Susannah Frankel: Ready To Wear

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Big trousers. They were big last season, even bigger this season and remain impressively on the large side for next autumn/winter also. FYI: big trousers should not be too big – as in too big for you, although men often think that a pair of trousers deliberately cut on the roomy size should be worn a size smaller. This is just one instance where a woman's prizing of the space between her skin and her clothing – a precious and profoundly intimate relationship if ever there was one – is lost on the average man. Although it is always pleasing to find one's trousers are slipping off – a sign of weight loss, hopefully, rather than ropey fabric that has stretched beyond repair – that is not the type of trousers that we are looking at here.

Big trousers first made a high-profile return to the catwalk for autumn 2007. At Yves Saint Laurent, Stefano Pilati came up with the must-have trouser silhouette of the season that was high-waisted, bulbous at the hips and then tapered to the ankle. So convinced of the power of this particular line is Mr Pilati that he has taken the pattern and run with it this season, too. Perhaps sadly, these are not aimed at those who are naturally on the bulbous side to match.

Next: loose-fitting printed trousers, pyjama style. These come in their most lovely incarnation for spring/summer both at Prada and Dries Van Noten. They are either full length or cropped at the ankle and patterned in rainbow colours.

A more traditional masculine cut trouser can be found over at Dior, where pinstripe tailoring is long and wide-legged, bringing Marlene Dietrich to mind. This, it almost goes without saying, can only ever be a good thing. Closer to home Margaret Howell always does a great pair of masculine trousers for women and this season is no exception. Ditto: Karen Walker.

While the all-in-one boiler/romper suit might not be to everyone's taste, Stella McCartney's floral chiffon version is oversized but sheer so shows off the form of the body beneath. Over at Yohji Yamamoto – and there are those who would name this particular designer king of the oversized pair of trousers – a similar style is less flimsy – in fact, it is downright confrontational – and signature black gabardine designs come pleasingly voluminous and gathered or cropped at the ankle.

Dhoti pants, harem pants, bloomers... From henceforward the big trouser aficionado will find herself spoilt for choice and, yes, her bum probably does look big but that's surely a small price to pay when both comfort and credibility are guaranteed.

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