The best pants for apple shaped women in 2024 – top picks and style tips

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Updated:

January 31, 2024

If you have an apple shaped body type then you’ve probably struggled (on multiple occasions) to find pants that fit you well.

As an apple shape, you have narrow hips, a fairly flat bottom and not much of a waist, and this means that pants often gape at the hip or sag around your butt.  

Skinny jeans and leggings are probably your go to because that's all you can find to fit you OK but, if you're anything like my clients, you're board of wearing the same style of pants and jeans, day in, day out, and you want to try something different!

If that sounds like you, you are in the right place 👉I’m a personal stylist and for the past 17 years I’ve helped hundreds of apple shaped women like you, to build a versatile, easy to use, fun to wear wardrobe, that they love wearing.   

I know exactly what pant styles will work best for your apple shape, and I know exactly where to get them from!

An apple shaped women wearing straight leg jeans that look good
  • Want to know which pants work best for your apple shape?  Go for a high rise, a straight cut, or a tailored pant.
  • Want to know if an apple shape can wear high waisted pants?  Yes! They flatter your mid-section, balance your broader torso, and create a waistline.
  • Want to know whether or not an apple shape can wear wide leg pants? Yes, do it! They balance and streamline your top heavy frame.

This comprehensive guide answers those questions, and MORE. 

You'll learn everything you ever wanted to know about choosing the right pants for your apple shaped body, so you can confidently shop for pants that look good on you, and start having fun with your style.

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product via these links I will earn a small commission. This does NOT make the price higher for you, and I NEVER link to products that I wouldn’t recommend to my clients, or purchase myself. 

Want a quick answer?

these are the top 3 pants styles for an apple shape in 2023

loulou trousers

sezane

The wide leg on these pants will streamline your frame and balance your proportions, while the pleating below the waist will add a little volume that will create some shape and give you  little more definition at your waist.

cotton cargo pant

me + em

You are one of the few shapes that look really GOOD in cargo pants!

The pockets on these pants will add little volume and weight to create a curvier silhouette and a more balanced frame, and the high rise will create some shape at the waist.

The Perfect Pant, Hi-rise flare

spanx

Flares are a great choice for apple shapes - they hug the waist and thighs, and flare out below the knee to balance your frame and create curves.

This pair from Spanx have a flat front for minimal tummy bulk, and hidden control panels for shaping and support. 

Looking for the best jeans for apple shapes instead?  Head over HERE!

what is an apple body shape?

An image of three different women, who all have an apple body shape

The term ‘apple shape’ simply refers to the common apple shape characteristics whereby the shoulders, bust and waist are a similar measurement. 

This can be the case whether you are a size 2 or a size 20.  

Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to be large to have an apple shape!

these are the main charecteristics of an apple shape

Before I share my tips for choosing and buying pants for an apple shape, its super important to make sure that you do, in fact, have an apple shape.

Because if you think you do, but in reality you do not, all the tips and info in this article will make getting dressed even more confusing.

Before you read any further, scan through the list below, and make sure your shape aligns the characteristics listed before you go any further:

  • When you put weight on, it typically sits around your middle, upper and bosom first, before it spreads anywhere else
  • You typically wear a larger clothing size on your tp half than you wear on your bottom half
  • Your bust is an average to large size
  • You have good strong shoulders that are broader than your hips
  • Your waist is fairly undefined
  • And you have great legs

If you recognize those characteristics then chances are you have an apple body shape.

If you recognize some, but not all of those characteristics and frustrations, it might be that you have a column body shape, or that your body shape is a combination of two shapes (this is totally normal!).

apple body shapes sometimes overlap with other body shapes

Our body shapes are unique so don't worry if your shape doesn't slot neatly into one of the 4 elementary body types.

The 4 body shape 'boxes' are broad, so they make a great starting point for everyone, but most women will find that they identify with more than one shape. 

For example, you think you might have an apple shape because your shoulders are broader than your hips, you have an undefined waist, and great legs.  BUT, you have a small bust and this doesn't align with the textbook apple shape, so you're not sure.  Sound like you?  You probably have an apple shape with column shape tendencies.

Here's another example: You have an undefined waist, a large bust, and good legs; but your hips and shoulders are a similar width (textbook apple shapes will have broader shoulders).  In this instance, you probably have either an apple shape with hourglass tendencies. 

If you’re not sure what your body shape is, I recommend taking my FREE body shape quiz here, it will tell you what your primary shape is, and then (if you choose to), you’ll receive 3 days worth of tips to help you dress your shape.

Alternatively, if you're fed up of online quizzes and body shape guides, I can just tell you exactly what your shape is, via my body shape analysis for a mere $27.

styling tips for wearing pants as an apple shape

the most common frustrations you have choosing pants for your apple body shape 

There are 3 main difficulties that apple shaped women come across when choosing pants for their shape:

  • If pants fit your waist, they are too baggy around your bottom, hips and thighs
  • If pants fit your bottom, hips and thighs, they are too tight around the waist
  • Pants often dig in around your waist and create a muffin top (this can happen, regardless of your size)

If that sound's all too familiar, here are some styling tips and tricks to help you look and feel good in your pants!

1

enhance your waist

Apple body shapes don’t have a well defined waistline, BUT it is fairly easy to create a waist by choosing the right clothing styles.

When it comes to pants, this means:

  • Wearing pants that have a high rise - to create definition and shape
  • Choosing pants that have pleating below the waist band- to add volume and shaping that makes a waist look smaller
  • And wearing pants that have a belt or tie - this will cinch you in and create more shape.

2

Broaden your hips to balance your shoulders

Classic apple shaped women have broad shoulders and narrow hips, and this often makes an apple shape look and feel unbalanced or top heavy.  

By choosing the right style of pants, an apple shape can make her frame look more balanced and a little curvier.  

The best way to do this is:

  • Wear pants that have pleating below the waist band- this will add volume and shaping to your  hips to make them look broader, which will help to balance your top half
  • Choose straight cut pants - these will fit your waist and skim down over your hips and thighs to add a little volume to and shape that will balance your proportions

3

showcase your great legs

As an apple shape, one of your best assets are your legs, so show them off!

Not only does this draw attention to something you like about your shape, but it will draw the eye away from the areas of your shape that you’re less happy with.

what to look for when choosing the best pants for an apple body shape

1

the waistband matters when you have an apple shape

The most flattering and comfortable waist band is a simple, fuss free waistband with a flat front.

Flat front waistbands will either zipper at the side, or will have a full or half elasticated waistband that you just pull on.  

These work so well because they avoid adding bulk around your middle (unlike pants with a button fly or a large hook front).

A wide waistband is another good option when choosing the best pants for an apple shape - wide waistbands will offer you some extra support and are less likely to dig in around your mid section.

And lastly, look for waistbands that have a little support.  Spanx, NJDY, Democracy and Wit & Wisdom are 3 of my go to brands when I'm looking for pants that have a little support around the middle.

2

choose the right size 

I know it sounds obvious, but I've seen enough wardrobes to know that you might not be buying the right size.

When shopping for pants as an apple shaped woman, it's important to get the size right.  

Too small and they will dig in at the waist.  Too large and they will likely slip down.  

If you struggle with sizing, look for pants that have a little support in the waist that holds rather than digs in, or choose pants that have an elasticated waist to offer you a little comfort.

3

Pay attention to the fabric when you're choosing pants for an apple shape

If comfort is your priority, but your pants always dig in, choose a fabric that contains a little stretch, like spandex or elastane.  

This will make your pants more comfortable and flexible so they move with you (and you don't keep pulling them up every few minutes).   It can also provide a little support.  

But be warned, the more elastane there is in the mix, the more likely the pants are to loose their shape, so avoid going over about 5% elastane.

I've recently been putting my apple shaped clients into stiffer fabrics that have little to no stretch as these not only create a fantastic shape that balances your frame, they also offer fantastic support and structure...but I know that many women prefer pants that have some give.

And lastly, consider choosing thicker fabrics such as corduroy or wool, as these will create a little weight and volume that helps to balance your frame.  

Fabrics like these can also act as a form of control to hold you in around the tummy.

4

the color, print and wash matters when you're choosing pants for an apple shape

Firstly, you might want to choose lighter colored pants over darker.  

I know this is contrary to most advice you'll read online, but here's why I recommend light colors over dark:

  • Light colors come to the forefront
  • And dark colors recede (which is why black can be slimming)

This means that if you have narrow hips and you wear dark pants, your bottom half could look narrower and slimmer.  And this may make your torso look larger, and your frame less balanced.  

If, on the other hand, you choose to wear a lighter color pant, you could add a little weight to your bottom half that will help to balance your top half.

Another detail you might want to try is whiskering or fading across the hips and thigh area (this is more common on jeans).

Details like this will add a little interest and width to your narrow hips, which will help to balance your shoulders. 

And lastly, choosing pants in a print can be a great way to highlight an area and add a little volume and shape.  

Prints also keep the eye moving rather than letting it settle in one place, so printed pants can be a great way to minimize the tummy area if they are in high rise.

5

choose pants that have pockets and detailing

Pockets on the back of a pair of pants will add a little volume and shaping to boost a butt.

My favorite back pockets are those that have flaps, or pockets that sit low down and are spaced wide apart - both pocket styles will add volume and shaping to your derriere.

But watch where the pockets are placed, as pockets that sit high up on your butt can make your bottom look long and flat, which can be less flattering on an apple shape.

Pockets that sit on the hip and thigh area, as is typical with cargo style pants, will do a fantastic job of adding volume and shaping to your narrow hips, to help balance your torso.

And buttons or zippers that sit on the hip area (not on the tummy) can add a little volume to widen narrow hips.

6

go for a high-rise pant if you have an apple shape

A high rise pant is great on an apple body shape.  

Not only is it more likely to stay put, but a high rise can create a waist and, if you’re carrying a little weight around your middle (which tends to be where apple shapes put weight on), the high waist will help eliminate any chance of muffin top.  

A high rise pant is also far more comfortable than a mid rise that digs in across the tummy, or a low rise that slides down. 

7

Choose the right pant style for your apple shape

Often, apple shaped women assume that the size is the problem when it comes to finding pants and jeans that fit well, but if the style isn't right for your shape, going up or down a size won't solve the issue.  

If you choose the right style and cut of pants for your apple shape, then you'll find it much easier to get the correct size.

Here are 3 great pant styles for apple shaped women:

  1.  Straight cut styles (that mirror your frame)
  2. Pants that have pleating below the waistband to add a little volume and shape around you hips and thighs, such as a paper-bag waist
  3. Pants that have a tapered leg to make your hips appear broader than they are

Want to know exactly how to dress your apple shape?

My easy to use, comprehensive guide will show you EXACTLY which clothes work best for your body-shape, so you can (finally!) enjoy getting dressed!

An image of a digital guide on how to dress an apple body shape

these are the best pant styles for apple shaped women 

There are a few key elements that you will want to look for when you're choosing pant style to  fit and flatter an apple body shape:

  • Look for pants that will broaden your narrow hips.  This will help to balance your broad shoulders, which will create a more balanced frame
  • Look for styles that will add volume and shaping to your bottom half to create a curvier silhouette
  • Look for pants that create shape at your waist.  this can give an apple shape a more defined waistlinethat
  • Look for pants that will show off your great legs.  This will draw the eye to an area you’re happy with, and away from the areas you try to hide.

With that in mind, here are some great pant styles to try if you're an apple shape:

Straight leg pants and jeans are one of the best styles for apple shapes

High rise straight leg jeans are a great shape.

The waistband is less curvy than other styles so will fit your waist well, and the straight leg will add a little volume and shaping at your hips and thighs to create a curvier bottom half that balances your top half.

The straight leg will also show off your great legs!

flares look great on an apple body shape

Flares are a great trouser style for apple shapes.

They're fitted through the hips and thighs, and flare out below the knee to add volume that will not only balance your shoulders, but will also create a curvier silhouette.

If you want to look curvier, try wearing flares.   Spanx, Wit and Wisdom, and Madewell have some fantastic supportive and comfortable options.  

bootcut pants and jeans work well for apple shapes

If flares aren't your thing, try a bootcut style instead.  

The volume below the knees is less than a pair of flares, but still enough to balance your torso and create a curvier silhouette.  

Or try a slit hem for a more modern take on the bootcut.

Wide Leg pants are a good option for apple shapes

Wide leg trousers are fabulous on you! Go for a high rise as it will highlight your waist and lengthen your legs. Go for full length or cropped, either will be great!

Paperbag waist pants look great on apple shapes

These are such a great way to create a curvier bottom half and more defined waistline.

The waist tie will add definition to your waist, and the pleating below the waist will add a little volume to your hips to create shape and further define your waist.

Tuck tops in with these and tie the bow to the side to avoid adding bulk.

High rise pants and jeans are great for apple shaped women

A high rise pant sits on or above your waistline which will be much more comfortable than a mid-low rise pant that digs in and creates a muffin top.

A high rise will also hug and your waist to create more definition and shape.

Skinny and slim jeans work well for apple shapes

Skinny jeans and trousers are a great way to show off your great legs! Opt for a high rise as this will highlight your waist and bum, and will also elongate your legs.

Combat pants are a flattering option for apple shaped women

Combat pants have pockets that sit on the thigh area, this adds a little volume and weight to create curves below your waist, and to balance your broad shoulders and torso.

Tapered leg pants look great on apple shapes

Pants that have a tapered ankle will make the hip and thigh area look a little larger than it is, which is a fantastic way to create a curvier, more balanced frame.

If you want to know which jeans work best for an apple shape, head on over here to read my comprehensive article sharing everything you need to know about choosing jeans for an apple body shape in 2023

these are the least flattering pants for an apple body shape

Some pant styles just won't fit an apple shape well.  

t won't matter what size you go for, or what fabric the pants are in, some pants are cut in a style that doesn't work well for an apple body shape:

low-mid rise pants won't fit an apple shape well.

Low rise jeans and pants make your legs look shorter, which will make your torso look longer...this can make your top half look larger and broader than it is.

You'll also find that a low rise pant will also make your waistline look less defined as it will draw a line around, and highlight a narrower part of your frame.

Oh, and they'll probably slip down every few minutes.

Curvy cut pants and jeans do not work for apple body shapes.

Curvy cut pants and jeans are not cut for an apple shape, they are cut for a curvy hourglass or pear shape.

One of the biggest mistakes that I've seen apple shape women make (especially if you’re a plus size apple shape) is to think that curvy cut jeans will fit them well.

I get it, the word 'curvy' is often used to describe larger women, but not all plus size women have curves! 

Curvy cut pants and jeans are created for women who have a small waist in comparison with their hips - this is NOT an apple shape.

So, if you put on a pair of curvy fit pants, they will be too tight around your waist, and far too large across the hips and thighs, so avoid a curvy cut and opt for straight fit cuts instead.

Super skinny pants can be unflattering on an apple shape

A super skinny jean will make your slim legs look slimmer, which may make your shoulders and torso look wider than it is...which will make you look top heavy.

Instead, opt for a standard skinny or a slim leg.  These will show off your great legs without making your hips look narrower.

the 20 best pants for apple body shapes (in 2023)

These are my top ten picks for pants for apple body shapes in 2023.  They are the pants that I go back to again and again when I'm pulling together capsule collections for my apple shaped clients. So, you can be confident that they work!

If you want some guidance for shopping for clothes online, I’ve written a super comprehensive article here that shares all the tips I’ve learned over the years shopping for clients online.

the 20 best trousers for apple body shapes UK (in 2023)

A quick search online for the best trousers for apple shapes, brings up endless articles aimed at the US.  

So if you're looking for flattering trousers for an apple shape in the UK, I've got you covered.  

I source capsule collections for clients in the USA and the UK, so I know my way around stores in both countries.

There are some fabulous options for trousers if you're in the UK, but there are some options that I find myself going back to again and again.  

Here are my top 20 trousers for apple body shapes in the UK:

the best pants for apple body shape plus size (in 2023)

These are my top picks for pants for apple shapes who are plus size.

some more questions you might have about choosing pants for an apple body shape

what pants look best on apple shape?

If you have an apple body shape, you’ll want to look for pants that:

  • Enhance your waist
  • Balance your proportions (so, make your hips appear wider so they are more balanced with your shoulders)
  • Showcase your great legs

The top 3 pant styles that look good on an apple body shape are:

  1. High rise pants are a great option for apple body shapes. They do a great job of creating a waist, and they also give you a little support around the middle. They’re a much better option than a mid-low rise pant that has a tendency to dig in and create a muffin top.
  2. Another great option is to choose pants that have a little volume below the waist, around the hips and thighs - this will balance your top heavy frame, and create a little more definition around your waist. Carrot and paper-bag style pants are brilliant examples of this.
  3. And wide leg pants and wide leg jeans make a flattering choice for apple body shapes. They balance your torso and streamline your shape. If you opt for a pair of wide leg pants that have a flat front they’ll be sliming too.

what clothes look best on an apple shape?

The clothes that look best on a apple body shape are:

  • Tops and dresses that narrow your torso and shoulders, to balance your narrower hips - v-necklines do a great job of this as they draw the eye in and down
  • Pants, jeans and skirts that broaden your hips to balance your shoulders, and create a little definition at your waist - high rise pants, tapered pants, and trousers that have a paper-bag waist are some of the best pant styles for this.

To see exactly which clothes look best on an apple shape, check out my Simple Guide To Dressing An Apple Shape.

For only $65 you'll have instant access to my comprehensive, digital guide that shows you which clothes are the most and least flattering for your apple shape, so you can confidently put outfits together that you enjoy wearing.

An image of a digital guide on how to dress an apple body shape

should an apple shape wear a high waisted pant?

I don’t know about should wear, but an apple shape definitely can wear a high waisted pant!

High waist pants look great on apple shapes because the rise creates the illusion of well defined waistline, whilst also creating a smoother silhouette.

For the best high waist pant, look for styles that have a little support or control in the waistband - this will create some shape and is less likely to dig in so should be comfortable, too.

what jeans to wear if you have a big stomach?

If you find that jeans dig in around the middle, or they highlight your tummy, here are some solutions:

  1. Choose jeans that have some support and control at the waist band.  Spanx, Wit and Wisdom, NYDJ and Democracy have some fantastic options.
  2. Look for jeans that have a flat front, like this.
  3. Try a wide leg jeans style. Wide leg jeans will fit your waist, and skim your middle to create a streamlined silhouette.

If you want some expert tips on how to dress to hide a tummy, check out this article I wrote that shares my tried and tested tips for disguising a tummy and feeling confident in your clothes.

Are palazzo pants good for apple shape?

Apple-shaped women look great in palazzo pants.

A palazzo pant is a super wide pant that hugs the waist and skims down in a full flowing fabric, to the ground.  Rather like a full skirt.  

This creates some definition at the waist, and some volume below the waist to balance an apple shapes broad torso and shoulders.

what jeans look best on apple shape women?

There are plenty of jeans that look great on apple shaped women...please don't feel restricted to wearing only skinny jeans!

The best jeans for apple shape women are straight leg jeans with a high rise. These will cinch you in a t the waist to create shape, and add a little volume below the waist to balance your broad shoulders.

But there are many more options!  Head on over to this comprehensive blog post I wrote for you that shares everything you ever need to know about choosing the best jeans for apple shaped women.

how do you wear wide-leg pants with an apple body shape?

The key to wearing wide-leg pants with an apple body shape is to choose a high rise style that hugs your waist.  This will give your waist some definition.

You can opt for a full-length style, or cropped - whatever you prefer. But the key to wearing wide leg pants as an apple shape, is to tuck your top into the waistband.

This will create some definition at your waist, and avoid your shape looking swamped and shapeless.

conclusion

If you're feeling stuck in a rut wearing skinny jeans and leggings, because no other pants seem to fit you, I hear you and I want you to know that it doesn't have to be this way!

If you follow my tips and suggestions in this article, you'll start to see that there is more to life than skinnies.

Look for pants that have a straight leg, a high rise and some detailing below the waist to add a little volume, and start adding some freshness to your collection.

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simple guide to dressing and apple shape


This is the ULTIMATE guide to the pear body shape. I share abslutely everything I know about the pear shaped body, and how to dress to flatter a pear shape.

Want to know exactly which clothes work for your apple body shape?

Grab my comprehensive, digital Guide To Dressing Your Shape for only $65!

Hi, I'm Niki

author and personal stylist

Over the past 18 years I’ve freed thousands of women from the frustration of disappointing outfits, by showing them how to dress to make the most of their shape, and helping them build a closet that's easy to use and fun to wear.  My blog shares the tried and true tips and knowledge I've developed, to help you stop wasting money on disappointing clothes, and build a closet you enjoy wearing.


You can find out more about Niki here

And you can get in touch with Niki here