Holly Davies, like most women, is not a perfect size 10 - or 12, or 14. And, again like most women, she finds it very difficult to find a pair of trousers that fit. She is a healthy 22 year old, 5ft 5in, with slim legs and curvy

hips, somewhere between a size 12 and a 14. Her measurements are: waist 27.5in; hips 42in; inside leg 30in. Her old favourite is a pair of M&S trousers in size 14 which are a bit big but smart and comfortable. Holly says she would pay extra for trousers that fit well and flatter, so we sent her on a high-street quest for the perfect-fitting black trousers ... Photographs by Mykel Nicolaou

French Connection





M & S

French Connection, size 14, pounds 60

The out and out winner: flattering as well as a good fit around waist and hips. Low slung, with two jet pockets, zip, hook-and-eye fastening, flat-fronted. Generous distance between waist and crotch to suit different body types (if you happen to have a stomach, say). A narrow waistband (1cm) makes them seem slightly hipster-shaped but actually they fall just under the belly-button. There's one length only and they could have a bit more stretch in them but all in all a very comfortable pair of trousers.

Fit 9/10 Quality: 8/10 Style: 8/10

Warehouse, size 12, pounds 50.

Nice cool double-layer chiffon palazzo pants. Again the side zip with button is flattering and they are cut well on the waist with a thin waistband. Not too tight anywhere. No pockets. A generously cut size 12. Fine on the waist and hips and round the crotch. Loose cut around thighs and legs. Not very long - no good if you were much taller than I am. Good value for money and very comfortable and cool for the summer.

Fit 8/10 Quality 7/10 Style 6/10

DKNY, American size 8, pounds 195

American sizes are usually generous. These are made of gorgeous heavy- duty stretch fabric. The waistband actually sits on the waist and they have a side zip which is really flattering. The only thing I didn't like was the shape. Infact, they are completely shapeless from the knee down. What's the point in using a "hold you in" fabric if there's going to be acres of it flapping around your ankles. Easy to wear and comfortable but, sadly, not flattering.

Fit 8/10 Quality 9/10 Style 6/10

Joseph, size Large, pounds 125

Zip-front, extra-long, boot-cut trousers. One length only. These would have been my favourite but they were a terrible fit. They looked great off and felt gorgeous on with silky fabric lining, but very tight under the crotch and no room for hips, bum or thighs. Could only just do them up. There's a seam above the knee which is a pointless detail. If only they had fitted well they would have been ideal. No pockets. I refuse to believe I am the largest size that Joseph caters for.

Fit 4/10 Quality 10/10 Style 10/10

Hennes, size 38, pounds 29.99

These are made of a heavy stretch fabric very similar to the more expensive DKNY trousers - a promising start. But, yet again, the shape around the waist and hips was awful - a real squeeze. Not enough room around the crotch and I couldn't even get the somewhat heavy-duty waistband done up. Definitely one of the rotten eggs of the bunch.

Fit 3/10 Quality 8/10 Style 6/10

Marks & Spencer, size 12, pounds 35

Good design detail, nice hook-and-eye waistband and fake jetted pockets that are a decorative only. High-waisted which is often flattering, but these are cut so high they strangle your waist and make your stomach bulge. Shame about the awful shape because quality and price is good. Tight around the hips but fine from thigh down. A size 14 would fit around the hips and waist but looks baggy round the legs and they are supposed to be slim- fit. Available in three lengths.

Fit 5/10 Quality 7/10 Style 3/10