Fashion: A trouser for all seasons

It's during January that an observation once overheard at a fashion party always springs to mind: "It's a great time for the trans-seasonal trouser," proclaimed one woman solemnly. Cue stifled laughter followed by head-scratching: what exactly was this hybrid garment that could bridge the gap between the varying trends and temperatures of winter and spring? Fifty per cent drainpipe, fifty per cent kickflare?

Now, however, there may be some hat-eating to be done. For it is, quite frankly, a great time for the trans-seasonal trouser. Navigating the weeks between New Year and the start of spring is always a sartorial conundrum, beset by the Christmas loss and gain of pounds (that's sterling and lbs respectively) that makes investing in new clobber unthinkable.

And that's where autumn's slouchy, cropped trousers come in. Relaxed enough to be forgiving but still looking totally relevant for spring (virtually identical shapes reappeared at Dries Van Noten and Marc Jacobs), last season's gently tapered ankle-grazers are the perfect stepping stone to the new looks you'll be sporting later in the year.

The fearless fashion lover, for example, will be working up to the more extreme dropped-crotch harem pants seen at YSL and Ralph Lauren, while those who err on the side of classic will be waiting for sunnier days to slip on the fluid floor-skimmers seen at Richard Nicoll (soggy hems are not a good spring look). There's even good news for those who have barely left the sofa since 2008: you've effortlessly perfected another hot spring look – the men's pyjama suit, as seen at Dolce & Gabbana. Ah, pyjama bottoms – surely the trans-seasonal trouser par excellence.