The question I am asked the most after the one about dresses with sleeves (see last blog) is where can I find the best cut trousers? This is huge and my heart sinks slightly because you really can’t answer helpfully without first checking out the enquirer’s bottom half. It’s a tricky one for three reasons:
a) The cut of trousers depends very much on your shape.
b) Once you’ve taken into consideration the current trends and comfort (or perhaps just how much discomfort you are prepared to tolerate), it may feel like there is very little choice other than leggings.
c) Trousers are not jeans; trousers are for grown ups and in my experience for formal or workwear and therefore not exciting to shop for. Rarely does one consider trousers when trying to appear one’s most sexy self. Now I feel bad for trousers, maybe trousers need better P.R. Doesn’t ‘trousers’ sound weird when you read it out loud repeatedly?
So back to the point… assuming you don’t want to resort to leggings or chinos, (both have worryingly sneaked back onto the fashion radar this season) how do you identify the perfect trouser for you? Each season there seems to be more choice than ever and that never helps matters. The wide leg has got wider and the difference between trousers and skirts has blurred even more with the term ‘culotte’ rather overused. FYI a culotte is ‘knee or calf length trousers cut with full legs to resemble a skirt’. If you want to look like you’re wearing a skirt then I’m going to presume you would wear a skirt. I have nothing against culottes, in fact I have two pairs but they are not the answer to this particular question. Here are the body shapes, the best cuts for those shapes and the tried and tested (by me) brands I think you should go for.
Triangles (bigger bottom half)
If you want to play down your juicy lower portion, then my advice is to keep it dark in colour and avoid heavy patterns. For summer, go for a lightweight fabric which skims rather than clings and either avoid pockets at the side or sew them up so there is no excess bulk or sticky-outy bits at the hips. A slim leg is best, not too skinny and not overly boot-cut. Banana Republic does excellent trousers, the best of which are made in their ‘Sloan’ fabric, a stretchy fabric that holds you in and is ultra flattering. This style at Cos is one of their staples as it is so popular, it comes in a variety of colours and like the Sloan, it seems to suck you in beautifully.
Rectangles (straight up and down)
Lucky rectangular shapes can be bang on trend this summer as the so-called ‘paper bag’ trousers are the thing. Loose in the leg and bunched in at the waist they create the illusion of a more curvy hip and therefore a waist. You can opt for a heavier fabric and no worries about pockets for you lot! Next do really lovely slouchy but smart trousers in a decent quality fabric. This style comes in petite, regular and tall and goes up to a size 20 – don’t forget you can still be rectangular no matter what size you are. Rectangles can also happily rock a flare or wide leg too. We don’t hate you at all.
Hourglass (ample bust and hips, in at the waist)
Hourglass figures have hips so don’t go adding bulk by plumping for trousers with tucks or bunching at the waist. For a smooth and flattering silhouette without overspill make sure you have a mid rise rather than a low rise and favour a slim or straight cut leg. As an hourglass of whatever size, you are in proportion already so work with what you naturally have. If you’re a tall hourglass then a wide leg in a floaty fabric will work too. Hip online boutique FineryLondon does a great range of trousers the most flattering of which is the Ackland trouser, a steal at £55.
Circles (larger around the middle with slimmer limbs)
If you want to draw attention away from your tummy then choosing the right top is just as important as the type of trousers for circle physiques. The good news is your slim legs can carry off a pattern and/or a lighter colour but keep it muted and plain on top. Try a style with a stripe down the side, there are lots about but Mos Mosh cut their trousers beautifully. Avoid wide legs, a slim cut will be much more flattering. If you are a decent height opt for cropped to showcase your ankles with a fabulous shoe.
Now is a great time to do a trouser edit as we finally transition from winter to spring. Be brutal – you may think those voluminous pull-on white linen trousers that looked so good on holiday in 1998 will tick the pyjama style trend in 2017 but trust me they absolutely won’t. You’ll just look like you’re wearing tired old linen (silly stuff, linen) trousers from 1998. Send them back there.
Have a great weekend lovely readers!
My book ‘Shopped’ has more tips for successful dressing and is available here: