As any wannabe sartorialist or religious fashion follower knows, the fashion seasons work in advance – so when we have blue skies and sun aplenty outside, fashion designers have already set their sights on what wares they can create and peddle come the winter months. Recently, I have decided to imitate the fashion greats and launch a series of articles detailing the upcoming trends and themes for autumn/winter 2012.

However, fear not, these articles are designed to showcase upcoming trends with a spring/summer 2012 twist – so you can start getting involved ahead of the trend and become the forward-thinking fashion visionaries you really are. Next on the fashion agenda is a menswear trend which tends to split opinion, but proved to be popular on the AW12 runways; wide leg trousers.

AW12 Trend Preview: Wide Leg Trousers

Last year, I featured an article on FashionBeans on this very subject. However, despite proponents for AW11 including Dior Homme, Thierry Mugler and Raf Simons, the general consensus from FashionBeans readers was that although such cuts of trousers provided interesting and fresh silhouettes on the high fashion runways, wide leg trousers are too difficult to incorporate into everyday wear for the modern man.

Our readers felt that the trend wouldn’t take off and that the preference for skinny and slim leg styles would remain. Following the runway shows for AW12 – and also looking at the choice of trouser cuts readily available on the high street – it is clear that wide leg trousers are again returning to the forefront. It got me thinking… Maybe the modern man is ready for a change and would embrace the wider leg trouser this time around?

On The Runways

Wide leg trousers on the runways of Emporio Armani, Dries Van Noten, Kris Van Assche and YSL

On the runways at the various Fashion Weeks across the globe, voluminous, wide leg trousers were embraced by several high fashion designers such as Emporio Armani, Dries Van Noten and Yves Saint Laurent. My two favourites from the high fashion designer collections were Lanvin and Calvin Klein.

Lanvin AW12

Lanvin - Paris Fashion Week - AW12 Menswear

Lanvin’s show in Paris represented a collection which truly demonstrated clear inspiration from the 1970s – not just in the style of the clothes but also the colours used in the pieces. The collection featured high-waisted, wide leg trousers paired in super smart combinations with matching blazers and overcoats, but also with hi-tops and trainers for a slightly more casual look.

The colours used included traditional 70s beige, camel and brown paired with duck egg blue and soft grey. Lanvin even featured a traditional white pair, channelling Saturday Night Fever’s Tony Manero. Lanvin even embraced the current popular trend for pattern by featuring wide leg trousers in thick horizontal stripe patterns – an innovative idea as this print is rarely seen on trousers.

Overall, the effect created from the Lanvin collection was almost cartoonish – in a positive way – with the clothing creating an interesting and refreshing silhouette with pumped out shoulders, a nipped in waist and wide leg trousers.

Calvin Klein AW12

Calvin Klein - AW12 Menswear

My other favourite supporter of this trend at the AW12 shows was the Calvin Klein collection. I really like the cut of the trousers and also admire the way that the wide leg trousers have proven their versatility – being paired with casual, sports-influenced pieces on some models, and then paired with overcoats, shirts and pullovers on other models to create a look that errs on the side of smart rather than scruffy.

In Popular Culture

It wasn’t just the collections on the runways which showed a penchant for a wider legged trouser fit. Behind the scenes at the Yves Saint Laurent show, Head Designer Stefano Pilati was championing the trend that featured heavily in his own YSL AW12 collection, donning a pair of wide leg trousers when he popped onto the runway at the end for his well-deserved applause.

Similarly, male model and fashion enthusiast David Gandy chose to showcase a vintage pair of grey, wide-legged hounds-tooth trousers, complete with oversized turn-ups, at the recent AW12 London Men’s Day and following it up at the more recent London Collections: MEN weekend. He demonstrated that wide leg trousers can be worn practically, and proving that a penchant for a wider leg needn’t automatically equate to scruffiness.

David Gandy has been championing a looser silhouette over recent monthsDavid Gandy has been championing a looser silhouette over recent months

The Fashion Press

The fashion press and media have also recently supported the trend for wider legged trousers. In the spring/summer issue of Another Man magazine there were several editorial spreads following different themes and showing different inspirations – many of them featuring wide leg trousers. A feature dedicated to Yves Saint Laurent’s collection showed a fuller trouser and also a fuller pair of shorts paired with the traditional and infamous YSL safari jacket.

Other editorials in the magazine feature wide leg trousers from a range of designers including Calvin Klein, Emporio Armani and Wooyoungmi used to create both casual outfits with sports-style sweats, and smart, more tailored aesthetics.

Similarly, in the same magazine issue, there is also a spread titled ‘Some Lost Bliss’ that features a series of photographs on a beach with an underlying 70s ‘hippy’ theme. Over the past few months, Esquire online have also featured a series on ‘How to get the 70s Look’, and have included figures of inspiration such as Marlon Brando and Al Pacino in their 70s heyday to create a classic, louche 70s look with wide legged trousers.

The Great Gatsby

In my last article, I wrote that the popularity of certain television shows such as Boardwalk Empire had shown an influence on menswear – much like Mad Men did for 60s tailored suits and the resurgence of the pocket square. This year, the biggest media influence that could influence the uptake of wide leg trousers is the pending release of Baz Luhrmann’s film, ‘The Great Gatsby.’

Set in the roaring 20s, when wide leg trousers in suiting were all the rage, this film promises to fuel the popularity for a fuller trouser in menswear. ‘The Gatsby’ inspiration has already impacted the recent womenswear collections, and I think it is inevitable that an aspect of this will (and perhaps has already) spilled over into menswear.

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Great GatsbyWill Leo and The Great Gatsby Film Increase the popularity of wide leg trousers for men?

How To Wear

The looks featured in summer issues of magazines such as Another Man and Esquire have demonstrated that the wide leg trouser trend is just as applicable to SS12 as it is to AW12 – so if this is a trend which interests you, there is nothing to stop you from supporting it already and getting ahead of the sartorial masses. Many high street collections have already embraced the trend with ASOS, AllSaints and Levis featuring wide leg trousers in their collections.

As can be seen from the designer runway shows – wide leg trousers are versatile enough to be portrayed as smart or casual – and can successfully compliment other on-going trends such as the sports-influence or the trend for colour and pattern.

Wide Leg Trousers Lookbook

Men's Wide Leg Trousers Lookbook

Current Men’s Wide Leg Trousers
  • Carven Cotton-canvas Suit TrousersCarven Cotton-canvas Suit Trousers
  • Richard James Linen Suit TrousersRichard James Linen Suit Trousers
  • Collezione Linen Miracle™ Flat Front TrousersCollezione Linen Miracle™ Flat Front Trousers
  • Asos Black Wide Leg TrousersAsos Black Wide Leg Trousers
  • Carolyn Massey For Asos Topstitch TrousersCarolyn Massey For Asos Topstitch Trousers
  • Superdry Parachuter PantSuperdry Parachuter Pant
  • Silent – Damir Doma Pima Black Onyx TrousersSilent - Damir Doma Pima Black Onyx Trousers
  • Alexander Mcqueen Flannel Trousers 125099Alexander Mcqueen Flannel Trousers 125099
  • Maison Martin Margiela Anatomic Trousers 58206Maison Martin Margiela Anatomic Trousers 58206
  • Maison Martin Margiela 10 Mens PantsMaison Martin Margiela 10 Mens Pants
  • Balenciaga Mens Silk-blend Pleated TrousersBalenciaga Mens Silk-blend Pleated Trousers
  • B-store Basil Pleat Tweed TrousersB-store Basil Pleat Tweed Trousers
  • Burton Jack Reid Grey Prince Of Wales Check TrousersBurton Jack Reid Grey Prince Of Wales Check Trousers
  • Asos Pleated ChinoAsos Pleated Chino
  • Levis Vintage 1920s Loose Tapered PantLevis Vintage 1920s Loose Tapered Pant
  • Austin Reed Wrinkle Free Khaki Pleat ChinosAustin Reed Wrinkle Free Khaki Pleat Chinos
  • Jaeger Pick And Pick TrouserJaeger Pick And Pick Trouser
  • The Classic Khaki Straight FitThe Classic Khaki Straight Fit
Final Word

As I mentioned earlier, the wide leg trouser seems to be a trend which really does polarise opinion – with a lot of people simply not seeing the appeal. I think a lot of men see wide leg trousers as only being associated with a scruffy, untidy, unfinished look, but the images portrayed by the fashion designer runway collections undoubtedly prove that baggy and loose needn’t mean scruffy and uber-casual.

Perhaps it is time for men to embrace something different to the traditional status quo preference for skinny, slim-fit styles. As a recent article in the Guardian said: ‘…no trouser style has really given the slim or skinny leg an actual run for its money’ – maybe it is time for something fresh to come along and challenge this perception.

But what do you think out there? Do you see a market for wider leg trousers or do you think the skinnier, slim styles will reign supreme for another season? Is a wider leg something you think you could open your mind to?

We look forward to hearing your thoughts.