What style of trousers should I be wearing now?

I recently received an email from a friend who was delighted that she'd finally modernised her husband and got him into some slim fitting trousers.

Ironically, the very day that she sent me that message, I'd been at a menswear event (Permanent Style pop up at Fortnum & Mason) where a large majority of the men (admittedly most worked in the fashion industry) were wearing pleat front, wider legged ones.

And a month or two before that, my friend David from Grey Fox blog had been looking for some slightly wider, higher waist, pleat front ones with turn ups.

So what on earth should you be wearing? Wide? Skinny? In between? Which will look modern and which is dated or too fashion led?

Classic shapes change in menswear but it takes a long time, so here's my take on what style trousers are available at the moment and who I think they're best suited to.

Skinny leg

Skinny trousers and jeans - what shape trousers should I be wearing

Left: Rag & Bone skinny chino at End Clothing £169  

Right: Rag & Bone skinny fit jeans at Mr Porter £190

The skinny leg trouser look has been around for a long time now, and has become the new normal. In fact when shopping for trousers and jeans for clients, this is still the predominant shape, and I bought these 2 pairs above recently with a client. He was in his thirties, had a good physique and was a relatively classic dresser.

However, things are on the move and have been for a couple of years, though it'll probably be a couple more before the skinny shape begins to look dated, you can be sure we'll be looking at the Love Islanders super skinny jeans in the not too distant future and wondering what the hell they were wearing?  So my advice would be to continue wearing these if you feel comfortable in them but perhaps choose ones that don't resemble leggings and are a tiny bit wider, and perhaps start thinking about some alternatives too.

Who they're for: young, slim guys who are fashionable but not leaders of fashion.

Slim leg

Slim trousers - what shape trousers should I be wearing - styling for men

Left: Joseph stretch gabardine trousers £235  

Right: For All Mankind khaki Slimmy jeans at Harvey Nichols £190

So I think my friend was spot on with her husband in choosing him some slimmer cut trousers to update his wardrobe. When shopping with my clients, this is what I'm buying with the majority of them as it's become the modern classic shape. This week I bought the 2 pairs above with a client which are slim but not too much so, making them suitable for a work environment without making a particular statement. These 2 pairs had a little more room in the calf area so if you have developed calf muscles like my client did, they will work well for you.

If you're new to this look then go for a flat front and have them tailored slightly shorter than you may be used to, so they sit just on top of your shoe. You may find you'll also need to update the shape of your shoes and go with something a little more elegant. Also check that your blazer and shirts complement your trousers, and if necessary go for a slimmer slightly shorter cut for those too, so your overall look is a little more streamlined and fitted.

Who they're for: classic dressers of any age who want to update their look to be more modern

Pleat front - slightly wider

Pleat top trouser shapes - personal shopping and styling for men

Left: Rubinacci pleat front trousers at Mr Porter £360

Right: Custom made trousers for David Evans at Grey Fox blog from Susannah Hall Tailors

This is the style that David Evans from Grey Fox blog was looking for. He wanted a change from skinny and slim legs, so we searched around something that had a pleat top, a fuller cut and turn-ups, preferably with a high rise - you can see his blog post on his findings here. The best was a pair of Katherine Hamnett moleskin ones but they were a little too baggy on the thigh and seat area for David and they didn't go down too well with his Instagram followers! So he resorted to getting some stop gap ones in Massimo Dutti (slightly lower rise than he'd wanted) whilst he commissioned Susannah Hall to make these (pictured above).

This style is starting to come through now to the high street and there's probably a large chunk of guys who will embrace this looser, more comfortable style. It's not too extreme but most likely will feel a little different and make a welcome change in your wardrobe, sitting alongside your slim leg trousers. I would suggest choosing a tapered leg rather than wide to make them easier to wear and do make sure that the rest of your outfit is up to scratch, just to make certain this is a stylish statement and you haven't been wearing them since they were last fashionable about 15 years ago.

Who they're for: men that are looking for a change from slim and skinny without being too extreme

Wide legged

Wide straight leg trousers - what shape trousers should I be wearing - shopper

Left: Acne brushed cotton twill trousers at Mr Porter £200  

Right: Studio Nicholson wool trousers at Mr Porter £325

If you were one of the early adopters of the slim cut, then you may be ready to go for a much looser cut. This style is reminiscent of the 40s & 50s where a loose high waisted style was the classic cut of the day. This is a good look for you if you're a large, tall man, as it's in proportion with your body shape, and if you have a large seat and/or thighs you'll probably find this style more comfortable. 

The designer of E Tautz, Patrick Grant falls into this category and a lot of his designs are very oversized and baggy like these chinos. Interestingly when David (from Grey Fox blog) and I tried out the straight cut chinos on a shoot we did a couple of years ago, even though he's a much slimmer build, when I put the picture on Pinterest, it's one of the most re-pinned posts I've ever had! Whether or not people are actually wearing this look, I don't know, but they seem to really like it.

I think this look is easiest to wear if you turn up the trousers to make them a bit cropped and wear them with boots. You could start by going for slightly looser jeans, and progress to a more formal version like chinos or flannels. Be aware that you'll need a fairly sturdy, chunky pair of shoes to balance out the width of the trousers.

Who they're for: fashion forward guys who are looking for new shapes to try, and large, tall guys with big legs

So which do you think you'll be wearing this Autumn / Winter?

If you'd like some help choosing new trousers and jeans then get in touch for a personal shopping trip.

You may also like:

Where to buy trousers to fit chunky thighs and calves

Where to shop if you have chunky thighs and calves

Textured trousers on Sartoria Lab blog personal shopping styling for men


Textured trousers - an alternative to jeans and chinos