Carola Long: 'Traveller trousers are on trend but in a more sophisticated guise. Call it gap-year luxe'

With the first fresh whiff of spring something disturbing happens to my taste. One minute my wardrobe is more or less planned around clean basics with a dash of utility: pale denim, a blush-pink silk dress, heeled canvas or tan suede boots. A few blue skies later, however, and disturbing boho urges start appearing. Suddenly – whether through curiosity, desire or nostalgia I'm not sure – I'm being drawn to "traveller trousers", those patterned harem-ish pants that are popping up everywhere.

Perhaps it's because I've been there before. Aged 15 in the mid-Nineties, one of my prized possessions was a pair of purple, woven Guatemalan-style tapered trousers that I tucked into DM boots. I thought they were cool at the time, but photographic evidence suggests that they made me look like a wandering magic-mushroom seller who got dressed while high on her own supply. Although I never got to wear them anywhere more exotic than the beach in Devon, they tapped into the classic gap-year look of ethnic trousers or frayed-bottomed jeans, toe rings, tie-dyed or ribbed vest tops and fringed scarf from the local market (or Accessorize at the airport).

This season, traveller trousers are on trend, but in a more sophisticated guise. Call it gap-year luxe. They appeared on the catwalk, in flowered versions from DKNY, tribal-patterned at Dries Van Noten (below), and stripy at the current queen of haute boho, Isabel Marant, who teamed them with fringed boots and silk tops. Find them on the high street in splotchy printed silk at Whistles and sketchy prints at River Island. Tie-dyed pieces from Acne, khaki utility coats, faded denim and across-the-body bags all tap into the year-off vibe, but the easiest and most stylish way to wear traveller trousers is with a plain T-shirt and a softly tailored jacket such as Whistles' silk bat-wing version. This look is strictly for the free-spirited, however. Me, I've decided that second time around, and with a lifestyle that involves taking a packed Tube to an office every day, the gap-year look is as challenging as a night in a particularly grim youth hostel.

Suggested Topics
News
Howard Marks who has been diagnosed with inoperable cancer aged 69
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
Rowan Atkinson at the wheel of his McLaren F1 GTR sports car
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

    Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

    Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

    Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

    £15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

    Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

    Day In a Page

    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
    Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

    Diana Krall interview

    The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
    Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

    Pinstriped for action

    A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

    'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

    Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

    Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
    Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us