Get back in your strides

From flares to fitted skinnies, spring trousers come in every shape and colour, says Harriet Walker

Call it stating the obvious, but women are wearing trousers again. Or rather, they’re still wearing trousers. But something has shifted in the primordial fashion soup, which has been bubbling over with dresses for so many seasons – designers are showing strides again; creating catwalk looks that cast them as this season’s primary wardrobe building block.

From Seventies-inspired palazzo pants, flares and wide-legs, to the super-skinny shapes that have become almost a priori as a modern basic, and cropped versions of all the above, this is a new trend with legs – and one that seems, funnily for fashion, almost entirely in line with what we really want to wear.

There have been challenging peg cuts, full-fronted, narrow-legged dhotis and harem pants, but now it’s the time for the normal trouser to take precedence once again – especially ones that (hallelujah!) whittle waists, lengthen legs and boost bums.

“I think there are two things going on this season that are influencing the wide-leg pant trend,” says Anita Borzyszkowska, vice-president of Gap’s global PR. “One is a reaction to how long the skinny silhouette has been around – people are looking for a shape that feels new and fresh. The other is a move towards a Seventies feeling; a carefree ease that feels very American. You see a lot of American editors wearing it.”

Gap’s new high-waist flares are perfectly Love Story-with-a-modern-twist and come in white, cream, indigo and raspberry denim – ideal for nailing this summer’s colour trend.

Phoebe Philo, meanwhile, that perennial purveyor of simple and luxurious basics, launched her “five perfect trousers” capsule this season, which presents heavily-accented mannish tailoring suited to every body type.

“It takes a commitment to technique, a deep knowledge of tailoring and understanding of how to elongate differing female body-alignments,” reads the blurb on this cool collection of pleated, tapered and flared styles.

And Warehouse has also announced a trouser capsule to cover all angles, which includes tapered-leg chinos and flares. Trousers are no longer the preserve of workwear, but – paired with blouses, blazers and box bags – are this spring’s answer to a sundress or skirt.

Even jeans seem a little stale next to the ubiquitous offerings of tightly-pressed tailoring. “In the light of our unpredictable summer weather, what could be more perfect than the return of the trousers?” says Calgary Avansino, Vogue’s executive fashion editor.

“It’s a stylish alternative to the endless racks of skirts and shorts. Designers have embraced a more streamlined silhouette and have found the perfect masculine/feminine balance.”