More and more, I can’t help but wonder – are skinny jeans “dead”? Of course, when they brought to an end the fascination with boot cut and ultra baggy trousers they were a breath of fresh air. A radical alternative that showed that trousers could be more than they had been for the 1990s and early 2000s. Perhaps that pendulum swung too far the other way. Yes, fashion is cyclical. It is a bit of a truism. So perhaps I am being swept along by a paradigm shift. But I remember the process of transitioning from the baggy, to tapered, to skinny trousers. I feel like I have learnt enough about the other crucial things in fashion, other than fit, to move on. I’m talking about factors like:
How clothes drape on my body
The effects of different fabrics on feel and function
The way clothes can signal ideas, aesthetics…
So we come to Relaxed leg trousers, straight leg trousers, anything that is not in boot-cut territory but is no longer skin-tight.
I am not talking so much about the Saint Laurent/Dior Homme aesthetic of skinny jeans, but the ripped-up, fake homeless style inspired by the brand Fear of God. My problem is that skinny jeans now seem synonymous with wearing loud brands and conspicuous consumption generally. We should not allow “trends” to be the true diktat of our style or our wardrobes. The planet cannot cope, and neither can we.
Recently I made a purchase that is the first step on this road away from skinny jeans as my go-to, towards non-denim, equally classic, trousers. I am talking about my capsule being based on items like combat/workwear style chinos (think Dickies/Carhartt style), minimalist tailored trousers in natural materials like wool and cotton (perhaps with some stretch to help with comfort). They were on sale at Uniqlo for a meagre £8, and for that kind of money I could not pass up a chance to experiment. I had already been enjoying wearing classic sportswear style joggers instead of jeans when I could, as a kind of trial on wearing more relaxed trousers over the constriction of skinny denim (not the Hypebeast/Outfit Society style that is always super-skinny, made of jersey, the kind that will go baggy after almost no time wearing them).
Here’s the Relaxed Trousers:
Uniqlo’s Men’s “Wide Fit Chino Trousers”
These relaxed trousers have a shorter inseam than is typically found on Uniqlo’s trousers. This was absolutely key in my decision to try them out. I tend to either go for a 32 or a 30-inch inseam on my jeans and trousers, not a 34 inch leg. When worn higher-waisted, sitting on my hips, the fit is very comfortable and the wide-leg is definitely not too long. However I do have to watch that the trousers do not ride down a bit naturally through walking around. I do not want that puddling look.
So I have two looks for you, one incorporating a flannel shirt, which has a classic, red/black/white and grey pattern. The second has an exceedingly soft sweatshirt in a (dare I say risky, and slightly preppy) off-white tone. Both outfits are really made by the relaxed trousers, though. Forgive the first photo, my light was so poor that this filter was needed. Lesson learnt.
Outfit combo 1 – trousers tone with the top
The above is taken the day I got these relaxed trousers, as well as the flannel. I have been looking at both these types of items for some time, especially a flannel with a classic red tone that dominates.
Combo two – trousers contrast with the top
For me, you really want relaxed leg trousers to either sit cropped or just on top of your footwear. Others have made the longer, draped-over boots/shoes look good, but I’m not a huge fan of how wearing them lower on the waist like that affects the fit on the leg (everything moves down and bunches up more). Just as skinny trousers are a minefield, so too are straight and relaxed leg trousers.
In terms of outerwear, I think these vintage-looking trousers look great with a longer coat like an overcoat, as well as more sporty heritage styles like my wool-and-leather varsity jacket (which I love to wear in autumn and the beginnings of winter, before it gets too wet to wear anything other than a waterproof jacket, or classic duffle coat).
How I pair trousers like these with jackets and coats
Have a great day, and look forward to much more content in the coming year.