Drumroll, please, for the new star of your wardrobe: the Personality Trouser. Also known as the Ambitious Pant. Or the Character Jean. Are you getting the picture? The one-fell-swoop way to update your look is to make your trousers the centre of attention.
The Personality Trouser could be silver – I’m quite smitten with this silver pair myself – but it could just as easily be an elegant wide-legged white tailored trouser, with a knife-sharp front crease and a hem that hits the top of your shoe. Or it could be a voluminous pair of swaggering barrel-legged denim jeans. It could be anything leather, or as simple as a satin-striped tuxedo trouser.
The personality trouser takes a bit of getting used to. I don’t know about you, but I’m not used to a look-at-me trouser. My idea of a great pair of trousers is a wardrobe anchor, something neutral and flattering and versatile. The trousers I love – my longstanding favourites are mostly from Jigsaw, Reiss or Me+Em, all reliably brilliant for tailored trousers – are the workhorses of my wardrobe, not the show ponies.
I often wear trousers to go out of an evening, when a dress feels a bit too formal or, to be honest, just a bit too much of an effort. Even if you are in a tuxedo suit and heels, there is something modern and laid-back about going out-out in strides that makes the whole going-out vibe feel more doable and less of a faff. But usually, trousers as part of a dressy look are there as the sidekick to my fancier top half, whether that’s a posh knit or a silk camisole or a snazzy jacket.
The genius of a personality trouser is that you get all that modern, laid-back trouser energy, but flipping the emphasis upside down is unexpected. This makes you an interesting dresser, and interesting dressers look like interesting people. Never underestimate the power of looking interesting. It is lovely, obviously, to have people look over and think how elegant or chic you look but on the whole nobody will make a beeline to tell you a joke or swap gossip because you look elegant or chic. A personality trouser doesn’t just make you look fashionable; much more importantly, it makes you look like an intriguing human being.
These aren’t just fashionable; they will make you an interesting dresser – and an intriguing human being
At Paris fashion week, the personality trouser was happening all around me. So I started wearing the Reiss wide-legged white trousers, which I had brought as partywear, during the day instead, and loved how instantly glam and fresh it felt. Well, apart from the day when I sat on a chocolate biscuit, but I’m quite sure you are less of a klutz than me, dear reader.
At the shows last year, the front row look was all about a trouser suit. The jacket is now optional, so long as your trousers have enough attitude to bring the party all by themselves. Pleats at the front bring extra swagger. Dig out your belts and start wearing them again. A belt – just a straightforward black or brown leather number, with a metal buckle – is a great way of adding emphasis to simple trousers.
Since then, my go-to has been a pair of straight legged black leather trousers by Autograph at M&S. I got mine last year, but they have a very similar pair this season. They have an elasticated waist which, with a top French-tucked at the front, is much nicer than it sounds – and means that they don’t feel Too Much in the way leather trousers often do. My top tip: whatever personality trouser you choose, go for a relaxed fit, rather than anything too fitted. We often equate glamour with tight clothes, but a jazzy colour or fabric is more than enough here.
The personality trouser is the perfect plus one for the most fascinating character at the party – you. Silver? Why not. It’s your time to shine.
Hair and make-up: Sophie Higginson using Davines and Lisa Eldridge beauty. Model: Marie at Milk. Trousers: mango. Silk vest: Raey from matches. Boots: lk bennett. Earrings, necklaces & ring: Astley Clarke