They’re Baaaa-ack

Way back in ye olden days of 1993, I discovered something exciting and new at Limited Express. I wasn’t looking for a new fashion crush at the time, you understand; I was just doing a little shopping, and when I walked in the store, I spotted something across the room that instantly appealed to me. And that was it. It was over. It was fashion love at first sight.

The object of my affection?

Palazzo pants. You know, the pants that look a little something like this.


And listen. Once I grabbed hold of palazzo pants, I never wanted to let go. I had them in burgundy. In hunter green. In navy. In a navy and light blue stripe. IN A NONE-TOO-SUBTLE FLORAL PATTERN. Honestly, I was so crazy about them that I continued to wear them for a couple of years after they were no longer welcome in the fashion world, but I LOVED THEM. They were comfy and breezy and flowy and fun. I couldn’t imagine that I’d ever wear straight-leg pants again.

Eventually, however, I decided to turn with the fashion tide. I left my palazzo pants behind and embraced the trends of the late 90s. I bought cargo pants from the Gap. I made sure to have a versatile denim vest. I accumulated a wide array of chiffon scarves. I familiarized myself with capri pants.

It’s the fashion circle of life, people: you love, you grieve, you move on. And I really did move on from palazzo pants. Since I’d already been through a similar break-up experience with acid-washed jeans in the late 80s and Clothes Featuring Horses in the early 90s, I understood the process. It isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary.

Over the last few years I’ve only thought about palazzo pants occasionally. Every once in awhile I’d see a pair of pants with wider legs and think fondly of my palazzo pants from Express, but there was no bitterness there, no sense of unfinished business. There was closure. It even felt healthy to reminisce. Solid. Good.


Early last week I bought a pair of brown wide-legged pants at Steinmart. When I tried them on I thought that the legs seemed a little extra wide, and for a split-second I wondered if they were supposed to be an updated version of palazzo pants. I quickly dismissed the thought, though, because surely someone would’ve told me if palazzo pants were on the fashion horizon again. Surely I would’ve noticed them on websites. Surely I would’ve seen them in stores.

When I got home from Steinmart I thought I’d do a quick search on Google just to check the lay of the palazzo pants land. I didn’t expect to find anything, really – I just wanted to settle the issue once and for all in my mind. So I entered the search term. Clicked enter.

And y’all?

I haven’t seen that many palazzo pants in one place since I went to Mississippi State Homecoming in 1994. THEY ARE EVERYWHERE.

I slowly started clicking on links to make sure that I wasn’t looking at vintage clothing. And I wasn’t. There was link after link after link to all sorts of current palazzo pants offerings. It was overwhelming. It was thrilling. It was confusing. It was sensory overload.


Free People




Forever 21
(Auburn fans, I’d be ALL OVER these if I were you.)

I immediately called Melanie after I checked out the links, of course. The news was too big not to share it. Plus, I needed to process the recent fashion development. Think it through. Decide if I’m a strong enough person to walk down the palazzo pants path again.

In the end, I’ve decided that I’m absolutely delighted about the resurgence of palazzo pants. I may have to guard my heart a little bit better this time around, mainly so I don’t hold on too long once they fall out of favor again. But I’m definitely going to welcome them with open fashion arms. They’re too flattering and too comfortable to ignore. But I think it goes without saying that if we were talking about stirrup pants, it would be an entirely different story.

What about y’all? Are you a fan of palazzo pants? Happily indifferent? Not going anywhere near a pants leg that’s so flouncy and wide?

Tackling the tough issues,

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  1. I’m loving the palazzo pant; however, I fear that my love will go unrequited. You see the extra-wide, flowy nature of said pant clashes violently with the extra-wide nature of my tummy region. Sad, but true.

  2. Count me in! They hide cellulite! :)

  3. YOU CRACK ME UP!!! Thanks for letting me in on this BIG news!! Can’t wait to call my sister. We were huge fans of the palazzo pant.

  4. Oh my stinkin’ heck. I just wore my way old, out of date palazzo capri pants on a date with my husband this past weekend because I found them in the back of my closet and couldn’t resist. I just knew people would be looking at me and knowing that I’d had those pants for a sweet forever and judging my fashion choice. I didn’t care. And now you’re telling me that I WAS IN FASHION!! SCORE! I’m getting more ASAP.

  5. Dude. You just gave me permission to burn my unflattering-yet-fashion-forward skinny jeans. (Or at least put them in storage until 2021 when they cycle back in again).

  6. Okay, are you tall? I’m not tall, and always thought that petite and palazzo were two p’s that didn’t mingle well. But I’m borderline petite (5’4). What do you think?

  7. I have two pairs that I bought at Target in their jammy aisle… can I wear them in public now? I just bought them 2 months ago to be my “in the hospital” pants… thoughts?

  8. Well, I wasn’t so sure about these until I saw the navy/orange strips. Perfect for a season of Auburn football! Thanks for the fashion update!

  9. Uh, YES!!!!! So excited for the palazzo! At almost 30, I thought I might be the only late 20 something clinging to the trend….but I’m ALL OVER IT if it’s hip again. You may have just made my day.

  10. I am all about these! Truth be told, I have several pair which I have purchased at New York & Company within the last five years. They are called something else, but rest assured, are the same thing. Never being one to care too much about fashion trends, I have been wearing them….shhhh, don’t tell!!

    Warning: A proper hem is KEY with these pants. If they are too long and dragging on the floor they just look plain sloppy!

    • I am not really too “hip” about fashion these days (I’m old) but have seen them in Soft Surroundings and Neiman Marcus catalogs for the past few years. I wore a royal blue palazzo pant outfit to my niece’s wedding two summers ago. I hope they come in even bigger and stay in! Have always loved them.

  11. I do not understand these! Nor do I remember them in the ’90s!

  12. All I know is MC Hammer’s song “Can’t Touch This” is going through my head.

  13. Laura @ Texas in Africa says:

    No, no, no, no, no, no! Why must the mid-90’s come back to haunt us?!? H&M is selling scrunchies, for goodness sakes!

    I’m not a fan of the palazzo, mostly because they don’t work on the non-tall or the non-willing to wear heels to make up for it types like me. That said, these are much better than the 90’s versions, so if you can pull it off, why not?

  14. That’s how I feel about capes and ponchos! I think I can get on board with the palazzo pants. I love how they swish.

  15. OH MY GOSH, I think this might be the best news I’ve heard in MY ENTIRE LIFE.

    I love those pants so much, I have held onto TWO PAIRS of those I bought back in college, a black pair and a ginormous tropical flower print :) … really, I’m not one to hang onto clothes past their prime, but those two pairs of pants! NEVER have I felt so fabulous in ANY item of clothing before or since.

    Now if only I was still a size 6…

  16. I liked them on my 30 year old skinny self. Not sure how I will feel about them on my 50 year old, not as skinny self.

  17. This must be a trend that comes around every 18 years or so. I wore them in the mid seventies (’75,-’76). They were comfortable and I loved mine!

  18. I love them, comfy looking & stylish. But I’m 5’2, is that ok for shorties?

  19. Is the “if I wore it the first time I can’t wear it again” rule still in effect? I loved them then, but at 50, can I go there again?

  20. Don’t really have any feelings about the palazzo pant, buts since there was a tiny football reference in there I thought I’d ask you how you feel about the Aggies joining y’all next year. (I already know how The Big 12 feels about it)

  21. Honey, I’m in! Skinny jeans have been the bane of my existence. When you are extra ample in the hind quarters but have to wear an A-cup bra the skinny jean look just begs for a “wide load” load sign across the rear end. Bring on the classy palazzo pants! I need some balance for my hips! And, to top it off, a pair of heels has always been in my long term weight reduction plans. The taller I am the skinnier I look so palazzo pants and heels? All I can say is WHOOT!

  22. Oh, the palazzo pant. I remember constantly “borrowing” a pair that belonged to my mom when I was in middle/high school (early 90’s.) I loved them so! I adore that they’re making a comeback but with a much more tailored look than back then. I’ve always been a fan of the wide legged trouser pant, so I will definitely be purchasing a pair or two for fall. Can you talk Melanie into a Fashion Friday post that will tell us all how to wear them properly? :)

  23. This post has made my day! After a week of moping and whining over my baby girl going off to college, this brings some sunshine into my world! I’m a HUGE Palazzo pants fan — love them. Wore them and was sad to see them go.
    Thanks for the fashion update.

  24. Lisa Whelchel, aka Blair Warner from The Facts of Life tv show, was wearing a black pair at this past weekend’s Women of Faith conference in Omaha! I remember thinking, “Wow! Those are some really wide pants!”

  25. My mama had an outifit in the 60’s and those were the pants! The top was the same pleated style. The ensemble was cream colored with an empire waist trimmed in green velvet ribbon. I’ll have to dig up those pictures. Maybe do a Dear Photograph with it?

  26. Amanda J. says:

    Oh, how I would love to embrace this trend. But, I will have to tread lightly. If I still had my 1994 figure I would jump right in. Not that it was anything spectacular, but heaps better than now. (Let’s just say I look like I’ve birthed a litter of puppies and I haven’t birthed one children!). Gravity is not my friend.

  27. oh my- love those white ones and why yes…yes I am an Auburn fan and I think these would be soooo fun for game day!!! Thanks!

  28. I’ll probably have to pass. I’m too petite for that style I think.

  29. I am in lurrrvvveee! So cute. So flattering. They look comfy, cool, and dressy all at the same time- A Southern Woman’s Dream!

  30. I would love them, but…

    I’m only 5’1″ and really can’t pull off the style. Besides, it would mean cutting off as much fabric (to hem them) as what was left.

    Oh, well. I’m still holding out for the 80’s big hair to return!!!

  31. This is such exciting news!!!! I can not wait to find me some. Love those pants!

  32. First impression was hey they look like MC Hammer Pants! Proud child of the 80’s and early 90’s here! I like them….I don’t know- don’t love them. And stirups-the last time I rocked a pair was 1993 ish and I met my love wearing a pair of black ones. I would never wear a pair again except as a joke.

  33. OMG!!
    I think I have just crossed over and through the Pearly Gates!
    I LOVE those pants for so many reasons.
    1) No Pantylines without fake Thongs (aka Spanks).
    2) No thighs.
    3) They are just cute. The white ones on the top are amazing but the black ones! Please. What’s not to love about BLACK and BAGGY.
    WhooHoo :)

  34. I know, your next thought is “How OLD is that woman” :) Let’s just say the last time these were in style I was being called “G” for the first time LOL
    I really need to grow up.

  35. Oh my goodness. I had a navy pair that I LOVED. They had a little yellow stripe running vertically down the pant leg and I had the matching yellow linen-blend blazer…both from Casual Corner. I thought my 22-year-old-newly-“professional” self looked pretty. darn. snazzy in those babies. I wish I could figure out how to post a picture…

  36. LOVE THEM! I still long for a blue and white floral pair I had that I wore on my honeymoon in 1994. I’ll be on the look-out!

  37. I love them! I also love gauchos which are a capri-type version of these. I love how comfy they are as well as how flattering they are to an overweight person such as myself. LOL

  38. I would love to wear these, but I’m only 5’1 and I can’t wear heels. If I were tall and not overweight, I’d have them in all the basic colors.

  39. I bought 2 pair of pants yesterday and was thrilled about the wide leg. I had no idea what to call them but I am happy, happy, happy about the wider leg making a comeback. I loathe skinny jeans!!

  40. Burgundy, hunter green, and navy blue…. ah, those were simpler, more mix n’ match times…
    Hand over my heart in sweet memory of my one-piece daisy print palazzo one piece, I am *THRILLED* they’re back! It is now possible that I can wear something in which I imagine a post-baby-world without thighs….. ahhhh…. such a good day….

  41. Oh, wow, I had a pair of these (floral) in 1994. I wore them to work at my first job with (get ready) off-white pumps OF COURSE. And one day while I was running down the stairs behind my (male) boss, I tripped on them and fell on him. That was my last pair of palazzo pants.


  1. […] fall since I’m well-aware that combining my beloved open front cardigans with all the new palazzo pants possibilities may be too much Maude for the average citizen to bear. I mean, I’m all for looking to Maude […]