similar / Bracelets: Stella & Dot, unknown / Watch: Michael Kors / Sandals: ECCO, similar.

Do you have some odd seasonal weather patterns where you live?  How do you dress for “unseasonable” weather?

Linked up with Verizon Voices Fashionista Style Hop!

*I hate the name because, well, “harem” which I associate with polygamy and women as property. (Per Barbara in comments, this isn’t necessarily so.) I tried calling them Genie pants but then remembered that Genies get trapped in bottles until they do masters’ bidding. Hammer pants? Suggestions are welcome.

Linked up with Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style!


Disclosure: actions taken from links in this post may generate commissions for unefemme.net

Stay in touch

Sign up to be notified of new posts and updates from une femme d’un certain âge.

Affiliate links in posts may generate commissions for unefemme.net. See my complete disclosure policy here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    1. CLEARLY, the pants worn in this video were NOT designed by the Eileen Fisher team! The harem pant designed by E.F is so chic. However, it is being embraced by Parisians and also made their debut on Downton Abbey with Sybil choosing the fashion forward theme of the day. Not everyone has the “pluck” and “style” to carry them off as most Parisians are doing these days, but I believe UNE FEMME D’Un Certain Age has inspired or validated those who are moving towards this new chic silhouette. I found the video the posting of the video to “mock” the choices of some, but I am sure that was not your intention.

    2. I actually like the harem pant worn by the singer in this vedio. It looks good on him. AND EF harem pant looks great on Une Femme d’un Certain Age too. I have quite a few wool or linen harem/low-drop crotch pants. Love them. There are some designers always have the low crotch/ harem style pants such as Yohji Yamamoto or Comme des Garcons. I don’t own (can’t afford) their clothes though.

      1. Yohji Yamamoto and Comme des Garcons are at the cutting edge of style and very expensive. I do like their look, but found the E.F. line this Fall very edgy and stylish at a fraction of the cost of the designers you mentioned.
        The pants worn by the performance artist in the video fit his role. However, I do not have his figure to be carrying it off, nor the energy.

      2. Sarah Pacini has made harem pants (they are called “SAROUEL” in French. I own a few and love them. Get lots of compliments every time I wear them.

  1. I’m sure you will enjoy wearing these, they look very comfortable!
    As for unseasonable weather, we often have very hot weather as late as October–or even November! In fact, last December, I checked the temperature one evening at 9pm, right after I finished decorating our Christmas tree, and it was 72 degrees!

  2. I like the harem pants. I bought a two piece outfit in a similar style in Paris. I have been a little shy about wearing it around here but with the right jewellery, I have received quite a few compliments. Sometimes it’s fun to wear something totally different!

  3. I think you look adventurous yet comfortable. Great alternative to a skirt. Beautiful white cardi wrap and jewelry, perfect for the heat.

    blue hue wonderland

  4. Welcome to the E.F. Harem Club! I LOVE mine and I think they are extremely chic. As a petite, I find the volume is controlled by the cuffed ankles and as a result the pants have an edgy maxi skirt look. I wear mine with a cropped kimono jacket or layer the E.F. black jersey top with a cropped top over it. I picked up a Zara studio top in a quilted white with wide kimono sleeves. The E.F. black jersey top underneath maintains the black column while the white crop adds interest. This silhouette appears to lengthen my frame. The finishing touch is black wedges (I like the added height) and a black and white lotus shawl (from the Metropolitan Art Museum). E.F. also has an adorable cropped kimono jacket in red.

  5. You look great in those pants and they’re obviously perfect for your climate. I have a linen pair (Crea, bought in Paris) with a somewhat different profile — wider at the base, and the linen is woven so less fluid, more bulk. I love mine for heat but a sudden downpour means I’m soaking up buckets and buckets of wet! And part of my commute is by bike, for which these pants were not imagined . . . .
    I’m with you on resisting the name “harem pants” — my kids have always called the various iterations I’ve had over the years “Hammer pants.” Not thrilled about that either 😉

  6. You are one brave lady and you pull off the pants beautifully!! Weather in South Texas is anything but normal. We are in a drought…about 35 days in a row of over 100 degree heat…no let up in sight…I long for autumn weather…actually, I would take clouds in the sky and a rain storm or two. Oh fall, where are you???

  7. I like them, but think that the longer cardigan doesn’t work well with them, as it hits you (or anybody else) at the widest point. Would look great with a cropped cardigan though, and I bet they’re so comfortable in this weather we’re having.

    1. Kathy, I agree with you about the sweater actually. I’ve always avoided cropped sweaters as I’m so short-waisted. But I think these pants need one.

        1. I am petite and short waisted as well. My waist goes in at the sides, but not so much in the front. If I keep a column of one color, as you did in your posting today, and added a cropped jacket (kimono) or top over it the illusion is lengthening and slenderizing. I also found a narrow obi belt in black to add if I choose.

  8. I echo Pam’s sentiment- you are brave! And they look great on you. I have a similar sweater to the one you are wearing and I love it for so many reasons. But I will eschew the pants- Guess I’m more conservative than I thought.

  9. Susan, Take a look at the EF site at “Looks we Love”. I can see you in the ensemble pictured with the harem pants. You would have the denim shirt longer and then the cropped striped top. It would be great on you.

    1. or, check out the lightweight boiled wool kimono jacket in red! YUM! I think the harem pant will just “rock” this jacket and they have it in petite!!

  10. I love them and think you look wonderful. Like you, I am pretty much in a skinny trouser silhouette year round, but in the summer I turn to harem pants. (The word “harem” doesn’t bother me).

  11. Well, my horizons have widened. Every time I’ve seen those pants I’ve wondered why anyone would wear them. They’re so ugly. And then you come along and look fantastic in them. Some people just got style, and you’re one of them.

  12. Doubt if this is a look I’ll be wearing, although sometimes a style will grow on me if it’s around long enough. Right now it just looks odd. Not saying you or anyone else shouldn’t wear them, of course, just that for me it’s a ‘no’.

    However, I just made a purchase of a Breton stripped top in spite of my firm rule to never wear horizontal stripes so I’ll never say never 😉

  13. I do not like green eggs and ham….. I generally love what you showcase and admire your choices.

    I, too, love a little edge – and I just can’t make myself love these pants. I think they’re just plain ugly.

    Chacun à leur propre!

    1. I agree with your comment. What may look ugly on one person will look ultra chic on another! It is all in the attitude and I suppose a person’s silhouette.

    1. Thank you liz2b for providing the appropriate name. There are many who have a more “provincial” attitude towards designs that are different and choose to mock them with derogatory descriptions. These pants have been expertly designed and do not fit into the category so vulgarly described by so many people. I feel such descriptions are an insult to the designer and those who choose to wear them. Of course, they are not for everyone, but neither are voluminous tops or bright colors. I just find the word “sarouel” to be a perfect way to describe these expertly designed trousers. To call them anything else (besides harem) is insulting.

      1. Wow – Lisa, relax. Your comments are actually quite harsh and judgmental of others.

        To call a pair of pants ugly is different than calling the person who wears them ugly – relax….it’s only fashion….who cares in 10 minutes let alone 10 months?

        1. I do not judge others. However, I do choose to be sensitive to their creative choices without using negative words such as ugly. To me the word ugly belongs alongside words like fat, stupid, and dumb. Those are words that reflect judgement and rejection of others. It is tool used to exlude. Furthermore, those words create an environment that stifles creativity, experimentation, and creative risk. It is a pleasure to have a dialogue that reflects sensitivity towards the choices and styles of all people without feeling that their choices will be described with words that diminish and may cause pain. When,a forum provides a safe and inclusive environment where people feel comfortable to take risks without fearing judgement more can be gleaned from the conversation.

          I thought most of the this dialogue accomplished this goal. Building on different ideas of how to style this fashion piece was informative. There were many wonderful ideas presented in a considerate and thoughtful way without giving offense or discouraging the more sensitive members.

  14. Oh, I have wanted to try a pair of those. My friend swore by their comfort level.

    I have always thought “harem” pants were trousers gathered at the ankle and poofy around the leg, while what you are wearing are “drop crotch” pants favored by some hip hop dancers I watch. I suppose ‘crotch’ might not be an elegant term, either…

    … entre-jambes en bas pants?

  15. If you are looking for a descriptive name for these, why limit yourself to the realm of “pants”. What about “closed ankle skirt”? They are no doubt comfortable, but I don’t think they would do well bicycling through the countryside. A place and time for everything, I suppose. But then I’ve always been function over fashion so what do I know. ; )

    1. I would not wear a maxi skirt bicycling, either. Actually, skinny pants are tough as well and bell bottoms a real issue on a bicycle. I did like the mosquito-proof point.

      The interesting thing about these pants are that you can take the ankle cuff and pull them up below your knee to create a mosquito proof balloon skirt. In that way, you can create the most perfect bicycling outfit.

      I have done this and it is form and function at its best!

  16. Patiala pants! The bottom part of a Salwar Kameez. Not sure if I’d wear them, but they do look more mosquito-proof than a maxi-skirt.

  17. Love, love, love the EF harems pants on you!! I have been wearing mine all summer with tanks and sandals. They are more comfortable than skinny pants in the heat. I can’t wait to try them with cropped leather jackets and ankle boots in cooler weather!

  18. Sorry, but no. I realize I’m in the minority here, but I don’t like the look. (I figure I should be honest with you since I do think you typically look great.)

    1. First, I think she still looks great. Second, not everybody is going to like every look in the look book. With that said, style is sometimes about pushing boundaries and trying new silhouettes and contours. It is about expressing our personality in unique ways.

      I feel people are confused and “personalize” style based on their comfort zones and judge others who go beyond those lines each of us had drawn. I applaud Une Femme d’une Certain Age for opening the window of possibility, going beyond “provincial” judgements, and giving us a broader vision for mastering personal style.

      I get it when people are not comfortable with something. What I don’t get is the judgement of those choosing to push the boundaries in search of greater style.

      1. Hi Lisa, thanks for your kind support. I fully expected that this look wouldn’t receive a unanimously positive response and I’m OK with that. It’s not a style that everyone cares for, and to me none of the negative responses seemed personal or disrespectful. Some people just really don’t like the pants. 🙂 As I’ve said before, it would be a very boring world if we all dressed the same and liked the same things. I’m honored and appreciate that people feel they can express opinions openly here including dissenting ones. Chacun à son gout, as they say.

        1. You are made of tougher stuff than me. As a former elementary teacher, I banned the negative words like UGLY and looked askance at comments about poop, load in the pants, and other such terms. I guess it is was something I did not expect to read from adults. We all have our comfort zones.

      2. Why are you arguing about pants to this extent…they are pants. Not my taste at all but so what? BTW, in arts, clothes, shoes and decorations matters last I checked we’re still allowed to say “ugly” without being scolded by another adult.

  19. I am now totally getting the samurai stance of your first picture! Also, the quizzical look that seems to say, “Well???”

    I have had a lively time with the comments here.

  20. I like a pair of harem pants in summer, they’re lovely and cool. I have an old Topshop pair that are brilliant for cycling in, but I think the Eileen Fisher pair might be a bit too low-slung for my bike!

    1. Here is what you do. The harem trousers have give. I grab the cuffs of each leg and bring them up under my knee. VOILA! The harem turns into the cutest, mosquito proof bubble skirt ideal for bike riding or dressing up for a different look altogether.

  21. I am not getting into the pants discussion, for I made my statement the first time you showed them. That bracelet, though, is super for you: the autumnal colors you seem to have decided aren’t quite right, yet you are still drawn to them, so this could be just the ticket. Shiny but not silly, and a bit of bling, but not obtrusive. I would be surprised if you didn’t wear it more, as it is a great piece, especially roughened with the spiky cones. It would even sidle next to your MK watch quite nicely

  22. They work on you. I hate these when I see them with oversized tops. The proportions work here, with the black column and the open cardigan giving a longer line.

  23. I don’t think you look stressed – I think you look rather serene and lovely. I love the excerpt from Raymond Chandler. I should read some of his stuff.

    I like the edgy look of the pants, but I don’t know what they should be called. Maybe closed-skirt-with-legholes?

  24. Of course, it is ROASTING here in southern California! If harem pants make it bearable, more power to you! You wear them with panache!

    I have been spending my days in tank tops and madras pajama pants from Target – not very stylish, but cool.

  25. A harem is simply a living area where only women reside. No men are allowed there. At the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, it is simply the private living quarters of the Sultan & his family. His mother, daughters, sisters and female relatives lived there. His mother had great power and picked her son’s wife. Many of these women played important political roles in Ottoman history. Even though their communal living arrangements are different from ours, I don’t think think it is a derogatory term. The Topkapi Palace is a beautiful and peaceful place, and I learned a lot about that historical period when I visited there. By the way, I like the pants!

  26. I think you look fab in this styling!

    I adore my EF harem pants, but personally always style with a cropped top, as the proportion works better on me. And I prefer to wear a visually heavier shoe/sandal as I find it weighs down the look sufficiently that the pants seem not SO much!! I still haven’t mastered the art of crossing my legs correctly the first time, such that I’m not all tangled up! Haha it usually takes some finagling to arrange myself properly. And yes, they’re quite stretchy and the rib cuffs are such that they can be pulled up the leg to create a pseudo skirt. Looking forward to wearing in the fall with booties and maybe if I’m feeling REALLY brave, pulled up with tall boots!

  27. This might just fan the flames of controversy, but I have to ask if anyone else saw the recent episode of “Project Runway,” in which one of the designers won for what Tim Gunn and the judges called “dropped-crotch pants” and “poopy pants?” Even so, they obviously have come to appreciate the look when it is styled correctly.

    1. My experience in life has lead me to believe that snarky comments targeted towards someone else’s creative choices are not about the actual product, but about the attention seeking behavior of the commentator.

  28. I love this outfit 🙂 reminds me of a post you wrote about wearing clothing that imparts a strong sense of character and individuality and not so much dressing “to look your best” which basically means torturing your body into its best version of the hour glass shape.
    More please 🙂

  29. If I may be so bold, what do you wear underneath them? I usually have to wear some sort of bike short under skirts to deal with the dreaded “chub rub” particularly in hot weather. Maybe you have no chub!

    1. Haven’t tried yet, but people swear by Body Glide for whatever and wherever you don’t want rubbing or chafing. I’ve used a similar product to prevent blisters while wearing sandals or shoes without hose or socks. Works very well.

      1. Yes, Body Glide works well to prevent chaffing. Available at REI.com and many other places. It comes in a package similar to solid deodorant, and you apply in a similar fashion to areas prone to rubbing.

  30. I most enjoyed this look! I am all over dressing by choice and inspiration… even when it isn’t seen as traditionally flattering… and I have many a post to prove it :))

    I think your presentation of an unconventional look is done with both style and poise… demonstrating your own personal grace beautifully!

    I am suffering the heat right along with you… if you ever get down to South Orange County.. we must meet up my dear! Wishing you a beautiful first week of September!


  31. Oh, I was so hoping you would show up in a pair of these! I’ve been going back and forth, back and forth, but you took the plunge and I think that’s great in an of itself, to try something new. (And you look great in them).

    I remember about six or seven years back (or more), some designer came up with dropped-crotch pants — just regular tailored pants, but with the crotch dropped — and I remember thinking then how beautiful they were, and admiring the ease. This year I bought two pairs of pants from a local boutique, one jeans and one black cropped pants, and they both have a slightly dropped crotch. It’s such a flattering look for those of us with a meno-pot.

    Went looking on the EF website and saw the lantern-ankle pants — another new silhouette that I really like.

  32. Love them! I have a pair, and I wear them regularly. Mine come a little higher on the leg, just the fit on me, but I don’t mind. I love that edgy look, and I consider them ‘drop rise’ pants.

  33. Tim Gunn calls these “poopy pants” and I have seen them go very, very wrong – but these work! I think it’s because they’re more of a maxi gathered at both ankles than a pant. If the crotch were much higher, like the 80’s MC Hammer style, I wouldn’t like them.
    Look at you, being all edgy! 😉


  34. Oh my goodness. You are my freaking heroine. I don’t think I’d be brave enough to wear harem pants but somehow the universe makes more sense because you do. You rock!

  35. I completely adore that first photo of awesome you! Besides being your gorgeous and elegant self in everything you wear, that must be the best head tilt I have ever seen. What an interesting conversation about the nomenclature and associations too. Though it’s the first thing I thought of, “drop crotch” is perhaps suggestive of an unfortunate medical condition – my lightbulb moment this morning was “extended rise.” I love clothing that is playful with silhouette, and the more comfortable and functional, the better!

  36. I do not admire them on you, and that evaluation has given me pause to think of all the things I once wore happily and now would not. Isn’t that what dressing is for, sometimes- to explore?

    1. Duchesse, yes exactly. It’s only by trial and error that we figure out what works or not. That means some things we may come in time to regard as clunkers. 😉

  37. I’m going to step in at this point and request that everyone please respectfully “agree to disagree.” You’re all welcome to continue to add your thoughts but please refrain from disparaging others for opinions that may differ from your own. Thank you!

  38. I’m wholly with Tim Gunn on this one. I would never wear these pants–there is just too much fabric, and none of it draping well. While they may appear marginally acceptable in a well-posed still, the way a garment moves is so important. And “Hammer pants” do not move well!

    1. Have you seen the Eileen Fisher video of these pants?

      My understanding on the Project Runway Episode 6 that Tim Gunn called admired the winning design that night. He stated that he was not usually a fan of POOFY type pants (which of course was repeated by other designers using another word), but it is all in the design. They are not all alike. I watched the video several times before purchasing as movement is very important to me.

      It is all about what each of us feels comfortable wearing and there is no set right or wrong. I have seen some people take a unpopular piece and style it in a way that really looks great. I am always interested on the different interpretations and silhouettes that designers come up with to put their own signature or vision of a pre-conceived design.

      I think our Une Femme of a Certain Age has the spirit that encourages us to try new styles and challenges us to move in different directions. Each of us can choose to try–or not. I am thankful she has a great attitude and offers support and encouragement to those of us meeker souls who want to try but
      are on the sidelines waiting for someone else to go first.

  39. Lisa, if you are asking ME if I’ve seen the Eileen Fisher video of the pants
    [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODZ8FVEq3wk] why yes, I have. The movement that concerns me most is from the rear. I find it unflattering. I see a wad of fabric flapping between knees and calves as the models stroll. I see no shape or definition. That’s not the impression I want to leave while passing by or making an exit.

    While I love une femme’s site and enthusiastically applaud her style and fashion experimentation and innovation, I personally don’t like these pants, and have offered my reasons. Your continual posting (18+ responses) in the “Harem pants–Yea or Nay?” debate seems an odd and strident investment. You love the look–fine. Others don’t–fine. All opinions are valid AND permissible.

    1. I completely agree with you and respect your choices. This is a new style for me and I am tentatively moving into it. I am exploring the options and enjoyed the dialogue of how to style them.

      However, the pants are definitely NOT the reason I have responded so many times ( I did not bother to count as I was more focused on the message and content, rather than the number)
      I do want to make one point clear. It was not about the actual pants that brought me forward so stridently, but some of the comments that I found discouraging and hurtful. I thought, perhaps by mistake, that something fun and new was being introduced and a discussion of how to style the look would ensue. That was what I thought this post was about. I was baffled that a few people who did not like the style would be so strident in their comments against someones choice of creative styling and as a result create a polarizing environment. Of course, most people were thoughtful and kind (that is what this is really about)

      When I do not care for a look I do not comment on it as I do not want to be discouraging towards those interested in exploring it or damper their excitement. I let the people enjoy their discussion and the options of how to style a fashion and applaud their efforts. I do not make comments one way or the other. I let them enjoy their subject of the day and know than on another day something I will be interested in will turn up. I was just caught off guard by the strong reaction and negativity.

      Not all was lost, I was still able to navigate through the maze and find those kindred spirits hearty enough to continue the discussion about styling and overcoming the trepidation of stepping out of their comfort zone to try something new.

  40. Between quoting one of my favorite Chandler passages and showing off that great vintage-inspired bracelet, I think you’ve mesmerized me into seeing the harem pants semi-favorably, ha.

    Hope work settles down, the weather turns, and you get to rejuvenate a bit!

  41. We call those pants Sarouel here in Montreal
    We have kind of weird weather this time of year too, cool, warm, hot…until it makes its mind up
    Love your pants, i know so comfortable!


  42. I am from South Asia, & in my country, these types of pants are usually worn with long tunics- the whole outfit style is known as ‘shalwar kameez’.

    The ‘kameez’ refers to the tunic part, so we traditionally call the baggy pants ‘shalwar’ (in some regions/ dialects, it’s ‘salwar’)

    I hope that helps 🙂

  43. Conventional sense or no, they are flattering. Very louche, and lovely on you. Very of the moment, and retro-chic, but then you knew that! Nice inspiration, the Santa-Anas … hot desert winds make these especially apropos. Like the slightly tough sandals, rather than something more delicate … but that’s a possibility depending on occasion. I really like them on petite little you.
    Yes you did, and you did it well!