Hmm... I must admit I find it hard to resist going into full-on seventies mode when I pull on a pair of palazzos! Here, I’ve paired them with clogs, tie-up cropped tee and a denim gilet for a fun, slightly tongue-in-cheek, retro-hippy-chic vibe, but this kind of medium-wide, cotton pair also looks great with flats and a simple tee for a more 21st century casj look (a la Miss Budget Beauty).
Palazzos (with belt): Primark (Past Season)
Top: River Island (Past Season)
Clogs: New Look (Past Season)
The Super Slink
In heavy, slinky fabric, cut super high at the waist and super wide at the ankles, this style of palazzo is a real show-stopper (but needs to be looong – a bell bottom swinging around your ankle is not a good look, Lily Cole - and kept dark and block-coloured for the sake of decorum).
For turbo-charged seventies disco-chic, I’d pair them with a boob tube (for more crop top inspiration, take a look here), wedges and statement collar necklace/body chain (couldn’t decide!), in metallic tones, topping off the look with a kimono picking up on the feel of the trousers.
To take them into AW, and out of Studio 54 and into the sunlight, they look equally fabulous teamed with jewel-toned chiffon blouses and matching suedette courts, or with slinky knits and boots – metallics maintain a fun, vampy feel, but a chunkier, more casual knit would turn the volume down for a more relaxed feel.
Look 1 – Top: Primark (AW12); Body Chain: Topshop (Past Season); Kimono: Primark (Past Season); Wedges: Carvela (Past Season)
Look 2 – Metallic Knit: H&M (Past Season); Boots: Primark (Past Season)
Look 3 - Blouse: Primark (Past Season); Shoes: Marks & Spencer (Past Season); Earrings: Primark (Past Season)
All-Occasions Smart-Casj, With A Little Help From My Friends...
And if you do happen to want a look which would look a little more out of place at an ABBA tribute night? Never fear, mum and nana are here to show you how...
The Nautical Paper Bag
For an easy, go-anywhere, everyday-chic look, a simple T-shirt tucked into palazzos and topped off with relaxed jersey cover-up (the sleeve detailing here adds a bit of wow factor) always works. A paper-bag waist adds a bit of interest to a fairly simple look, and gives you the added bonus of making sure of a precise fit.
Body: Tu at Sainsbury’s (Past Season)
Cover-Up: New Look (Past Season)
Wedges: Marks & Spencer (SS12)
The Statement Top
A medium-wide leg, black cotton palazzo makes the perfect base for a statement top, applying its figure-flattering properties without competing to be the centre of attention. A patterned top adds interest and draws attention to the upper body and face, whilst darker trousers minimise hips.
Trousers: Next (Past Season)
Top: Per Una at Marks & Spencer (Past Season)
Shoes: Marks & Spencer (Past Season)
The Elite Athlete
And for those of you who are always on the go and need a pair of trousers that will take you from high street to bar to croquet field, like my model here? The palazzo will work for you too (whether you happen to be over 80 or not). This burnt orange shade is sunny enough for summer yet rich enough for AW, and looks chic with flat/mini-wedge metallic sandals. The “straight” wide leg shape makes it elegant, yet imminently wearable. A hip skimming top conceals any unwanted curves, whilst the combination of lighter colour and dropped peplum hem slims hips and thighs.
Trousers: Primark (SS12)
Top: Marks & Spencer (AW12)
Sandals: Marks & Spencer (SS12)
Earrings and Bracelet: Primark (AW12)
Perfecting the Palazzo
Palazzos flatter every body type (and age!), as long as you follow 5 simple rules:
Rule #1: Printed palazzos should generally be kept more casual – choose a straighter cut and team with simple separates to avoid looking like a seventies throwback in a very, very bad way - don’t do a Lily.
Rule #2: Get the length right. Although they should definitely not cover your shoes completely (remember those purple Cheryl Cole nightmare trews?), they should cover at least the uppermost part of your shoes at the back. Longer generally = longer legs and a higher reading on the glam-o-meter.
Rule #3: Get the rise right. High-waisted versions lengthen legs and emphasise a narrow waist. If self-conscious about this area, team with a loose, curve-skimming top, or try a lower rise.
Rule #4: Get the width right. Wider styles exaggerate curves and balance out hips, but may swamp shorter girls. Straighter cuts are more wearable day-to-day, and won’t drown petites.
Rule #5: Get your colour palette right. Darker, block colours are more elegant and best for those with bigger hips – team with a lighter top to maximise slimming potential. Lighter colours and patterns focus attention on the lower half and make real impact, but can optically widen the area – great if you want to add curves, possibly not so great if you don’t – it's usually best to stick to a less exaggerated flare and simple separates if you do decide to go for it.
Tomorrow: How to Wear Double Denim