The Big Flare-Up

Thought you’d never see the day that it’s no longer all about the skinnies? Us too. But alas, the appeal of the wide-leg trouser is converting skinny-lovers everywhere thanks to the seductive lull of its unique brand of relaxed elegance. 

“There is a certain swagger in a wide leg that is really appealing right now.” designer Derek Lam told Of course swagger, defined as “a very confident or self-important gait or manner” is simply unavoidable with the sashay of a flowing leg hem. It exudes an air of ‘I don’t have to try.’

Elegant and sophisticated, the wide-leg trouser is an impactful look that elicits a French-girl feel. This glamorous shape first made waves in the 1930s, popularised by actresses such as Katharine Hepburn and Lauren Hutton, and then again in the 60s when Yves Saint Laurent brought to them to the forefront with his Le Smoking suit. The more exaggerated palazzo trousers were also popular in the ‘60s and ‘70s, flaring directly out from the waist. Today, we’re inspired by the looks of Poppy Delevingne, blogger Eleonora Carisi (in green) and other street style stars who work the look with finesse.


 WL Edit
L-R: Grey Katie wide-leg trousers – Phase Right, Navy wide-leg trouser, WindsmoorNavy chiffon trousers – Jacques VertCrepe tailored trouser – Jacques Vert


This versatile look works a number of ways but it’s key to think about achieving a balanced proportion with the silhouette.

  • Low-cut modern wide leg trousers need a longer top, such as a plain white t-shirt tucked in or a billowy blouse. Seventies-style palazzo trousers however need a shorter top or a top tucked in.
  • If you suspect that the trouser will drag and pool out a bit, wear a heel. It may look glamorous to have them flow around, but it’s also dangerous. (Editor’s note: on a sunny Friday afternoon near Cavendish Square, the generous flare of wide-leg trousers caused yours truly to trip and catastrophically plummet forward two metres into the pavement, resulting in a disastrous crack to the iPhone, several wounds and tear of said trousers.)
  • Conversely, if you are over 5’9”, do ensure an appropriately long length and wear flats. There really is a sweet spot when it comes to the wide leg.

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1 Comment

  1. by KEMI on March 24, 2016  9:32 pm Reply

    Love love love wide leg trousers!!!!

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