Slim-fit and skinny trousers may have dominated in recent years, but this season offers the opportunity to loosen up your wardrobe as legs get wider and waistbands higher. Also known as Oxford Bags, so-called because of their popularity in the early 20th century with students at the famous university, over the decades the style has seen several resurgences in popularity, from the 1950s Rat Pack era to the experimental fashion of the 1980s. As they make another comeback, there are more ways than ever to style the distinctive silhouette.
As with any well-considered outfit, the key is in the fit. ‘The most important and probably the most fundamental change will be where you wear your wider legged trousers,’ explains Guy Hills, director of menswear brand Dashing Tweeds. ‘Place your thumb on the top of your hipbone and you’ve found the place. It can be up to three inches higher than your current waistband. The height from the crotch to the waistband on trousers is known as the rise and the key to pulling off the current look is to make sure that the rise of your wide trousers is high enough to allow them to be worn with comfort on your waist.’
Once correct measurements have been mastered, it becomes a matter of picking the best material to suit the cut. Hills recommends a mid-to-heavyweight fabric, allowing the trousers to both hang well and hold their shape. It’s here that Dashing Tweeds’ specialism, merino wool, comes into its own, available in an array of stripes, checks and other weave structures. The brand also offers lighter blends, ensuring a flattering drape while keeping you cool. As we come into the summer months, wear with a polo shirt to emulate the laid-back cool of Gene Kelly, or pair an extra-wide leg with a simple shirt in a nod to a classic Bowie look.