Darren Kennedy fashion file: How to wear... Cropped flares
There's no need to wait for it to get chilly to get in on the upcoming season's most in-demand trends. Prepare to reveal your ankles, and release yourself from skinny-jeans purgatory, as the cropped flare emerges as the new length for autumn.
Hems are rising on our favourite flares as the shorter variety of the classic bell-bottom 1970s-style has proven surprisingly popular, for an updated silhouette that offers a refreshing break from the ubiquitous skinny jean of the past decade. Style icon Alexa Chung and Stella McCartney lead the cropped flare brigade as the somewhat awkward-length trouser enjoys a moment in the spotlight. Longer than culottes and obviously shorter than your average trouser, this cut should stop above the ankle and just below the calf. They can be worn in the office making them the perfect desk-to-dinner choice and something of a wardrobe workhorse. What's more, you don't have to flash ankle if you don't want to. Just style yours with a pair of slim-fitting ankle boots to streamline and lengthen the appearance of your legs for a look that's surprisingly flattering.
Question: My work is having the annual summer barbecue next week. Last year I just went along in my usual office clothing but felt very out of place when I saw everyone else in far more casual attire. This year I'd like to make an effort with something summery. As you can see I've left it a little last minute so I would be grateful for a few suggestions.
Mick (30), Dublin
Darren replies: Summer tends to bring with it a barrage of invitations and some equally challenging dresscodes. The work barbecue certainly falls into the category of the more perplexing. It's about striking the right balance between being casually put-together and polished, while not looking overdressed or uptight. With a bit of luck, the weather will be on your side and you'll be able to wear shorts.
A tailored short such as this (1) grey pair at Zara (reduced to €14.99) will strike the right balance. Wear with the (2) stripe-printed linen shirt at Tommy Hilfiger (was €75.90, reduced to €38) or keep it classic with a crisp white shirt. Obviously avoid any type of Bermuda or board shorts. It is a work event after all. If you're not keen on the idea of shorts, a pair of regular tailored chinos will do the job nicely. You'll find chinos in every colour under the rainbow on the high street at the moment, but this (3) slim-fit pair by Michael Kors (€145, Brown Thomas) is a versatile shade that you can wear again and again. Plus, the fact that they are made from stretch cotton means they'll hold their shape wash after wash.
If you feel the need, complete your look with a blazer. This (4) lapel-less blazer at Asos (€95.89) gives all the structure of a jacket without the formality. Made from a lightweight textured woven fabric, it's cut close to the body for a fitted look.
* All sale prices correct at the time of going to print
Sonya Snakeskin Boot - €198, Buffalo