Ready to Wear: The J Brand Houlihan cargo jean is selling like hot cakes

The relationship between clothing originally intended to be strictly functional and sex is often a barbed one – high-heeled trainers, anyone? Or how about a close-fitting designer parka?

New this season – and by now ubiquitous in the west London area – are skinny cargo pants. The J Brand Houlihan low-rise, narrow-legged variety (available in sand or American army green) is selling like the proverbial hot cakes, by all accounts. J Brand being the favoured jeans in this household, it comes as something as a blow to report that, well, they're all wrong – not to put too fine a point on it.

Why, I wonder as I stroll down the street behind an ultra-slender Notting Hill blonde in proud possession of a pair, does even she look like her legs are straight out of The Bill in these? (That'll be vintage Bill, obviously, not the now defunct glamourised version.) The dirty great saddle-bags – also known as patch pockets – neatly attached to her thighs might shed at least some light on this.

The people at J Brand may be clever, but Nicolas Ghesquière they most certainly are not. This designer's name comes up, of course, because around the turn of the millennium he gave fashion the cargo pants worn with killer heels style that quickly became the wardrobe of choice for everyone from Charlotte Gainsbourg to – eventually – All Saints (the tousled and generally golden Appleton sisters in particular). There was a deliberately deshabillé appeal to this look, however. Worn, as said trousers were, oversized (this is very important), not to mention ultra-slouchy and determinedly on the masculine side. and cut in hard-to-identify but clearly elaborate fabrics, they spoke of the luxury of not caring. And that is always a good thing.

Cross a garment that has its roots in military clothing with not even remotely functional skinny jeans that were, let's not forget, originally the preserve of the model off-duty (and for good reason), and don't be surprised when the effect is more We Need To Talk About Kevin (that is: clothes worn too small and favoured by psychopaths) than the height of fashion.

In the end, this style might have legs, all be they piano legs, but it's still a mixed message too far.

s.frankel@independent.co.uk

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Arts and Entertainment
tvStrictly presenter returns to screens after Halloween accident
News
peopleFormer civil rights activist who was jailed for smoking crack cocaine has died aged 78
News
i100
News
Boxing promoter Kellie Maloney, formerly known as Frank Maloney, entered the 2014 Celebrity Big Brother house
people
Sport
Dwight Gayle (left) celebrates making it 1-1 with Crystal Palace captain Mile Jedinak
premier leagueReds falter to humbling defeat
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: Corporate Solicitor NQ+ Oxford

    Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...

    Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

    Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

    £45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

    Day In a Page

    Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

    Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

    Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
    Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

    The last Christians in Iraq

    After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
    Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

    Britain braced for Black Friday
    Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

    From America's dad to date-rape drugs

    Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

    As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
    Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

    Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

    The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
    Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

    The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

    Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
    Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

    Flogging vlogging

    First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
    Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

    Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

    US channels wage comedy star wars
    When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

    When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

    When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
    Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

    Look what's mushrooming now!

    Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
    Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

    More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

    The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

    Oeuf quake

    Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
    Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

    Terry Venables column

    Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
    Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

    Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

    Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin