Do you hear that sound? That’s the swishing of a new era in men’s legwear. The slim fit’s reign is officially over, as wider silhouettes start to filter down from the fringes of fashion and into the mainstream.
Until fairly recently, these roomy pants were reserved for only the most forward-thinking of dressers. But as more and more celebrities, influencers and stylists have jumped onto the wide-leg bandwagon, they’ve become a very real and prominent part of the modern menswear landscape.
If you’re still squeezing yourself into a pair of slim- or skinny-fit pants every morning then this guide is for you. We’re not saying you need to abandon slim legwear altogether. It’s more that welcoming some wider pants into your wardrobe could help to freshen up your personal style. It offers more scope for playing with proportions, it’s more comfortable and it opens up a whole new world of styling possibilities.
From what to look for to the best brands to buy, here’s everything you need to know before you embrace the wide-leg look.
Why Are Wide-Leg Trousers Trending?
Fashion moves in waves. Whatever’s in at any given point in time, it’s safe to assume that in a decade the exact opposite will be cool. That’s pretty much what happened here. Sausage-casing legwear ruled supreme for much of the late 2000s and 2010s. Now the pendulum has swung the other way.
It’s symptomatic of a broader shift that’s been taking place in menswear for quite some time now. A few years back, it was all slim fits, minimalism and cropped cuts. Today, maximalism prevails across the board, from chunky sneakers and oversized hoodies to wide-leg trousers and baggy jeans.
And now that all of these things have hit the mainstream, anything overly tight or fitted can look a little dated.
Wide Leg Trousers Buying Considerations
Well, they need to be wide, obviously. Aside from that there are a few things to think about.
There are lots of different types of wide-leg trousers to consider. There’s the baggy sort that stack on top of footwear, the slightly cropped kind that swish freely around the ankles, or there’s the classic straight-leg pants that have been cut extra wide for maximum comfort (think Dickies work pants).
If this is your first foray into wide-fitting legwear, we’d encourage you to go for something along the lines of the latter.
The fabric your trousers are made from will affect how they hang. This is particularly important for wide-leg trousers.
If you want them to stack on top of your shoes, a thicker fabric like twill or denim is best. If you like them more flowing and breezy, go for something softer and lighter, like a linen-blend or brushed cotton.
For maximum versatility, it’s always best to pick trousers in a neutral tone that will go with lots of other colours. Navy, black, dark green, grey or khaki are all safe bets.
The Best Wide-Leg Trouser Brands
Below you’ll find some of our favourite labels to shop for wide-leg trousers right now, from up-and-coming independents to streetwear behemoths.
Elevated essentials brand Wax London has a number of roomy legwear options available, ranging from cropped pants to baggy jeans.
The Kurt trousers are Wax’s signature style, and although the tapered fit makes them quite narrow at the leg opening, they’re nice and roomy everywhere else. We think this makes them a solid option for anyone moving away from slim-fit legwear for the first time, who perhaps doesn’t feel ready to go full Harry Styles just yet.
Closed has been offering top-tier denim since the 1970s, but there’s plenty more legwear on offer than just jeans.
There are three styles of wide-leg pants to choose from, including the Livington, the Belfast, the Freeport and the Otago. The latter is one of our favourites. It features a double-pleated waist and elegant drape that’ll work with everything from tucked T-shirts to tailoring.
Be warned though, it is extremely wide. If you’re just transitioning from slim fits then you might want to go for something a little less dramatic.
COS is our go-to high-street store when it comes to forward-thinking shapes, cuts and silhouettes at accessible prices. It’s somewhere you can piece together runway worthy looks on a reasonably modest budget, and it’s a great place to shop for wide-leg trousers.
There’s certainly no shortage of them to choose from.
Since Noah’s Brendon Babenzien has been at the helm of J.Crew’s creative direction, the brand’s wide-leg styles have been flying off the shelves.
The Giant Fit Chino is the trouser at the centre of the hype, offering classic chino looks with a very generous and roomy cut.
Weekday is another great option for trend-led pieces at reasonable price points.
The retailer’s legwear options are pretty much exclusively loose-fitting and wide, ranging from parachute-style cargo pants to relaxed-fit joggers.
Prices for trousers are between £40 and £60, making them fairly accessible. Check out the Lewis suit trousers if you’re stuck for somewhere to start.
For wide-leg trousers on a budget, check out what’s on offer at Uniqlo. The Japanese retailer has a number of loose-fitting legwear styles to choose from, including relaxed-fit chinos and breezy linen pants for summer.
American workwear brand Dickies is known for making some of the most iconic wide-leg trousers in the game.
The label’s original 874 Work Pants have long been a skateboarding staple and they’re great value for the money. Comfortable, durable, versatile and classic.
Carhartt WIP is the streetwear-infused offshoot of historic American workwear label Carhartt. It’s been doing wide legs since long before the look blew up and still has plenty of baggy styles to pick from today.