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Dare to Flare: The Best Wide-Legged Pants for Your Body Type

Wide-legged pants can make everybody -- and we mean every body -- look long and lean. To pull off this trendy look, here's what kind of pants you should wear -- and the shoes to pair with them.

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Worthington trousers with Old Navy flats
Jack Miskell
Jack Miskell
Jack Miskell
Jack Miskell
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For Pear Shapes

Billowing legs give balance to hippy chicks. The trick is to stick to straight silhouettes (meaning the legs are about the same width at the top as at the bottom). You also want details near the waistline, such as buttons or slash pockets, to draw eyes up to your small midsection. Worthington trousers, $36, JCPenney stores


Punctuate the look with a pretty print in a bright color. Old Navy Floral Canvas ballet flats, $20, Old Navy stores

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For Apple Shapes

Great gams like yours should not be smothered in fabric. So your best bet is a modified wide leg, which has less volume, in a lightweight material like a linen blend. Keep bulk to a minimum around your trouble-spot tummy with a simple style and flat-front pockets. Express Grey Textured Plaid trousers, $88, Express stores


Get T-strap happy! Not everyone looks good in this style, but you do. Ann Taylor Loft T-Strap sandals, $69, anntaylorloft.com

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For Hourglass Shapes

Ring in the bell bottoms! Your figure was made for this cut, since you've got the curves on top to even out the flare on the bottom. Just make sure you choose a pair that cinches at the waist. A stand-out belt accentuates your narrow middle. Lilly Pulitzer Dwyer trousers, $198, lillypulitzer.com


A sexy platform with peep toes will elongate your legs. Nine West Ruff espadrilles, $79, 800-999-1877 for stores

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For Rectangle Shapes

Designers love your slim shape because it shows off the attention they give to the details. A high-waisted style with sailor buttons creates the illusion of hips, while side slit pockets enhance the look. Pleats and cuffs give you extra polish. Fresh Ink Winston trousers, $108, Retroville, Santa Barbara, California, 805-845-7910


Play up the long-legged look with pointy-toed pumps in a fun pattern. Farylrobin Suzu shoes, $250, amazon.com


Originally published in FITNESS magazine, March 2009.

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