Carola Long: 'Cropped bootcut jeans sound wrong but, on the body, they make perfect sense'

It's time to move on from the hoopla about 'Houlihans' – those tight combat trousers that gave everyone action-hero thighs. The J Brand jeans to snap up this season are the 'Gigis'. On paper, the idea of cropped bootcut jeans sounds all wrong; on the body, they make perfect sense.

When I recently subjected myself to the nine circles of self-loathing that is jeans shopping, it was the Gigis (£170, mywardrobe.com) that looked and felt the best out of at least 20 pairs of skinnies and straights. Somehow, the little kick flare gave them a cheeky freshness missing from ankle crops, and avoided the feeling of having legs shaped like turnips. Still, the ghosts of bootcut jeans past haunted me and I couldn't quite commit.

Conformation that the Gigi offered jean nirvana came from a magazine editor wearing them at New York Fashion Week. Teamed with patent kitten heel slingbacks and a slightly oversized camel cashmere 'boyfriend' jumper, here was a look that offered an instantly chic modern update on the gamine cropped trouser look of Audrey Hepburn in 'Funny Face', or Jean Seberg in the French classic 'A Bout de Souffle'. Incidentally, the latter film was re-released this summer to coincide with its 50th anniversary, and the pixie cuts being sported by Carey Mulligan and Emma Watson are similar to Seberg's. A fashion coincidence?

The shape of the Gigi isn't out on a – shapely – limb, however, it's part of a trend, and a tentative Seventies revival. Cropped trousers with a little flare appeared at Prada and Rochas, in black and gold brocade respectively.

If you opt for black Gigi's, they look as smart as trousers but are more comfortable and flattering, thanks to the thickness of the denim. The other advantage of the cropped jean is that it works really well with kitten heels; and showing some ankle will save you from looking like you're stuck in the mid-Nineties. Just keep tops loose and a bit slouchy; Gap's grey cashmere T-shirt is perfect. I love it when a fashion week look comes together.

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