You might remember the ultra casual soft and flowing wide trouser from the early and mid ‘90s in fabrics like linen, rayon, viscose, cotton, polyester, and silk. They were wide from hip to hem. They usually had a high rise, a full or half elastic waist, or a drawstring waist. Some versions had zippers and fly fronts for a more structured appearance. These wide trousers were CASUAL and quite “beachy”. You wore them with flat sandals, espadrilles, loafers, flip flops, mules, ballet flats, huaraches, or platform sneakers. By flats, I mean heels no higher than an inch
I remember wearing the casual soft wide trouser in patterns and light neutrals with long white slouchy open-weave pullovers, and boxy silk button down shirts. The combination was overwhelming and not very flattering, but very comfortable for a hot Cape Town Summer. The soft wide pants looked better paired with a short fitted T-shirt or cropped form-fitting wrap top, which I wore too. By adding structure up top, the pants did not overwhelm my frame. Nor did I look short in the leg in flats.
A very similar soft and flowing wide trouser has been on trend in our current fashion era. The collection below showcases great examples. They’ve been styled with casual flats, just like they should be (to my eye the vibe looks off with heels.) The lengths look dead right too. You want them no shorter than a quarter of an inch off the ground for maximum elegant swoosh and vertical integrity.
I can’t tell you how many of my clients love the idea of the casual soft wide Summer trouser, fitted on a slew of styles, but were disappointed with the visual effect. Most of the trousers are too wide in the leg and too high in the rise. Many felt dumpy, overwhelmed, sloppy, and short in the leg wearing untucked tops with the vibe despite the long length of the trousers.
That said, every so often we find a great pair that aren’t too voluminous, and my clients rave about the look. Wearing them with a more structured, untucked top is much more flattering. Fluid tops with welts work well because the welt tempers the volume of both the top and bottom. Semi-tucking a fluid or oversized top to create a bit of waist definition does wonders, as does keeping the length of the top short to showcase more of the waist and upper hip. Adding a fitted and short denim jacket to the mix adds further structure to the outfit.
I like the way Massimo Dutti styled their casual soft wide trouser here. Showcasing the waist marries the roomy pieces to create a hint of structure. It’s a great alternative to dresses and skirts in the Summertime, and a more covered option than shorts. Elegant and chic yet very relaxed. Who’s going to try it?