What I wore this week: wide-legged trousers

Stuck in skinny jeans? It’s time for a (big) change

I had never thought about wide-legged trousers before this season. To me, they represented something removed from the everyday: a tragic, unloved clown performing at a circus or David Byrne stomping around in Stop Making Sense, making a performance art comment about big business. But everyone from JW Anderson to Craig Green has taken on the wide-legged look recently, making it the fashion norm.

For me, that was tough to absorb. For about a decade I did that thing many of us do with fashion: I found a style that worked for me and stuck with it. It was specifically trouser-based: black, skinny jeans (occasionally worn with a leather jacket and black Converse). In my mind, it was firmly attached to a time when music and fashion collided and everyone, well at least the Strokes, looked like cool spiders creeping around in complementary shades of monochrome. On the fashion catwalks, the ringleader of this look was Hedi Slimane.

That mental image stuck with me and I was married to my skinnies. I own about seven pairs that vary only slightly in width. My signature look was as if I’d just been dancing sullenly at an indie disco. I enjoyed feeling anonymous, floating in the rarefied air of perceived cool.

Switching to wide-leg trousers is strangely liberating. Instead of wearing my skinnies, feeling restricted, sometimes (depending on which pair I tried on) blood-constrictingly so, my legs feel liberated. I realised that skinny jeans are just the male equivalent of bodycon. These trousers, though formal, feel like stretchy jogging bottoms in comparison. Of course, I’m also hyper-aware of the hem and conscious of them inadvertently soaking up the contents of a puddle. But, ultimately, I feel cooler than I did in my skinny jeans, too, and the references are different: northern soul, Young Americans-era Bowie and Malick Sidibé – era-defining, pop culture moments with which it feels good to align myself.

Jess Cartner-Morley is away. Priya wears jumper, £75, and trainers, £115, both whistles.com . Trousers, £175, topman.com Styling: Melanie Wilkinson. Hair and makeup: Laurence Close at Carol Hayes Management.

Contributor

Priya Elan

The GuardianTramp

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