Puddle pants are the new style trend sweeping the streets, and it relies on nailing the golden rule of proportion.
Puddle pants: possibly the best nickname for a cut of trousers since Alexander McQueen brought us his low-slung bumsters.
Where’s the puddle? It’s created by the trouser hems that are left extra-long to pool on the floor. Perhaps not the trouser of choice when it’s raining, but otherwise a clear win for those of us who were not blessed with giraffe-like proportions: this is one style of trouser that will never need the hems taking-up.
And contrary to popular belief, baggy trousers won’t make you look shorter. You just need to get the proportions right, but we’ll get to that later.
So, why puddle pants now? Because they are the polar opposite of all that’s been before – the tight and skinny, the chunkily cropped. Although fairly classic in style, these baggy trousers come with intentional extra length, and because of that they do look altogether new. And at first, also slightly wrong.
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Take Balenciaga’s super-baggy low crotch jeans: hems scrape the floor and they’re so thoroughly oversized it’s a wonder they stay up. With a nod to the 90s, they fall low on the hips, and their bagginess is such that they resemble an A-line skirt.
But it’s a look that’s bound to grow on you, as new fashions tend to do. Bootlegs, skinny cuts, mom jeans – what starts as a fashion challenge soon morphs into everyday normal when you see it worn frequently. Of course, the fashionistas are undaunted. Puddle pants have been swiftly adopted.
“It’s a trend that I have seen much of on the streets of Paris,” says Jacki Bresic, director of fashion store Fabric, which carries several styles including some sharp retro high-waisted, broad-legged jeans from Made in Tomboy. Bresic attributes their popularity to their versatility. “They are easily pared back with a tank and slide or sneaker for day-to-day, or for a more elevated and refined look, throw on an unbuttoned shirt and pointed toe flat or heel.”
In an homage to minimalist 90s style, a Cos campaign features Christy Turlington wearing beige puddle pants with a slim white tank and sandals. She looks effortlessly chic but, in those softly drapey trousers, also completely comfortable. Not that these loungey trousers can’t be smartened up. Put them with a tailored jacket and the effect is slouchily serious, an entirely workable blend of business and comfort.
Laing’s owner and director Anna Murray is a fan of the lengthy, voluminous style. “They give a feeling of casual nonchalance while maintaining a boyish elegance,” says Murray. Laing makes a version which is cut long in the leg and is, according to Murray, a great all-rounder. “Our Chaplin pant is a style that looks just as good on a petite frame as it does on a more voluptuous figure.”
Because these trousers are nothing like a tight fit, you can choose how to wear them. Keep them lower on the hip for a slouchy kind of elegance which looks remarkably chic worn with a tonal slouchy sweater. Or belt them high on the waist to make legs look longer.
If you’re worried about getting lost in the fabric, Kim Kardashian (reportedly 1.57m tall) gives a lesson in maintaining balance and proportion. She cinches hers tight and high on the waist, and puts them with a skin-tight top, a reminder of the body beneath.
What shoes to wear? You could try a leg-lengthening trick and go the Dakota Johnson route. She was recently spotted striding about in wide trousers that almost completely veiled the heels beneath – a sort of hidden-stilts effect.
But while hip Hollywood might go for glamour, the fashion-forward style them any which way. At the recent couture shows in Paris we saw them worn with thick-soled hiking sandals, platforms, trainers and slides. Vive la difference.
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