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Wide leg trouser suits

19:17 Posted by Alison
A version of this article originally appeared on


More often than not, when width is added to a women’s suit, it is not the recipe for the chicest of shapes. However, 70s styling is set to be big in the New Year, and when tailored properly to fit, a wide leg trouser suit can be both fashion forward and flattering, taking you from one season to the next with ease.

To add a little personality and ‘flare’ to your work wear, simply remember to abide by the following rules:

  • If you decide to go wide, keep the top trim to look slim.
Wide leg suits demand a fitted blazer. A loose or boxy jacket only succeeds in making you look bigger and squarer than you actually are, hiding rather than enhancing your shape. Discreet darts that nip in the waist help to create definition and balance out your shoulders and hips.

  • Get the perfect fit on and around your hips.
To create a clean and flattering silhouette, you need to make sure that wide leg trousers hang correctly. Whether you choose a high or regular waisted style, if they are ill-fitting around the hips, wide leg trousers will make you look scruffy rather than sharp. Puckering cheapens even the best quality material and reduces the longevity of an outfit, whereas gaping gives the appearance of borrowed clothing, so when it comes to ensuring neat lines, a bespoke suit comes into its own.

  • To appear more slight, enhance your height.
To maximise the elongating effect of wide leg trousers, team them with a pair of narrow heels. Slender heels worn with trousers that cover the majority of your shoes, finishing an inch or two above the floor, give the illusion of longer, leaner legs. Wide leg trousers should not really be worn with flats, even if you are blessed with above average height. They are almost certain to drag on the ground and if they completely cover your toes, it reverses the leg lengthening effect. Instead, opt for a slightly lower or chunkier heel (or if you’re brave, wedges) to retain the floor-skimming effect.

  • Go easy on the details.
If you want your wide leg suit to look modern and wish to prevent it dating easily, keep details to a minimum. Sleek and classically tailored pieces can be accessorized, worn in many different ways and even structurally adapted if required, but a collision of trends seen on one outfit instantly places it in a particular period and reduces its future wearability.

  • If in doubt, rule lighter tones out.
For formal situations, darker colours and denser fabrics appear more professional. Fabrics with medium to high wool content fall better with a more obvious cut and accent colours or a distinctive lining can help break up seemingly stark, dark lines. There is always the danger that wide leg trousers in pale grey, beige or light fabrics will look pyjama-like or too casual to some, so play it safe with butterscotch, plums or darker browns if you want to avoid black.

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All original content is ©Alison Rowley 2012. No words or images may be reproduced without permission from the copyright holder.