Fashion

How to wear wide-leg pants

Is 2015 the year we finally hang up our skinny pants for good?

If the vibrant blooms, billowing maxis and retro shirts on the runways are anything to go by, designers have become seriously nostalgic for the 1970s – and with that come pants as loose as the free-spirited decade in which they initially thrived. Acting as a breezy contradiction to the precise fashion that dominated the decades before, flares and palazzo pants were a defining silhouette of the late 1960s hippie movement.

Thanks to musicians like Janis Joplin and duo Sonny and Cher, the wide-leg style gained traction among the masses in the early 1970s and, by the time the decade was almost over, had morphed into a less flouncy, more structured shape.

Modern-day wide-leg pants created by the likes of Karen Walker, Tom Ford, Acne and Céline, however, are more contemporary and refined than those worn at Woodstock. Bell-bottoms have been replaced with pants and jeans that subtly flute through the leg and palazzo pants are narrower and less dramatic. And while it’s easy to be put off by a style embraced by ABBA, voluminous bottoms are actually more flattering than you think. The easiest way to pull them off is to keep it simple on top.

High-waisted flares look clean with a shirt or blouse neatly tucked in to reveal the waist and at a length that grazes the ground. If you want more of a sartorial challenge, take note from the style set and wear wide-leg pants under a long coat or fluid tunic in a similar colour.

Do:

•Tuck in a shirt to accentuate the waist.

• Wear with a matching vest or jacket.

• Make sure you team this look with a heel.

Don’t:  

• Go too bold with prints.

• Wear pants that are too short.

• Go all-out 1970s.

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