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What to wear with Marlene pants? Trouser cut in check

Elegant, a real figure-flatterer – and on top of that a real piece of fashion history made in Germany: The Marlene is still a timeless classic among pants. And it tells the story of how its namesake, German film icon Marlene Dietrich, made the former men’s trousers wearable for women in the 1930s.

What distinguishes Marlene pants?

The typical cut of the Marlene trousers is characterized by the high waistband, the loosely cut legs with a large foot width and a pleat. Unlike other wide leg pants, this model is less casual, but more elegant in cut.

Where does the Marlene trousers come from?

The history of Marlene dates back to the 1930s and the German actress Marlene Dietrich, whose name the trousers still bear today. A superstar of Hollywood cinema in the "Golden Twenties", Dietrich wore pants cut like suit pants. In the 1930s, she caused a sensation with them: The fact that a woman adopted this style, which had previously been reserved for men, and combined the austere charm of suit trousers with feminine elegance was as new as it was provocative.

Marlene Dietrich 1933
Trendsetter of the 30s: Marlene Dietrich is the prominent eponym of the Marlene trousers.Photo: Getty Images

In its classic form, the Marlene therefore has a pleat, which is reminiscent of typical suit pants and thus the origin of the pants. In the meantime, however, the Marlene is also available in less severe cuts without a pleat.

What distinguishes the Marlene from other wide cuts?

The palazzo pants, which are especially popular in the summer, are to a certain extent the casual representative of the Marlene. Whereas the latter are made of stiffer fabrics, the materials of the palazzo pants are airy, soft and flowing.

The Marlene differs from the equally wide-cut culotte, however, in its length. While the culotte ends halfway down the calf or at the latest just above the ankle, the hem of the Marlene reaches almost to the floor. Flat shoes are thus almost completely hidden. Even high shoes are only noticeable when the heel or toe of the shoe peeks out from under the hem.

Who does Marlene trousers suit?

Thanks to its wide shape, the Marlene not only suits slim women, but also all those who want to conceal thighs or distract the eye from a flat or even larger bottom. Meanwhile, women with short legs simply combine the Marlene with pumps: Since the heels are not visible at first glance under the long hem, the ensemble visually lengthens the legs.

But the high waistband at the same time brings the waist into focus. Thus, these pants provide an opportunity to emphasize the narrow body center. However, if the waist is not particularly pronounced or if the hips are simply very narrow in comparison to the shoulders, this becomes even more obvious. The upper body looks rather compressed compared to the visually elongated legs.

In addition, under the high waistband, a small belly is also more noticeable. To avoid this emphasis on, it is advisable to choose a classic black version without attached decorative buttons instead of a Marlene in light colors: This visually reduces the belly again a little.