25 In Anatomy of an Outfit/ Styling Tips

How I Styled this Dressori Flowy Pant

Flowy pant

I woke up last Wednesday morning with the unrelenting thought, “You must, you must, you must wear your Dressori flowy pants.” I’m sure that happens to you. One piece of clothing gets as demanding as a hungry baby, and wants what it wants right now!

I opened the closet. These pants emphatically pushed all of the other ones aside declaring it was their turn, their day to shine. Who was I to question that authoritative tone? I pulled them out.

Finding the right top for my flowy pants

When it came to deciding which top to put with them, the whole top section in my closet appeared to be drowsy. Not one single top was coming forward saying, “Me! Choose me! Choose me today!”

Since my tops were being quiet as church mice, I had to work at finding something suitable. I decided that since the pant was silk, maybe a silk top would be the right place to start.

Equipment shirt
Hand-stamped dates on Equipment silk shirt

I heard a tiny murmur coming from my Equipment silk print shirt with all the hand-stamped dates on it. Remember that top? The dates are intentional. I’ll let the tag that came with it tell you what they stand for.

Equipment shirt
The meaning behind the stamped dates

I was impressed with the willingness of this shirt to come forward and say, “I’m silk. Maybe I could help.”

“Oh darling, that’s very sweet of you,” I said. “But you’re more of a tailored shirt style. I don’t really see you with my Japanese Dressori pant.”

The shirt whimpered. Oh dear. I’d hurt its feelings.

“Okay, Sweetie,” I said. “Let’s just try you on.”

I figured this would be a quick on and off, and I’d end up promising to wear it next week so it wouldn’t feel so bad.

Styling the Equipment shirt to work with my flowy pants

With the shirttails hanging out and down, it really didn’t work with the pant style. I tried tucking it in. Uff da, really not good! But then I got the idea to leave the last buttons unbuttoned so I could tie a knot in front.

Knotting a top
Maybe a knot will work

Finding harmony in the top and pant

“Well, look at that!” I said. Giving the shirt a cropped look was perfect with the pant. “Oh, you’re so good,” I said to the Equipment shirt. With the new shorter proportion, it let the pant do what it does best: flow and make my legs look longer.

When I stood back and looked into the full-length mirror at this combo, something else tickled me. This shibori pattern technique looked like the kanoko shibori method, where objects like rice or beans are used to create the pattern.

With a little distance from the mirror, I appreciated how the hand-stamped dates on the Equipment shirt created its own similar, organic pattern. The stamps aren’t all neat and tidy and in perfect rows; they’re scattered about.

Mixing prints
Mixing prints and creating harmony

While the pant has the indigo background color with white designs, the top has a white background with blue, black or brown stamped dates. In a subtle way, they mirror each other. Do you see what I mean? They relate to each other and play together in a way I wouldn’t have expected.

Let’s get this outfit out the door!

Platform sandals with flowy pants
Cotelac sandals make their way to the streets

To finish the outfit I added my Cotelac black platform sandals purchased many years ago on Fillmore Street in SF.

Flowy pant

While I was getting Erin to take pictures for this post, a woman stopped me outside of Peet’s Coffee wanting to tell me how much she liked my outfit. It turns out she was a scholar on textiles and knew so much about shibori. She thought my choice of shoes was excellent with the pant as it emphasized Japanese esthetics.

I hadn’t thought about that! All I’d thought about was wearing a sandal that showed skin and didn’t grab attention away from the pants. Now I appreciate the choice even more. Thanks, Woman Outside of Peets.

Accessories to top off this flowy pant outfit

Inside the open collar, I added my delicate pearl necklace from many, many years ago. I love the pendant part. It’s pearl and moonstone and the shape reminds me of a dragonfly. I wore dangly Mother-of-pearl earrings to repeat the luster in the pearl necklace.

What could be better with the indigo blue than red sunglasses? These Woow frames are from Uber Optics where I get all my eyewear.

Jacket and handbag, let’s go

The third piece is a linen jean jacket from Eileen Fisher, years old. I like how the solid color is a nice relief from the patterned top and bottom. I carried my quilted MZ Wallace bag that I bought this spring. It’s so lightweight and unobtrusive, allowing for more attention to the pants.

There you have it: The Anatomy of a Flowy Pant Outfit.

Flowy pants
Anatomy of a Flowy Pant Outfit

Since this combo delighted me so, it gives me the confidence to continue experimenting with tops that I wouldn’t ordinarily think of adding to a flowy pant.

How about you? Do you wear this pant style? I’d love to hear how you style them, and I know everyone else would too! Please share!


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  • Reply
    Diane B
    July 30, 2019 at 5:39 am

    Oh Brenda, I just love your thought process and the conversations with the clothes. It makes me smile to hear the comments back from the items. For some reason I would usually wear a longer skirt instead of the pants. However I do have a pair of double layer light flowy pants that I love to wear on vacation. I am getting a renewal colour and style analysis this week, so after that perhaps I can get rid of a bit more in the closet and there won’t be so much chatter when I open the closet door.

    • Reply
      August 6, 2019 at 3:41 pm

      It’s true, Diane. When you remove the clutter you can hear your clothes speak and give you great ideas. How exciting to be getting a color and style renewal. I’m all for that! Have fun!

  • Reply
    July 30, 2019 at 5:55 am

    Thanks, Brenda, for the great idea! I have several pairs of flowy pants. I used to wear them with a tighter top but I’m chunkier in the middle now. The blouse tied at the waist is both forgiving and, as you pointed out, allows the pants to do their thing…to flow. Thanks for always giving your readers new ideas!

    • Reply
      August 6, 2019 at 3:39 pm

      You’re so welcome, Robbi! Like you, I’m chunkier in the middle. It’s my chunkiest part so I do need to find other solutions. I hope you give it a whirl!

  • Reply
    July 30, 2019 at 7:01 am

    Thanks, Brenda! I’ve got a couple pairs of flowy pants, but I’ve been having trouble finding the right tops. Should the top be more close-fitting, generally speaking? What if you’re already a bit bottom-heavy? Anyway, you’ve given me a new idea with the tied shirt.

    • Reply
      August 6, 2019 at 3:38 pm

      I think these are great for a bottom-heavy shape. You just have to be sure they are wide enough to not look like they’re being strained in any way. Yes, typically I’d put a close-fitting top with a pant like this. I didn’t do this for myself because I just don’t have that shape. I kind of wonder if I ever did but I certainly don’t now. That’s why I was so thrilled with this solution. More things are possible!

  • Reply
    Susan Blakey
    July 30, 2019 at 8:06 am

    Fabulous outfit, Brenda! Since most buttoned shirts are too long for me, I’ve been thinking about trying to knot them as you have here. And I agree about the sandals…perfect choice!

    • Reply
      August 6, 2019 at 3:36 pm

      Thanks, Susan. You wouldn’t believe how often I’m been knotting my shirts this summer. It’s especially easy with silk ones or soft, not stiff, cotton. Have fun with this!

  • Reply
    July 30, 2019 at 11:03 am

    This is one of my favourite posts! I love the way your clothes speak to you, mine do too!.

    The outfit is lovely!

    • Reply
      August 6, 2019 at 3:35 pm

      Aren’t we lucky to be able to understand what clothes tell us? I’m happy for you!

  • Reply
    July 30, 2019 at 11:03 am

    Thank you. I struggle with Foley and wide legged pants. They camouflage the skinniest part of my body. But I love them and get tired of wearing jeans all the time.

    • Reply
      August 6, 2019 at 3:34 pm

      Well, that’s exactly what I was working with. Pants are easy for me to fit because I have legs on the skinny side (not my favorite shape, by the way; I always lust after women who have athletic thighs!). But I was so ready for a change from jeans. I really like the feel of the flowy shape against my body. They feel feminine and graceful.

  • Reply
    July 30, 2019 at 12:39 pm

    Yes Brenda I have a pair of navy flowy pants feeling pretty sad in my closet because I keep passing them by. I can never figure out what to wear on top but I am going to try a front tie and see if I can get them out of the closet and on to my body. Lol. Thanks for the idea!

    • Reply
      August 6, 2019 at 3:32 pm

      Oh, good luck. I just know they want to come out and play!

  • Reply
    July 30, 2019 at 2:14 pm

    I am SO SHORT at 4’11” that I do not think flowy pants are at all flattering on me. I have a difficult time with all pants. When I have them hemmed, the original cut is usually ruined! Any suggestions for this petite?

    • Reply
      August 6, 2019 at 3:31 pm

      Cynthia, do you shop for them in petites? It’s true that you often lose the intention of the shape when you have them hemmed. I actually had these Dressori pants hemmed because they were too long. I have two clients that are around your height. One is exactly your height and the other is 4’9”. I actually have put both of them in this style pant! It’s all about proportion and tailoring to get it right.

  • Reply
    Kathy H
    July 31, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    Brenda, you have given a whole new meaning to the phrase, “that outfit speaks to me.” I so enjoyed your dialogue with your shirt. She is a “Sweetie” for sure. I have made an effort this summer to find a pair of flowy pants that I like, and I am still looking. At least I already know to try cropping the top when I finally locate those elusive pants. Hope there will be some choices when I start looking at the Fall/Winter offerings.

    • Reply
      August 6, 2019 at 3:29 pm

      Kathy, I hope you find some too. I have to tell you, I have been trying this style on for at least two years. It’s amazing how many unflattering versions I found before this one. I think the weight of the fabric really helped to make the legs really move well. Some of the ones I’ve tried have been to thin like pajamas. Good luck, my friend!

  • Reply
    August 1, 2019 at 3:23 am

    Love the outfit and the thoughtful process behind he selection. I’m so glad that someone else saw the Japanese aesthetic in the ensemble. You look International my dear! I have three pairs of similar pants and adore how elegant I feel walking in them. Fluid would be the correct description. I was able to find them them in the petite section so that makes a difference for me.

    • Reply
      August 6, 2019 at 3:27 pm

      Wow, you paid me a great compliment. It’s wonderful to be told I look International! Yes, I learned a lot from that woman. It’s fun to get an education like that. I’d like to try another pair of pants like this. You’ve inspired me!

  • Reply
    Lesley Randles
    August 1, 2019 at 6:10 am

    I love the conversations that you have with your clothes! I wish mine were as conversational. Great outfit.

    • Reply
      August 6, 2019 at 3:22 pm

      Maybe you need to just open the closet, peer in, and see if anyone’s murmuring in there. You could be surprised! The main thing I hear is, “Wear me, wear me today!” And then I do my best to follow through.

  • Reply
    Trinnie Q
    August 10, 2019 at 2:08 am

    Belatedly…I wish to add, to the other comments, my joy at reading this post… Cute.cute..cute…your conversations, your description of events, and how adorable do you look ! As always, you made me smile ….Sending love to you ,from Oz

  • Reply
    Elaine @ Following Augustine
    August 12, 2019 at 7:41 pm

    Having lived in Japan in the past, I immediately saw what the Woman Outside of Peets saw and thought you’d intentionally chosen the sandals for their Japanese esthetic.

  • Reply
    Nicole C.
    September 1, 2019 at 9:21 pm

    I have just recently discovered you, Brenda, on Pinterest. What a delight! I look forward to reading your posts and looking at your creative styles. I think we would be great friends!!

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