Fashion: Get your knickers out

You might have thought big pants should have started and ended with Bridget Jones, but somehow high-waisted undies seem to be everywhere. And this isn't thermal underwear to combat the below-zero weather conditions; we are talking big knickers worn as outerwear, as a fashion statement, with nothing over them.

Whose fault is this? Is it Lily Allen's, who chose to launch her new album at Camden's Koko club in a pair of black, sequinned high-waisters teamed with stratospheric heels and then followed this up at G-A-Y in a lacy blue pantsuit? Or was Lily just taking a tip from chart-topper Lady GaGa, who is rarely seen with a skirt, a trouser or anything but undergarments on her derrière? GaGa is rumoured to be starting her own teen clothing line in the not-too-distant; whether her especially brazen take will be adopted by the nation's youth remains to be seen.

Most likely, big pants are the fault of Janie Bryant, the award-winning costume designer of BBC4's Mad Men, who unleashed the likes of Betty Draper, Peggy Olson and Joan Holloway on us, all in bullet bras and vampy high-waisted lingerie hidden under butter-wouldn't-melt retro prom dresses. You might have thought the market for old underwear would be limited, but there are currently hundreds of similar vintage, curve-enhancing knickers from yesteryear on eBay, many of them made from 100 per cent nylon as they were back then. Ewww.

Agent Provocateur is already on to the trend. Check out Pixie Geldof in a pair of high-fitting black cotton shorts complete with detachable suspender straps from the spring collection. "This can be worn as sexy outerwear or as a seductive boudoir outfit," informs the website. Just don't let the recent Arctic blast put you off.

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