How to Style a Paper Bag Pants Outfit 5 Ways

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Crop top with high waisted pants

How to Style a Paper Bag Pants Outfit 5 Ways

Even if you thought you would never want to wear a paper bag pants outfit, I’m here to showcase some variety. And I’m including a couple of thoughts of why you might like this style of pants or shorts more than you originally imagined.

Quote of the day: “A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” Rosalynn Carter

Not that I claim to be a great leader by any means, but I do feel like I’ve been pushing all of us out of our comfort zones some days. Even if you know and like your style, if you never try anything new, you might not realize there are even better options for you.
Everything in life changes, and I’m a firm believer that our clothing choices should also.

Why even consider the paper bag trend?
1-They are higher waisted (so more coverage)
2-Most tend to have more volume around the hips (therefore, not as hot in the summer)
3-Can you say fun? (trying a new trend can make us feel younger)
What I will say is not every paper bag pants outfit is the same. There are ways to make them work no matter what your preference. And just because you tried on one pair and didn’t like them, doesn’t mean they are all made identically. It’s smart to try different materials and various brands.

For this exercise I came up with 5 ways to style a paper bag pants outfit.
1-Tucked in
2-The front tuck
3-Crop top (no belt)
4-Layering over your paper bag pants outfit
5-Wear a different belt
So join me as I discuss the pros and cons to each option below. I also discuss the details of the two pairs of paper bag bottoms I have at the end of the post.

Green paper bag shorts

Tuck in your Top

This is the way most paper bag pants are shown when they are modeled. And while I realize that some women have gotten out of this habit, it can work no matter what your body shape. Heck, even Lesley (who you might consider more of a pear shape) tucks her top in at times.
I also did not match the print of my top to my shorts. Just like Lesley showcased last week.

Insider tip: One way to keep tops tucked in is to either wear a body suit or tuck it into your undies.

Details of the Outfit

This top I wear both off the shoulder and as a square neckline. It’s hard to see in these photos, but I opted to wear my clear bra straps like I showcased in my spaghetti strap post last week.

Insider tip: If your bra has removable straps, you can purchase a pair of clear straps that should work. Just measure the hooks to see if it would fit.

The sneakers are my Yes We Vibe pair. These are extremely lightweight and so good for running errands. Yet they have a fun print and look more fashionable.
I signed up to be an ambassador because I just adore the variety of prints they have for shoes AND other products. In fact, you saw my aqua shoes recently too. Use the code JODIE10 (-10%OFF) and JODIEBOGO (buy one get one free on all FOOTWEAR) but beware, the products usually take at least a month to get to you (well worth the wait in my opinion).

Colorful paper bag pants outfit

Half Tuck your Top

The half tuck is a modern way to still look intentional in the front, yet more covered in the back. This method works better with lightweight, flowy materials versus stiff ones.
Even though I matched the orange top to the orange in the print of the pants, the top is a brighter orange.

Details of the Outfit

This orange top I purchased from Poshmark. In fact, I first ordered it from one person’s closet and didn’t realize it was too big. So I gave that one to Charlotte, and found the exact same top in my size in someone else’s closet.
Mom and I will have to wear them together one of these days.

Insider tip: I recently wrote about what Poshmark is and tips to make it successful for you.

Since I was more matchy in this outfit, I chose a contrasting purse for a punch of color.

Crop top with high waisted pants

Crop Top

Crop tops and high waisted pants go together like peanut butter and jelly. Not that most of us in the older age groups have many shorter tops. But they could be languishing in your closet or perhaps you have a couple that have shrunk?
Notice you don’t see the belt in this example. You can always take off the belt for your paper bag pants outfit. For this pair of pants the belt is attached, so I just tucked it inside the waistband.

For me, I have this hand knitted top from years ago. I showcased it on my #Yarnday Saturday on Instagram.
As for the color combination, I paired red with these pants even though there isn’t red in the print. There is a darker orange in the print, and red and orange can be very similar.

Details of the Outfit

To make the top feel more modest I wore my Halftee under it. Any layering tee would work, but for the hotter weather, I prefer these half shirts. Use the code Jtouch10 or go through my link for 10% off.
There are a TON of styles, colors and sizes for the halftee, and you can see 5 different reasons you might need them in the summer in my video.

The shoes are Walking Cradles. I have these exact shoes in the higher version called the Kendra. And the lower version (which I wore on our cruise this last winter) called the Avery. The ivory color goes with everything in the summer and of course they are comfy.

Lace top and kimono

Layering over your Paper Bag Pants Outfit

Even though there is a belt for this style, you can still layer over your paper bag pants outfit. I wore a thin kimono and left it quite open in the front. From the back you can see that it almost looks like a dress.

Details of the Outfit

This kimono is one I picked up in my second Fashom box. I took it on our Caribbean cruise and I’ve worn it a ton this summer since it’s so lightweight. In fact, it’s almost like it was made for these sandals.

The ankle strap sandals are ones that I converted to a velcro strap. I’ve done this for almost all of my buckle straps now. At least the ones that don’t stretch enough to get on and off without buckling and unbuckling.

Insider tip: I made a video to explain how to convert your straps to velcro. If you want to try it, I suggest starting on a pair that you don’t care about or have purchased second hand. If you are anything like me, I tend to mess up the first time I try anything.

Adding print with your belt

Substitute a Different Belt

Just because the paper bag pants come with it’s own belt, doesn’t mean you have to wear that belt. You can easily just forgo the belt or add a different one if it’s not attached.
I even wore a belt bag with these shorts when we went apple picking last fall.

Details of the Outfit

This top was a purchase from Target this spring. I wanted the outfit to be bright and cheery, so I styled the same way as my tucked in version. Thanks to a reader who describes this as an accent color with the print.

Insider tip: This top is from the kids department. It’s always good to check other departments depending on your size and likes. Lesley talks about how men’s button down shirts can be wonderful.

It might have been even more perfect with black and white shoes to coordinate with the belt and earrings. The earrings are from Theresa Rose’s site and since they are leather, they are SO lightweight.

These Paper Bag Bottoms

Truthfully, I wasn’t sure I was going to participate in the paper bag trend when it showed up 2 years ago. It reminds me of the pleated pants I wore in the 80’s and 90’s.
Yet after moving to Arizona, I did want to embrace wearing shorts more, so I found this green pair on Modcloth. It wasn’t the paper bag style that drew me to them as much as the fact they almost look like a skirt. Most of these styles have more volume around the hips, which can be nice.

Insider tip: If you are looking at this style, think about if you want the belt attached or not. The advantage of having it attached, is it’s not as bulky. But then you can’t remove it. HOWEVER, if you love the style and fit, but don’t like the belt, you can always cut it off.

The pink print pair is from my recent Fashom box. You can see the video showcasing the pieces that were sent to me and how I would style them from my closet.
These were sent to me because I had requested a pair of lightweight pants similar to the ones I wore here. This pair is a blend of linen and cotton which is ideal. While they wrinkle somewhat, it’s not so obvious because of the print.

Insider tip: You can request items when you request a Fashom box. It’s risk free since you’re first styling fee is waived, and with my link you get $20 to spend on any of the items sent to you.

5 ways to wear paper bag pants

Photo credit: Rob Filogomo

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