Bottoms with movement are on-trend. That means pants and jeans that are more loose from hip to hem than skinnies. Two particular pants silhouettes with movement are wide legs and bootcuts, which both flare at the hems, but are not the same. 

Bootcuts are fitted on the waist, hips and thighs, but flare out from just above the knees down to the hems. Some bootcut hems are wider than others, but the flares are not as wide as bell-bottoms. Wide legs, on the other hand, are fitted on the waist and sometimes a little on the hips, but the silhouette is generally wide from hip to hem. Some wide legs are super wide. And some are pleated at the waist.

Bootcuts and wide legs both vary greatly in length. Both can be cropped or full length, and there are a range of full lengths too. The new shorter full length finishes on top of the foot and can be worn with flats or heels. This is an extremely practical and safe length to wear in grotty weather and prevents treacherous tripping over hems. Longer lengths can skim or sweep the surface of the ground, or finish a quarter to half of an inch above the ground. That quarter to half of an inch does wonders to prevent soggy hems, and keeps that luxurious long leg line you might be after.

Bootcuts have the added advantage of creating a more streamlined, structured and tailored silhouette on the body. The overwhelming volume of wide legs, on the other hand, extends beyond the contour of the body and can make you look wider than you’d like. Bootcuts can be overly tight on the knees and calf-sucking if they aren’t sufficiently flared. Baby bootcuts can be tricky to hem over footwear that is heeled, and fail to create the width and drama you’re after in bottoms. Wide legs can create a beautifully elegant and dramatic silhouette, and be stunningly flattering when the fit is perfect.

As with most silhouettes, the devil is in the details. There is a pair of bootcuts and wide legs for each of us when the fit, drape, and fabric are dead right. Of course, you might prefer one silhouette over the other, and that’s the one you should wear.

These days I don’t have a preference between them. I wear bootcuts and wide legs in cropped and full lengths and thoroughly enjoy them. I feel elegant and dressy in these silhouettes. Their swoosh factor is fun and makes me happy. I wear them with flats, sneakers, or a one inch heel. That said, I am very fussy about the cut of my bootcuts. The flare from the top of the knee to the hem has to be wide, and verging on bell-bottoms. They must not cling to my knee area, but a gentle cling to my thighs is fine. I adore wide crops, and wide legs are fab as long as they aren’t too wide. I don’t like trousers that overwhelm me.

Here is my current collection of bootcuts and wide legs across various lengths. Rises are mid and high rise.

Over to you. Do you wear wide legs and bootcuts? Do you have a preference? Do you wear them cropped, full length or both?