7 Tips to Remember When Deciding What Pants to Wear with a Christmas Sweater

It’s December, which means that it’s time to bring out those Christmas sweaters you got for free with your holiday order at Old Navy in March. If you’ve been wanting to wear your holiday-themed clothes all year round, this is the perfect time of year to do so. The only thing that could make wearing one of these afghan-inspired wonders better is pairing them with the right pants.

Here are some tips to remember when pairing your Christmas sweater with pants:

  • Choose pants that are either patterned or have a bold color, such as red or green. This helps draw people’s eyes to your face rather than paying attention to how mismatched everything looks.
  • Wear darker colors for the bottom half of your outfit and lighter colors for the top if possible. This will help make sure people don’t notice how baggy your sweater is around the waistline or still think you’re wearing sweatpants under there even though everyone knows it isn’t 1995 anymore (and you probably aren’t in high school).
  • If you’re not comfortable showing off a lot of leg, choose pants in a texture like corduroy, suede, velvet, or tweed. These fabrics all give an interesting look while also playing into winter feelings and keeping things warm on their own or with a pair of socks!
  • As always with what pants to wear on any given day, remember that black jeans go with everything—even Christmas sweaters! If possible, team up these dark denim bottoms with a light gray top (but please don’t put bleach on it afterwards—that’s just asking for trouble).

When in doubt, stick with neutral colors.

Depending on the vibe of your holiday party, you’ll want to think about what colors and patterns you want to use in your outfit. Christmas sweaters are great for enough reasons that it doesn’t need a lot of decorating-up, but if you do want to add a little flair, here are some tips:

This is pretty much where common sense comes in. When in doubt, stick with neutral colors. You’re safe with black, brown, tan, white, beige and gray. They tend to go with most color schemes and patterns (although they don’t always complement every pattern). They’re easy to match—for example, navy blue pants will go fine with almost any color top as long as it’s not red or green (those two colors have their own rules when mixing them with other colors). Even though these colors are easy to match, it’s still important that they fit into your outfit without looking like you just threw something together at the last minute. It’s best if they get used often so you can mix things up by playing around with accessories or creating different combinations of tops and bottoms from your neutral pieces.

And here’s another look at my own Christmas sweater ensemble this year:

Don’t show off the silhouette of your legs.

How to wear your pants with a sweater

Whether you are preparing for the holidays at home with family or getting ready for an office party, it is important to remember that, no matter what you’re wearing, you should still be comfortable. However, before hitting the holiday season hard and trying out all your new outfits and looks, consider how each piece can best go together. While there are plenty of tips out there about how to style your jeans and sweater or favorite winter coat, let’s focus on what kind of pants work best with the wardrobe staple that is the holiday sweater.

Brogues have been a staple in menswear since their introduction in 1882. Yet, when it comes to choosing pants with your Christmas sweater this year, try keeping things casual by going with a baggy cut. This will allow other pieces of your outfit—including accessories—to take center stage instead of being overpowered by either the cut or color of your trousers. Baggy pants also make moving around easier while also giving you more room to layer underneath without feeling constricted by tight-fitting trousers. With baggy jeans available from brands like Lucky Brand, GapFit and Wrangler Jeans Company (to name just a few), it’s easier than ever to find stylish bottoms that complement your holiday gear perfectly!

Go for a looser fit.

The most important aspect to remember when wearing a Christmas sweater is that you should feel comfortable. Sweaters are meant to be cozy, so keep that in mind as you put your outfit together—you don’t want to be uncomfortable under the weight of layers and layers of holiday-themed knitted material.

The tendency for sloppy sweater looks is for people to think they can get away with capris or short pants with their big bulky sweaters. Don’t do this! Capris look tacky and will ruin any hopes of pulling off the cozy, casual vibe that you’re going for. Instead, opt for a pair of full-length pants in a slightly relaxed fit, preferably in black or gray. This way, your pants won’t compete with your sweater but they’ll still be slim enough that they aren’t swimming on you—just make sure they aren’t too tight!

A final note: stay away from skinny jeans unless you want an unflattering look. Slim should stay slim and jeans should stay jeans; combining them just creates something awkward and boxy!

Don’t be afraid of denim.

“I love Christmas sweaters!” you say. “I have tons of them, and I wear them all the time, even though it’s not even December.” But then a thought crosses your mind: “Wait a minute—Christmas sweaters are pretty dressy. What if I don’t want to wear something dressy?”

Sometimes the simplest questions can be the hardest ones to answer, especially when it comes to fashion. After all, there were no shortage of options for you when picking out your favorite sweater from the shelves of Target or Old Navy; what makes these decisions so hard is that there are SO MANY PATTERNS and COLORS AND FONTS TO CHOOSE FROM! To make matters worse, many people aren’t sure how certain pieces work together (Exhibit A: every single person who ever wore a “festive” Christmas sweater cap to an office job).

The hope with this guide is that it will become your first resource when facing the sartorial quandaries in life. No longer will you have to wonder which color goes with green or if denim and corduroy mix together; instead, you can confidently walk through any shopping mall or department store and make informed choices about what pants go with a Christmas sweater based off years of professional experience.

Wear leggings if you’re going to wear boots.

You’re out and about, decked out in a chic Christmas sweater. You look great! But what are you wearing on your lower half? If you’re planning to wear boots, you’ll want to wear leggings that match what you’re wearing on top (no one will know if you’re wearing black pants under one of those sweaters). It can be tempting to skip the leggings since it’s already cold outside, but then your legs might freeze when you step outside and the wind hits them. This is why we have leggings! They cover your thighs from the wind while also keeping your legs warm.

If you do wear heels with your adorable outfit (which is fine!), don’t forget to wear thick enough leggings so that no one can tell that there aren’t any pants under there.

Wearing leggings with boots is all about style and comfort—so, whatever kind of legging or boot combo you choose, just make sure it makes sense for the weather and how much time you’ll be spending outside.

Find the right length & rise.

When it comes to wearing a Christmas sweater, the right pants can be just as important as finding one that fits. So why is no one talking about this? We think it’s because pants are pants, and you really don’t stop to think about them when you’re getting dressed every day—until you try to wear a Christmas sweater with normal pants.

Why does it matter? Because…

  • The length of your pants can change how much skin is covered up or revealed by the bottom of your sweater.
  • The rise of your pants (the distance between the crotch and the waistband) can completely alter the way your sweater looks on you, especially if jumpsuits aren’t really your thing.

So how do you know what length or rise to go for? The answer lies in understanding proportionality—what makes things look big/small/good/bad on us. Whether you’re pairing something short with longer sleeves or tall with short sleeves (or both!), only choose pieces that complement each other well in terms of proportionality:

  • if your legs are long relative to your torso then either get shorts that end above the widest point of your calf muscle or choose sweaters with long sleeves so they cover up all the leg showing from below; similarly if your torso is long relative to your legs then go for high-rise jeans paired with low-rise sweaters for maximum thigh coverage;
  • if one leg (or part of a leg) is bigger than another, have proportions similar to those listed in #1: longer sleeves on shorter legs and vice versa; also make sure that whatever you wear isn’t too bulky so that it struggles against itself when moving around; finally, keep in mind any physical handicaps—maybe someone’s foot is slightly larger than another person’s—as that may be more difficult to find clothing appropriate for;

Be creative with colors and patterns.

If you’ve already got a Christmas sweater, why not work it into an outfit that’s both cozy and different? Who knows how many people have the same Christmas sweater as you? That’s one less person to look at you funny if you’re wearing it with jeans and a basic top.

Wear pants that complement your Christmas sweater (but don’t compete with it).

The holiday season is a busy time for many people, with parties to attend and gatherings to hold. Feeling overwhelmed just thinking about the social calendar? Skip the stress and plan ahead. When it comes to party planning, one of your best tools is the guest list; knowing who you’ll be surrounded by can help you choose an outfit that will ensure that everyone has a good time.

Bridging the gap between “too much” and “not enough” is simple when properly dressing yourself for an event. As long as your pants—a basic staple in any wardrobe—are not too tight or too baggy, your company will be able to focus on what really matters: spreading cheer through gift-giving, tasty food delicacies, sharing of witty anecdotes and other festive activities.

Being cognizant of the weather outside is also crucial to ensuring that everyone has a good time at any holiday party. If the temperatures are cold enough for sweaters but not boots, opt for slacks or jeans with thick fabrics (such as corduroy) to keep you warm without weighing you down like heavy wool trousers would do. Similarly, if heat waves have brought heavy humidity into play this December, make sure to wear light trousers made from breathable fabric that won’t stain easily when exposed wetness (cotton or linen are great options).


If you’ve ever tried to wear a Christmas sweater with pants, you know the struggle. There are all sorts of problems that crop up when putting two pieces of clothing together: color match, fit, and practicality among them. The good news is that there’s a fairly simple solution to each problem.

Color Match

The first lesson is about matching colors. One rule of thumb is that lighter colors go better with light sweaters, and darker colors go better with dark sweaters. If you want to wear a Christmas sweater with your favorite pair of leggings or jeans, make sure the overall look isn’t too overwhelming for your complexion (e.g., if you’re pale). On the other hand, if you already have a great pair of pants in mind but just can’t figure out which sweater to grab from the closet, try sticking to dark tones—think plaids and muted purples—and don’t be afraid to let some white space peek through here and there. Or swap out one of your regular denim shirts for one made from a soft cotton knit so it drapes nicely over your shoulders without being too snug or constricting around the chest (the sleeves can be rolled up as needed). You’ll also want to avoid wearing anything too bulky or boxy; narrow cardigans or fitted sweaters will do the trick nicely (they can even double as a second layer on chilly days).

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