At ease: the styles that feel modern now

Lately I’ve found myself drawn toward more slouchy, relaxed silhouettes. Here I’m trying something new: a casual outfit with relaxed trousers and a longer v-neck sweater.

Susan B. wears a J.Crew cardigan and relaxed trousers, Loewe small Flamenco bag.

A casual-but-polished outfit with relaxed trousers

Normally I don’t wear slouchy-with-slouchy, but here I like how the longer cardigan keeps the overall vibe casual and relaxed. I’ve added some color with the bag and bracelets, but could just as easily have kept the whole look neutral.

I’m wearing a size XS in the cardigan, and 8 Petite in the pants. I sized up as the waist in the 6P was too snug. Because I’m petite (5’1″), I usually shy away from fuller cuts, but really wanted to give this look a try. The pants are full through the hips and legs, but because the fabric is light and a bit drapey, they don’t feel like they overwhelm my frame.

With the longer, fuller pants, I went with probably the more obvious shoe choice: a color close to the pants with a longer toe box to further elongate the leg. But in my head, I have a vision of a pointed or snipped toe style shoe or boot in metallic finish, just to funk things up a little bit. (Still haven’t found the right one.) I’d also wear these with a low-heeled sandal. I’ve seen relaxed trousers like this styled with sneakers or fisherman sandals, but those felt too clunky when I tried them.

Susan B. wears a relaxed v-neck cardigan and camel trousers, Loewe small Flamenco bag.

One of the questions I ask myself when trying something new is, “can I wear it multiple ways?” I could easily dress up these relaxed trousers with a silk top, jacket, and different shoes and jewelry. (Will be playing with options, look for more stylings soon.) Or with my leopard print cardigan, or a tee.

Pants are available in 5 colors, Classic sizes 00-24, as well as Petite and Tall. Cardigan is available in 4 colors, sizes XX-Small to 3X.

Tweaking our style to keep things fresh

Even the most classic styles evolve over time. Silhouettes, details, fabrics…what once felt “timeless” starts to look a little stale and dated. And we aren’t static either; our lifestyles and perspectives change and evolve. Clothes that perfectly expressed who we were a decade ago now can feel “off,” like they belong to someone else.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not advocating for chasing trends or treating our wardrobes as disposable. But sometimes we need to tweak around the edges in order to bring our style back into alignment.

There’s a certain ease that feels modern now, and I find I want to lean into that, and away from anything that looks or feels constricting. I’m not talking about crazy oversized pieces, but rather slightly relaxed fits and fluid fabrics. I still want to look neat, but be comfortable too.

Have you tried any new styles lately that are a change from your usual?

More styles with modern ease

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      1. I like the golden / mustard yellow color of the pants and shoes and I am envious of your California weather! Your hair looks nice!

  1. I have definitely gotten into the slouchy style too, especially for jeans. This spring/summer I bought 4 pair of slouchy jeans in various shades in an ankle length and love them. They look great with a belt and fitted tee. It reminds me of the 80s styles I was wearing to work (pleated pants, I’m thinking of you!). I haven’t tried the double slouchy look yet, but you carried it off nicely!

  2. I love the looser pants look! And I’m way shorter than you ( 4’11”). As long as the fabric drapes, I don’t look overwhelmed. AlsoI wear them aalmost to the floor… gives the illusion I’m 5’ tall .I do stick to short sweaters, but not necessarily fitted. A slouchy sweater has the same feel of the pants.

  3. I am trying- thus far unsuccessfully- to adapt at age 70 to today’s wider leg pants instead of my standard slim ankle pant (I’m 5’3” size 10P)…but feel clownish in them, whether it’s a barrel leg or straight leg cut. Still feel most myself in a slim leg (not jegging or legging) with a longer cut top. I’ll keep looking at your suggestions & try to be more current!

      1. This look looks great on you, Susan! I’m thinking of purchasing the sweater. Is XS your normal sweater size or did you size down? Many reviews say it runs large. I like the way it fits you.
        Thank you,

        1. Hi Elle, thanks! If a sweater is loose and oversized, I usually go with an XS. I wanted a slouchy fit so didn’t size down.

  4. Do you ever feel that sweaters or blazers of that longer length cut your body in half rather than thirds? I’m 5’3” with long legs and short torso and have been avoiding anything in that 25-26” length ans choose shorter or longer. Curious about your thoughts. Maybe it’s just me and my unique proportions. This look great on you!

    1. Yes, I find that some lengths don’t look proportionally the best, but sometimes decide to let that go. Another way I’d wear this sweater is open over a column of color.

    2. I was looking at the second photo and the way it’s ‘styled’. Susan does look fantastic but upon closer inspection the bottom two buttons are open, her hand is holding back the bottom of the sweater giving it a visual ‘half tuck’ that gives the illusion of length.. The reality is we just don’t walk around like that! Nor do we pose our way around town.. the sweater is an awkward length for many to pull off especially those ( like myself) who are wide in the beam. Like you I go short or to the knee. If I go hip length it’s flared away from my body. Nothing against slouchy it’s the proportions that seem off.
      Also a comment about being current. This look is not for everyone, in fact IRL, in its extreme it looks kind of silly on anyone under 5’6”. If I want to make myself feel & look dumpy oversize slouch is what I do. Its’s not my style so brava to those who like and wear it well. Just a shout out to those of us who fear we will be labelled ‘ not current’. Wear what makes YOU feel good. We ‘re not teenagers anymore bowing to the ‘dernier cri’ of fashion. Just saw the newly appointed Princess of Wales in ‘puddle pants’ not a good look, and if Kate can’t pull it off it’s best left on the rack.

      1. Right, as I said in the post, it’s not about following trends to follow trends. And you won’t catch me in puddle pants either, unless I’m at the tailor having them hemmed. 😉

    3. Lori, I’m 5’1″ and feel the same way! I have some longer open cardigans to wear over pants, but my everyday default is shorter tops that end just below the largest part of my tummy (120# so have a tummy), to do 1/3 : 2/3. Really dislike tunics on me! Susan’s suggestion of longer cardigan over a column of color is a very good idea.

  5. For me, a plus to being 79 is wearing what is becoming and pleasing to me, whether or not it is modern. Simple fitted clothes in neutral colors, provided that they are not so old-fashioned that they look like a costume are for me, although I admire other looks on other people. A blazer, a black dress. slim not tight jeans….so flow on river of fashion. I watch Fromm the banks.

  6. The pants look great. Fabulous color and the drape looks nice. I am not a fan of the slouchy look which is probably due to my own style preferences so to me the sweater looks like it was borrowed from someone larger. I’d like to see the pants paired with your leopard sweater.

  7. I LOVE a good slouch, when done intentionally as you have here, with sophisticated color palette and upscale accessories;)

  8. I had found a beautiful scarf/ shawl in a gallery shop attached to a stately home and gardens in Somerset this past spring . Scarlet poppies with different olive greens. I found a soft sweater in rust with olive knit wide leg a local shop here at home. Love the look. I have tried the softer pant before and like them, even though I am 5’3”, and I found the former ones really comfortable onboard a long overnight flight.
    During the winter evenings, I have gone soft & slouchy with lovely soft cord knit pants with tunic tops in modal knit. Feel still put together while watching Netflix and so comfy!

  9. Since our colour season doesn’t change and only contrast/tonal tweaks may be necessary, perhaps our style personality needs reviewing at different stages of our lives. My own example is moving from Classic to Relaxed when I retired. Fitted button down shirts, tailored pants and blazers no longer feel comfortable or lifestyle appropriate particularly since I live in New Zealand where informality has been the norm for decades. Looking “pulled together” is my mantra from here on in.

  10. I’ve also been attracted to more relaxed styles lately. Last year I purchased a pair of (moderately) wide-leg pants and liked how they looked with a slim top and cropped cardigan. I recently added a pair of soft twill wide-leg cropped pants (olive) and a pair of cropped wide-leg jeans. All are moderately wide, and at my height (5’4″) they’re all ankle pants, which I also like. Looking at Susan’s styling, I think they could all work with various tops, and I’ll be experimenting with those.

  11. Hard to really assess your outfit, Susan, due to the pose, but the trousers look really lovely to me and not particularly “slouchy.” Then again, I’ve always worn looser bottoms paired with more fitted tops and sweaters. It just works for my body type and style preferences. (I LOVE lantern pants AND barrel legs – they work for me, so not sure why others feel the need to disparage them or declare them universally unattractive.) I was also fairly late to the skinny jean look and still wear them rarely, but now that I’ve found some brands/styles that work for me and I feel comfortable in, I won’t be giving them up completely either. I do find cardigans of the length you’re modeling somewhat problematic, because they tend to cut one in half, but unbuttoning it completely (or all but a few buttons at the top) probably allows for adjusting where necessary, depending upon one’s height and proportions. Love your color choices, as always, and hope you find that Golden Grail metallic shoe/bootie!

  12. I too love lantern pants and barrel jeans; they just work for me. Others might disagree and think I need a more structured pant but, as long as I’m confident and comfortable? Well, to each her own.
    Susan, I love you in a lantern pant btw. I remember a pix from London? you were wearing lantern pant, booties, green sweater…loved that look!
    Question….in the pix with leopard sweater, what size EF lantern jean are you wearing?

  13. Having your colors “done” certainly changed your “picks” for the best and while I am not your color “type” I enjoy seeing your “choices” which oddly helps me expand my wardrobe from black/navy. [I am a winter in the old school colors before my platinum gray onset]. Thank you for your travel advice/packing ideas. These continue to help me and to influence my husbands choices too/I shared your packing advice with him. Looking for the perfect long boyfriends’ blazer for travel for women.

  14. I recently found relaxed leg jeans that fall between straight leg and wide leg. They are a nice alternative to barrel and lantern legs, if those don’t suit you. They look modern without jumping all over a trend.

    I like the relaxed silhouette from your post today, Susan. It’s updated and fresh.

    1. I meant to add that I’d like to see if relaxed leg jeans work for you, too, Susan. I find that wide leg linen pants suit me, but changing the fabric to denim is not as good. The wider the leg, the drapier the fabric is my motto.

  15. I was interested in your comments re: shoes to wear with wider, drapier pants. There are a lot of ankle length pants and with fall/winter approaching I’m wondering if/how that length can be worn in cooler weather. Could you wear ankle boots? And once it’s cold enough that you need socks, should you coordinate the color to your shoes or to the pants or should everything be one color? (Maybe that’s why we wore so much black for so long, fewer decisions. 😉 )

  16. I think it is a very nice combination. Would have liked to see more photos, taken from different angles.