Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Trousers: The Truth

The Telegraph has gone through all the trouser trends and tells you which ones to wear for your height/shape.

You can read this in full, if you like, but what you are about to find out is: There are no trousers that suit pear shaped women of average height.

"Cropped trousers only suit those with long legs,"

"Wide-legged trousers are ideal for tall women,"

"High-waisted trousers are wonderful on tall or petite women with hourglass figures," says Pinnot, "but they should be avoided by pear shapes as they accentuate the hips and the waist."

"Skinny jeans look fantastic on petites," says Pinnot. "But curvy women should steer clear, because skinnies accentuate curves."

"Peg legs are an interesting, edgy cut," says Pinnot. "They flatter taller women, and drown small frames."

What we're left with is the boot cut:
"Boot cuts suit women of all shapes," says Pinnot. "They flatter the leg and bottom and create subtle curves." (Because pear shaped women need more curves?)

My problem with bootcut jeans is that if they fit on the waist they're tight on the thighs and I cannot stand the sausage thigh, I like trousers to skim, that is right, skim over the thighs. But then they're too big on the waist.

I am 5' 5". I have one pair of trousers, they are wide legs and they skim over the thighs. If only we could lower the hem of the dresses to below the knee I could stop worrying and forget about trousers altogether.


Sabina said...

Being faced with similar problems (5ft3inchish, average figure and short limbs to boot), here is my twopence worth of advice: buy bigger and have the trousers taken in where needed or have things made altogether. I live in the Czech Republic and by some turn of market forces and history, having clothes made to measure is cheaper than buying middle-end high street clothes. Also, Topshop Eva skinny flare is a very flattering cut on me. I have two sizes: a bigger pair with longer inseam and a tighter one which I had hemmed to wear with medium heels. It would be nice not to have to worry about these things, but at least I am learning more about clothes and fits in general. PS: thanks for writing about duoboots - last night I went to bed with one worry less on my mind with the winter approaching.

dalia said...

alas, i am a bit of a pear being blessed with the blkgrl booty. i am also short waisted, so high waisted stuff is defo a nono. i am short, but a 31" inseam (insane!) so i find that as long as the trouser leg isn't too wide, then the menswear look (wide legs w/ or w/o cuffs) is quite suitable. SLIM (not skinny) cuts are great, as are slightly bootcut/flare legs. what i've learned most about these fashion "rules" are that they're usually a load of horse puckey, and you should really dress according to what suits you. and if you dont't know/not sure, go shopping with a very stylish, brutally honest friend.

rosaria said...

I wear Target bootcut or straight jeans with well-cut tunics (finishing mid-thigh, splits up the side, some Eastern style, or with asymmetrical hems, to hide the curvy bits); I have longish jackets for other pants. It's the only solution for me. The lack of wearable pants infuriates me, otherwise. I would have thought eventually that the stacks of pants left on the racks, to languish in the sales bins, would send a clear message to designers.

Obviously there's a market for pants made for women who don't fit the pencil category. Whoever taps into it will make a motza.

Deja Pseu said...

I've become a die-hard bootcut fan in recent years. I agree with Dahlia that "rules" tend to promote whatever is in style at the moment as being most flattering. I never tuck anything in anymore, being big-busted and short-waisted, as I've learned that way lies madness.

At the risk of sounding like a paid shill (I'm not, I swear!), I'm going to recommend again the Banana Republic Jackson trousers for you curvier women who are frustrated by the current trouser situation, and the BR "Urban Contour" denim jeans, which are also cut fuller in the hips and thighs.

kitsmommy said...

I started a thread venting on this very subject on the WNTW board a few days ago.

I have a slight pear shape and need a 31.5" inseam. Only regular size pants do not fit right in the top. A 6P in most labels is perfect everwhere but the length. The only way I can get a pair of pants to look great is to find a slight bootcut in a petite that has a cuff that I can remove for th extra length I need.

I gave up and am buying more skirts.

LeeLee said...

I'm 5'4, but I cannot wear petite trousers. The leg length may be fine, but they are always too short in the seat. Not flattering. Rarely do I find trousers which fit. The Gap used to have a wide leg, but not ridiculously so, trouser that fit wonderfully, but it seems to have been discontinued in favor of the clown pants for tall women.

I'm not a large woman - I wear a US 4- but lately, trousers make my hips and thighs look a mess. Have they scrimped on fabric? (Perhaps it's just me - I have recently discovered Pomegranate Honey ice cream.)

Skinny leg jeans haven't looked cute on me since I was young enough to be flattered by being called cute.

I wear lots of skirts. Even short ones, with tights.

sewingsue said...

This is why tailors, petite sections and custom dressmakers were invented!!

The editors may say that pants 'suit tall people' but as a 6ft tall female with 36" inseam, try finding them in the stores. Petite/Plus departments: easy to find, in almost every store. Tall selections: Hah!!

Anonymous said...

Count me among those desperately trying to give up trousers! I live in an area where jeans are considered perfectly fine for the dressiest occasions. Sadly, jeans do me no favours (short legs, long waist, curvy) and my closet is filled with attempts at trousers of all shapes and sizes.

My mother used to have more success with German brands..Bogner, Basler...but they seemed to disappear, or at least I can't find them here.

I'm a big fan of dresses and skirts, as hard as they are to find, they are easier than trousers.


diane said...

i read somewhere recently that the most flattering pair of jeans on all figures is the Levi's 518 bootcut- i can't find the article but it was persuasive...

Anonymous said...

There are two solutions and you may hate them both:

1. As Sabina said, buy pants that fit where you want them to and take them in everywhere else.

2. Buy low-rise trousers that sit on the hips instead of the waist.

mq, cb said...

I think that the problem is that although women's trousers are sold on dress size (i.e. average waist measurement and inseam), our proportions vary quite a bit and a measurement system that took account of the fact that our bodies curve in different ways would be more sensible.

The shop that finally manages to source women's trousers that are designed to suit a variety of shapes will make a fortune. After all, if Bravissimo can sell clothes for your top half (including fitted shirts) that come in a range of sizes to fit the fact that different women have a different degree of curve even though they are both technically a 12, maybe someone will do it for trousers too.

In practice, all that happens is that someone writes yet another magazine article which says that Joseph/Theory/Margaret Howell/*insert name of choice here* make the perfect trousers when all that really means is they suit the author who, by the way, is never shaped like me.

badmomgoodmom said...

Thanks for the heads up on the article. I am also 5'5" and pear-shaped and hate shopping for pants or jeans. I pretty much gave up on trendy cuts and stick to classic trousers with straight or slightly tapered legs.

You inspired me to post about the weird sizing system in the US where the stores offer nothing for women who are exactly average height (5'4" to 5'5").