How to nail wide-leg trousers
Shed your fear of wider-cut trousers - they are the cold-weather stand in for culottes
The success of culottes came about simply because they are ridiculously easy to wear, according to InStyle editor Charlotte Moore. In fact, all her smart trousers have been replaced by culottes. "My favourites are navy and velvet, from Cos, which work just as well with a sharp white shirt as with a slouchy jumper," she says. "You can show off your three-quarter-length boots in winter and your ankles in summer."
The logical shift on from these is the wide-leg trouser. They should be "high-waisted and stop just above the ankle - and are incredibly flattering on most body types," says designer Roksanda Ilincic.
Caren Downie, brand director of online retailer Finery (which has velvet, satin and flannel versions), says the trousers give a flattering silhouette, because they accentuate the waist: "They're a piece that makes a statement and they can transition dramatically into an alternative evening look."
The key point is that they look best a little shorter. The longest point should just graze the top of your foot. Trailing along the floor is not romantic when it's raining and you've collected half the gutter in your turn-up. A good dry cleaner will be able to lop a little off if yours are too long. And if you are wearing heels, make sure they are on the chunky side - think of them as a balance to the width of the trouser. A solid trainer (like a Stan Smith or Nike Air Force 1) also works well for casual days.
Having too much material swathing around runs the risk of the trousers looking like they're wearing you. Opt for darker, more muted colours and subtle prints, rather than brash brights.
If you're splashing out, Theory and Sportmax have chic navy pairs for €320 and €360 respectively (available from Brown Thomas), or look at newish New Yorker Rachel Comey, whom Matchesfashion.com's Suzanne Pendlebury champions for her "ultra-wide silhouettes, which have garnered her a cult following". M&S, Zara, Topshop and Mango have cheaper alternatives, while MiH Jeans have embraced sailor-style with their Nautical Pant (€295, mih-jeans.com).
Flat-fronted pairs will be more forgiving than pleated versions. Aim to highlight your waist, so pair the trousers with a short and boxy-cut shirt or jacket, tuck in a loose blouse, or put them with a fitted tunic top, if you'd rather keep your waist hidden.
Final sell: in the chill, a knee-length woollen sock with a midi-boot and wide-cut trouser is warm and chic. There's nothing worse that having everything scrunched up around your ankle. © Daily Telegraph