Wednesday, 12 September 2012

How to Wear... Cropped Trousers

The cropped trouser is another one of those things that, a few years ago, I would never have imagined waxing lyrical about, but is now an integral part of my wardrobe. They leave your ankles cold if you wear them between October and May, and, if you get the length wrong, they can instantly transform you into a munchkin. But, with the judicious use of socks and turn-ups, they're unbeaten in the art of adding a touch of insouciant androgyny to any trend, and can even have limb-lengthening properties...

The Capri
The Tweed Peg Leg
The AW Colour Pop
The Baroque
Making the Crop Work For You

The Capri
OK, I'll admit this is one instance in which the crop really can't be considered androgynous - a spray on denim pedal-pusher/capri pant style = instant laid-back fifties chic. A peplum balances out the bodycon fit whilst retaining a classic retro outline. I find that heels (chunky wedges are most shopping - er, I mean walking - friendly) give the most elegant leg line when rocking such a tight fit.

Top: Primark (AW12)
Trousers: ASOS (Past Season)
Shoes: New Look (Past Season)
Belt: Primark (Past Sesaon)

The Tweed Peg Leg
These set me back £5 in the Primark sale, but feel like they could have been made for me - the perfect combination of masculine and feminine, with a sharp nod to the ever-trending heritage vibe. I tend to stick to a muted, tonal colour palette, to keep it chic and avoid any Rupert the Bear associations.

I like to play on the androgynous aspect by varying the blend of masculinity and femininity in my co-ordinates, e.g. feminising loafers by choosing printed or heeled versions (or wearing with frilly socks!), or teaming a feminine top with a quiffed up-do.

Great with cropped tops in warmer weather to show off the tailoring at the waist and hips, I'll be teaming them with sharp tucked-in shirts and preppy knits in winter.

Trousers: Primark (Past Season)
Look 1 - Top: ASOS (Past Season); Shoes: New Look (Past Season)
Look 2 - Top: Miss Selfridge (Past Season); Shoes: Primark (AW12)
Look 3 - Top: H&M (Past Season); Shoes: Primark (Past Season); Socks: Topshop (Past Season); Cardigan: Primark (Past Season)

The AW Colour Pop
This deep plum colour is my favourite autumnal tone - so much so that during last year's Christmas shop, my dad actually asked the rather bemused staff where the "plum department" was when we got separated.

Colour pop crops work well with neutrals or blocked with similar tones; with cropped knits or tuck-ins; and with cute woolly ankle socks or printed sheer knee highs for a more elegant, vintage-style feel.

Trousers: New Look (Past Season)
Look 1 - Jumper: Primark (Past Season); Shoes: Peacocks (Past Season); Socks: Topshop (Past Season)
Look 2 - Jumper: Primark (Past Season); Shoes: Dorothy Perkins (Past Season); Knee Highs: Primark

The Baroque
One of the AW 2012 trends, there's no escaping Baroque print this season. The navy crop offers a slightly more casual way to work the look (well, more casual than flocked gold-on-black velvet, yes?).

Again, this colour works well with both neutrals and other autumnal tones (e.g. plum). So far, I've created two looks from my latest buy.

The first plays on the capri-like shape, adding a peplum and T-bar wedges to conjure up a flirty fifties feel.

The second is my take on eighties power-dressing, teaming the trousers with a "trophy" statement-shouldered lace jacket and killer courts for a "suit" effect. The neutral tone and cropped cut of the jacket keep the overall effect from being too overwhelming, and anchor it in the 21st century.

Trousers (with velvet belt): Primark (AW12)
Look 1 - Top: Primark (AW12); Shoes: Marks & Spencer (AW12); Necklace: Primark (Past Season)
Look 2 - Jacket: Primark (Past Season); Shoes: Pied A Terre (Past Season)

Making the Crop Work for You
When it's right, it's very, very right, but when it's wrong, it's horrid.

Experiment to find your perfect length and cut - petite girls are usually better off with a shorter length (you can often just turn them up to suit, depending on the style) and a more fitted shape - looser, ankle-length versions can shorten legs. High waistlines also lengthen legs.

On taller girls, a longer length and peg leg shape looks chic.

Peg leg styles with added volume at the hips are great for adding curves to skinny girls, but may or may not suit those with bigger hips, depending on the cut.

Apple-shaped ladies with great legs can handle more fitted styles, teamed with loose or peplum-enhanced tops.

Very pear-shaped girls, and those with chunky calves or ankles, may not get on with the cropped trouser (don't hate me!) - do experiment - you might just find a pair with the perfect length and cut to suit you - but if you'd rather not bother with the hassle, stick to full-length - wide-legged styles and less-structured full-length peg legs will look fab.

Tomorrow: How to Wear Palazzo Pants

See more posts featuring cropped trousers here

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