Naughty boys in nasty schools/Headmaster’s breaking all the rules/Having fun and playing fools/Smashing up the woodwork tools – go the lyrics to Madness’ 1980 hit, Baggy Trousers, an autobiographical number about the time Suggs misspent in an ‘orrible comprehensive in North London. Prescient, because drainpipe trousers, skinny jeans and flares seem to be on hiatus this summer with few other styles available than wide-legs, from luxury labels though to High Street and fast fashion retailers.
Specifically, there are plenty of shapes to pick from, but they’re all wide. Baggy isn’t the most apt description; fluid or flowing sum it up far better. The nicest trews are cleverly tailored, certainly at the waist and potentially at the hem so that quantity of fabric is no bar to figure flattery – judiciously nipping in and balancing out. Thus a pair of flowing pants can be as forgiving as an old friend, albeit one you need to watch out for in electric doors and on escalators.
Various wide options are; summery culottes, but to feel modern go for slightly stiff, rather than wafty fabric – twill is ideal. Longer length ones are cool, covering knees or even skimming ankles. Also nice are long, floor-sweeping wide flares, more like an A-line than ‘fit and flare’ flares. Then there are the classic, flannel-type that Oxbridge students might have teamed with their over-long scarves and bicycles. Lastly, there are the more conceptual, cropped wide legs, not quite culottes but a tailored, almost tapered, “ovoid” trousers, a good option for anyone not blessed with much height wanting to indulge in wide-legs. Full-on palazzo pants work better on the tall, or with the addition of chunky platform sandals, so a cropped but controlled roomy pair could be the perfect solution.