Are We Ready for the Return of Wide-Leg Pants?
And can normal guys actually wear them?
BY Scott Christian | Apr 28, 2017 | Fashion
Last fall you may have seen actor Jude Law on the red carpet for the premiere of his show The Young Pope wearing some preposterously wide trousers.
Was this a publicity stunt, you might have asked? Did Law order the wrong size and not have time to visit his tailor? Did he parachute into that premiere? The answer to all of these is no. What you were seeing, in fact, was the future of menswear. Well, potentially.
Image by Getty
For the last few seasons, wider trousers have been appearing on the fashion runways. But recently, things have been getting wide to the point of cartoonish-ness. And now, those ultra-wide, billowing JNCO flashbacks are finally hitting the retail sector.
Right now at Mr Porter, you can nab yourself a pair of Prince of Wales checked trousers by Stella McCartney that offer, shall we say, some generous leg proportions. But these, and the wide-legged trousers hitting the fashion scene, are less JNCO and more Oxford bag.
In case you're unfamiliar with Oxford bags, they were super-baggy trousers favoured by undergraduates at Oxford University from the 1920s through to about the '50s. Allegedly, the origins of these trousers came from a 1924 ban on undergrads wearing knickers at lectures. The bags were adopted to allow the students to wear their knickers underneath. As to why they were so committed to wearing knickers? No idea. But that's the British for you.
As for our own baggy trouser movement, men's tailoring was the first to take it on, as is evidenced by the (very) generously proportioned legs in Cos' Fall/Winter 2017 collection.
But some brands are also trying it with casual wear. And even with athletic-inspired sportswear. Take, for example, a pair of jersey track pants by Givenchy. They're as long as the Stella or Cos trousers, but every bit as wide. Which means that wide is definitely coming, so you better get prepared.
The trick to pulling off this look, if you're so inclined (which, no shame if you're not) is to do what Jude Law does and keep a tailored but not too slim look on top. Too baggy on top and you'll look like you've been swallowed up by your clothes. Too slim and you look like a human Liberty Bell. Here are the Givenchy pants in action, and looking surprisingly wearable:
It works because, with this look, you want to add length on top as much as possible to extend that line. Crop tops are not advisable. Again, human Liberty Bell. For a blazer, try a slightly longer cut. Or even better, you can elect to wear a long jacket or coat made from a lighter fabric.
Ultimately, this is, and probably always will be, an extremely fashion-forward adventure. But if you're feeling a little courageous, or are getting bored with the slim-fit styles that have dominated menswear for the decade or so, then take a stab at these ultra wide trousers. The one major plus side is, should you find yourself at sea and need to jump ship, your pants will slow your fall.