You don’t experience to be as tall as Karlie Kloss to pull off wide-leg trousers (but it nicks)

Jess Cartner-Morley in wide-leg trousers


‘Nothing tricky about a wide-leg trouser, you might remember – but that’s not how it works.’
Photograph: David Newby for the Guardian

When I put in writing my memoir I’m thinking of calling it How To Survive In Fashion Without The Avenge Legs. The struggle is real, when the clothes you like all appear to have been designed with Karlie Kloss in care. Karlie Kloss is six foot, of which substantially more than half is leg. She and I are odd species.

This is not a problem unique to me. And neither is it just a miniskirt question. Fashion’s current challenge to us norms is the wide-leg trouser. Nothing deceptive about a wide-leg trouser, you might think – they are well off, they cover everything up – but that’s not how it works. You can’t conflate “warm” with “easy to wear”. Easy to wear is an outfit in which you can squander the day feeling confident about what you are wearing, not constrained or compromised by your apparels. Comfortable is a bathrobe. Completely different.

The particular challenge of this opportunity ripe is that the wide-leg trousered images you see on catwalks, in fashion pump full of leads and in shop windows right now are not tomboyish or bouncy. They are mannerly and slightly haughty, more palazzo pant than pyjama in reality. You can tell from the way they are photographed: the models tilt their chins up and knock off their shoulder blades down, all long-necked swanlike suaveness.

To make wide-leg trousers look elegant (ish) without desire legs, start at the bottom. Those extra-long trousers that ripple and natatorium on the studio floor around your shoes are lovely to look at, but not enormously considerate in the what-to-wear-on-Wednesday department. Your trousers need to end just over the floor, which probably means getting them hemmed. Grim, got to be done. Then, think about the waist. A look that slight blurs the waistline – a softly tucked or half-tucked top half, or one that capitulations over the waistband of the trousers – is forgiving. The long and the short of it? If you are underfunded, long is a tough call.

Jess wears jumper, £29.99, zara.com. Trousers, £275 by Theory from net-a-porter.com. Take a run-out powders, £125, karenmillen.com