FASHION: RIGHT SMARTY PANTS

Baggy or slim, capri or boot-cut, trousers make a thoroughly modern statement
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The Independent Culture
IT USED to be fluctuating hemlines that dictated fashion. Today it seems changing trouser shapes are more relevant to modern-minded women. A look at the various incarnations of the trouser in just a few seasons proves it: we had the low hipster with a boot-cut leg in late 1995, then the hipster which gently flared out from the knee in 1996. After that legs became straighter and slimmer; and last autumn they widened again, turning into slouch pants.

This summer sees two trouser shapes at the forefront of fashion: the ubiquitous pedal pusher, and the flat-fronted, wide-legged slouch pants in lightweight linen or cotton. And these shapes are not only cropped up in almost all the catwalk shows - they are also what women are going out and actually buying.

Margaret Howell and Sonja Nuttall are the British queens of the slouchy, laid-back trouser, and though their price-tags may be a little too hefty for the average pocket, their products are well worth the investment. Otherwise, nip to M&S for a classic wide-legged trouser and go up two sizes to get the look. If slouchy doesn't suit, no woman can go wrong with tailored straight pants which feature a military-inspired satin stripe - they, thankfully, never go out of fashion. !

Facing page: grey ribbed vest, pounds 12 for pack of three, from Muji, 187 Oxford Street, W1 (enq: 0171 323 2208); cream sleeveless cardigan, pounds 195, and grey wide-legged trousers, pounds 175, both by Margaret Howell, 29 Beauchamp Place, SW3, and Peaches and Cream, Grainger Street, Newcastle (enq: 0171 584 2462)

This page, top left: black V-neck top, pounds 18, by TS from Top Shop, 214 Oxford Street, W1, 22-36 Church Street, Liverpool, and The Fort Shopping Centre, Birmingham (enq: 0171 291 2332); beige linen trousers, pounds 235, by Margaret Howell, as before

Top right: white cotton V-neck sweater, pounds 35, from Muji, as before; white flat-fronted trousers, pounds 348, by Sonja Nuttall, from Selfridges, Oxford Street, W1, and Pollyanna, 16 Market Hill, Barnsley (enq: 0171 323 3801)

Left: pink short-sleeved shirt, pounds 25, from Top Shop, as before; blue turn-up cropped trousers, pounds 132, by Justin Oh, from Koh Samui, 65 Monmouth Street, WC2 (enq: 0171 240 4280); loafers, pounds 175, from a selection by Prada, 43-45 Sloane Street, SW1 (enq: 0171 235 0008)

PHOTOGRAPHS BY KEVIN FOORD

STYLING BY CHARLIE HARRINGTON

HAIR BY KYLIE CROMPTON USING AVEDA / MAKE-UP BY ALEX BABSKY AT MANDY COAKLEY

MODEL: ILONA HLAVATA

Left: white cotton cropped-sleeve shirt, pounds 130, by Margaret Howell, as before; navy satin-stripe trousers, part of a suit)ASKpounds 123 , from Sportmax, Maxmara, 32 Sloane Street, SW1 (enq: 0171 287 3434); white strappy sandals, pounds 185, by Gina, 189 Sloane Street, SW1 (enq: 0171 235 2932)

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