What Kind of Pants Style Suits Knock Knees and Curvy Calves


pants for knock kneesRecently I received two requests for posts on issues surrounding trouser fit and flattery asking about issues such as knock knees and thick calves.  Given my post on which pants suit your body shape I’m now going to go into these body variations.

knock knees trousersKnock knees (where the knees have an inward curve and then the calves splay outwards some) often look much better in a skirt that just covers the knee, or in a straight leg (not slim or skinny) trouser, a trouser cut jean, or a wide leg trouser which hides the curvature.  With a skinny or straight leg jean, knee high boots are a great way to help straighten the appearance of the legs.

jeans styles knock knees


Thick calves (where the calf is unbalanced to the size of the leg) don’t fit skinny jeans well, you generally need a looser fit – bootcut, flared or wide leg are ideal.


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  • Sometime it would be great if you could address ‘thick ankles’. They were the bane of my mother’s existence and sometimes I think they are of mine as well. They are why (along with horrible English weather) I almost always choose pants instead of skirts, boots instead of shoes. I can’t be the only person in the world with this trait!

  • I have knock knees too, so this is a very interesting post for me Imogen, thank you!
    I’m comfortable wearing nearly all the jeans styles you’ve shown — but for a long time I avoided straight leg, boyfriend and bootcut styles, because in these 3 styles the signs of a poor fit owing to knock knees is really obvious – at least to my eye.
    For those interested in matters of fit: with these 3 styles, the fall of the leg fabric, being moderately close-fitted, is distorted and puckered by the knee position being off-centre. Diagonal “pull-lines” are created below, and often above, the knee (front view) as well as hip-to-knee drag lines (rear view); whereas with normal knees the fabric hangs evenly; and any knee folds are balanced and tend to be horizontal.
    So for years I only wore flares and wide leg jeans.
    However…even though I now wear all styles of jean, I doubt that anyone has ever noticed that I have knock knees (let alone notice any unusual pull lines). IRL, observers are rarely in a position to see one’s knees properly – even if you are wearing skinnies. Unless you are up on a stage (i.e. you are higher than the viewer), angled exactly front on, and standing in an even balance (as in the real life body type pic above), the sight lines are very misleading. If you stand unevenly, or you are in motion, or your worshippers/loyal subjects/observers 🙂 are higher than knee level, it’s impossible for them to judge whether your knees are centred or not.
    That’s why I’ve embraced all jeans styles, even (especially) the skinnies! The big plus with skinnies is that the fit is too tight to allow any diagonal pull lines to be formed. Instead, my skinnies show standard horizontal leg wrinkles from top to bottom — exactly the same as skinnies on someone with normal knees – so, hello perfect fit! (You can just barely see those nice everyday horizontal wrinkles in the IRL pic above.)
    In addition to your tip about the knee boots with skinnies, I’ve found that I can minimise knock knees in skinnies and the “less flattering” styles by doing the following:
    > choosing denim with a fine vertical pinstripe (the vertical lines distract from any strange folds; plus it’s slimming) :).
    >choosing denim with a pattern– doesn’t have to be big, small and subtle works fine (again it distracts the eye from the folds).
    > for straight leg and boyfriend jeans, choosing a longer length — which, when the hem is unrolled, will bunch a bit at the ankle, owing to the extra fabric. Bunching (if you like the look) creates shallow folds up the calf to the knee — which will make any bulging knee folds less obvious.
    > rips! not really my style, but they do a great job of changing the usual hang and fold of the fabric — so disguising any knock knee folds.
    > avoiding “pre-worn ” or “aged” denim dye effects (they enhance leg curvature, unfortunately also emphasising the knee position).
    >for non-denim, choosing a fabric that has a non-flat, crumply raised texture (it will blur the outline of the knee).

  • I have knock-knees and have often wondered how I could best camouflage them in pants and skirts. Two of my best friends are quite self-conscious about their wide calves so I will be sending this article to them, too. Thanks as always for all the helpful posts!

  • Thanks Imogen. With this, I have cleared every doubt that skinny jeans is not for me. I have never felt confident wearing it because of my knock-knees but my friends and kids feel it’s okay, after all, everyone wears it (or may be because it’s trending). Boot cut has always been my thing and I really love the fit on me. I’m even wearing one as I write. Your posts have been most helpful – thanks a bunch.

  • Thank you for this article. I have knock-knees and have a horrible time finding boot cuts. Skinny pants come in unlimited varieties of comfortable stretch blends, and tons of colors, but you can’t find boot cuts with all this variety. Clothing buyers, please start demanding and buying the clothes that your customers really want and need. More boot cuts in comfortable blends and colors please!

  • I find it very stressful, shopping for jeans or something great to wear ever since I noticed my knocked knees. I am embarrassed to go Outdoor with small coats or anything that shows off my knees, although I find this article great it still doesn’t help with my lack of confidence in wearing skinny jeans or anything tight fitted. I wanted to know if you can assist me on how to find flattering outfits that can hide my issues with my knees.

    • Nobody else is noticing your knock knees the way you are Mrs Patrick! Using these tips and choosing these kind of pants will help to deflect from them, then remember to add lots of accessories in your portrait area to draw attention up to your face (as if everyone is looking at your face they are not noticing your knees!)

  • I thought I had dealt with the problem of my knocked knees till some days back when a friend reminded me that I have knocked knees while I was in knee level leggings.. It makes even more uncomfortable now than ever,that is how I found myself here..what next should I do?

    • Use this tips and don’t wear anything that stops at your knees as any horizontal hems draw attention as we look for horizontals naturally (it gives us balance).

  • I have knock knees (genu velgum) I can’t wear jeans, leggings and skirts… It makes me feel bad.. My bf wants me to wear these kinds of dresses… M so stressed.. 🙁 m sure he is gonna leave me soon

  • I’m losing weight (lower than I’ve been since 7th grade!) and have always had very heavy legs. In high school and college (and since!) I’ve been at least 30-50 lbs overweight. I thought the reason my ankles couldn’t touch was the fat around my thighs. I looked at a photo of myself last week, and holy cow! I have really prominent knock knees! A gap at the top of my legs, knees glued together, and ankles 6 inches apart. I looked back at a picture of myself as a preteen and see it was the same then. So disappointing that even with my improved weight and style evolution, I still look like my legs are put on wrong!!!!

  • I don’t know if I have knock knees or if my legs are made too close together. No matter how skinny I am, my legs rub together so bad I have never even been able to wear shorts for them riding up in the middle. It’s embarrassing to go out walking with friends or even going to the beach. I have just had to give up and deal with the stares and embarrassment as there is no other choice. To top it off I have very small ankles compared to my legs and pigeon toed. I have even been called deformed, even though my children, husband and friends say it is not as bad as all that. It is really hard to deal with. Now, I see my 9 yr old granddaughter walking just like me. My heart bleeds for her. Oh well, enough of this. I do my best to find clothes to cover my flaws but unfortunately I have found there is no one rule to follow. Just wear what you feel looks good and feel comfortable in, hold your head up and move on.

  • I have knocked kneels and I’m fade up. It’s so embarrassing, wearing long dress everyday. Can’t wear mini skirts, trousers, or even short gowns. Can someone help me please. I need a solution please my dears.

  • The most difficult part for me is the shopping. I’ll grab literally EVERY SINGLE PAIR of jeans in the store, and they’ll either be WAY too tight right around the knee area (which honestly doesn’t bother me as far as appearance, but the pull of the fabric is really uncomfortable), or way too short for my long legs if I find something looser. I wish convenience stores didn’t only carry skinny and average sizes. I’m tall and very skinny with thick hip bones with knock knees. It’s truly depressing finding pants. And then I’ll finally find a pair that fits me, and I end up growing out of them and have to obtain a new style! Would love to know what style of jean are included on the first image above, that’s the ideal look I want to go for with pants.

  • Thank you the article was perfect! I have Genu Velgum and I wear wide leg, boot cut/flared pants. I am confident in who I am. I can’t change it so I let my smile, heart and personality keep me going. People look but I ?? smile and keep living.

  • Thank you for this Imogen! I’ve got knock knees and finally have started getting the right jeans. I wonder if you could help though when it comes to buying boots and other shoes.

    I’ve found that most boots emphasize knock knees, especially ankle boots. Knee-high boots do a great job but I’m wondering what you’d think about ‘shooties’ or mid-calf boots (I can’t figure out how I feel about them). I’ve also found that most sneakers and flats emphasize knock knees as well.

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