Keren Beaumont, Personal Stylist London
For the first installment of my 'Personal Stylist's Guide to' series, I'm giving my top tips on shopping for and choosing the best trousers. This felt like an obvious place to start because it's the area that my clients struggle with the most before meeting me!
For many there seems to be a shroud of mystery around shopping for the perfect fit trouser and often default to just one pair of black trousers that they are not even 100% sure are right for them.
Reasons that I've been given for avoiding trouser shopping range from 'they highlight my belly area' to 'I always have to have them altered' to 'they make my bum look flat'..
In reality, it's just a simple matter of having a set of rules to work to for your body type.
In today's post, I am going to give you some easy to follow pointers to help you choose trousers that fit effortlessly and suit your body shape.
Expert Tip 1 - How to choose trousers to affect the look of your mid-section
One of the first tips that I want to share about choosing the best trousers is how to decide whether you need a high, medium or low waisted style.
Pear or Balanced Hourglass
If your waist is notably narrower than your hips, it is best to go for mid to high waisted styles. We cut an outfit into vertical portions, (top and bottom) when wearing separates, the break point between the two forms a 'focal point' and we want this focal point at the narrower rather than wider area of your torso.
If you have a long rise measurement (distance from groin to belly button) you might need to go for high rather than mid-rise styles.
For tall ladies or those with a particularly long torso, you may even need a super-high rise.
A mid-rise is the way to go if you feel that your bust is quite close to your waistline and want to avoid shortening the torso.
A mid to high rise style also gives the impression of longer legs.
Inverted Triangle, Rectangle or Apple
If you body type is fairly straight through the middle (when looking directly face-on to the mirror), you will be best off wearing a mid to low rise style.
A mid rise is a good choice if you feel conscious of your tummy area as it will provide some extra coverage here and will also help to lengthen the legs. Apple shapes often do well with mid-rise styles.
For an inverted triangle body type, either a mid or low rise can work, what's most important for you is the leg shape.
A regular or low rise style works well on those with a shorter torso, creating balanced proportions.
Expert Tip 2 - Your perfect leg shape for trousers
The ideal trouser leg should flatter the proportions of the upper body. To choose the best trousers, you need to understand which shape is best for your body type
Since the widest part of your body is the hip area, we want to avoid wearing anything that tapers you downwards and inwards toward a narrow point at the ankle. It's all about proportionality. The narrower the line at the ankles, the wider, your hips will appear.
The best shapes for you therefore are, a Slim Straight Leg, a Straight Leg, a Wide Leg, a Bootcut or a Culotte.
You can wear most leg shapes since your upper and lower body are in proportion: Skinny, Slim, Slim Straight Leg, Peg Leg, Straight Leg, Wide Leg, Bootcut or Palazzo.
If you wear a very exaggerated shoulder, it is wise to avoid a skinny leg trouser as these could leave you looking top heavy in this scenario.
You can also wear a flare cut: this will make you look even more 'hourglass' than usual.
The goal of dressing a Triangle is to create balance between the lower and upper portions of the body. Any trouser shape that gives a little width to the lower body works well: Straight Leg, Pleated Peg Leg, Wide Leg, Bootcut, Flare or Palazzo.
Since your proportions are fairly balanced, you can wear most leg shapes: Skinny, Slim, Slim Straight Leg, Straight Leg, peg Leg, Wide Leg, Bootcut, Flare or Palazzo. What is more important for you to be particular about is the rise height and shape of the hip area.
Apple body types often feel more comfortable drawing the eye to their legs than their mid-section. A slim or peg legged trouser can be a great way to showcase your best asset and is a better option than a skinny as it does not taper to such a narrow point on the ankle and will avoid making you look top heavy. A boot cut or flare shape can also work well.
"The right trousers will perfectly balance your proportions and only draw attention to your best assets" – Keren Beaumont
Expert Tip 3 - To pleat or not to pleat: How to choose the right trouser waist band
Pleats on trousers add a beautiful, chic drape and happen to be very on-trend whilst also being a timeless look. These work wonders for certain body types whilst create imbalance in others.
A flat front style is going to work best as it skims the mid section and avoids adding any bulk to the hip area. An exception to this rule is with very wide leg culotte styles which can handle a soft pleat which will also disguise a tummy.
You will look great in both flat or pleat front. A pleat will however add a little more volume to the hip area and so to avoid creating imbalance top to bottom, you might want to go for a top with a little structure or volume in the shoulder (or use a shoulder pad).
A pleat front is fantastic for creating balance between the shoulders and the hips. You can also wear flat front styles but would suggest avoiding wearing these with tight fitting tops.
A pleat front style is an effortless way to create an impression of curve to the waistline. Flat front styles work well too as long as your top is a boxy or blousy shape.
Flat fronted styles work best for you
Expert Tip 4 - Colour matters! Choosing the best colour trousers
When choosing the best trouser and top combination, keep your trouser colour the same colour as your top or even better, at least one shade darker than your top.
Balanced Hourglass or Rectangle
You can wear trousers that are the same colour, lighter or darker than your top (providing you have kept your proportions in balance as per tips 1,2 and 3)
Inverted Triangle or Apple
Keep your trouser colour the same colour as your top or even better, at least one shade lighter than your top.
Expert Tip 5 - Fabric is king when choosing the best trousers
Pear and Balanced Hourglass
Fabrics with drape are better than very rigid fabrics as they will move with the curves of your body. A stretch can be very beneficial for a good fit. Avoid very light weight sheer or silky fabrics with not much weight and substance since they will not offer support. A fabric with substance and strength will be much more flattering when choosing the best trousers.
Rectangle and Inverted Triangle
Choice of fabric is less important for you than fit.
Avoid very light weight sheer or silky fabrics with not much weight and substance since they will not offer support. A fabric with substance and strength will be much more flattering
Expert Tip 6 - Perfect Lengths
Skinny, Slim and Slim Straight Legs
On or just above the ankle bone. There should be a small gap between the trouser hem and the top of the shoe (otherwise your trousers look too long causing your legs to look shorter).
Wide leg, Culotte, Bootcut and Flare Legs
Floor skimming (a couple of mm above the floor) is the most leg lengthening look as it maximises the full available length. These can also be cropped just above the ankle bone and this works particularly well on those with longer legs.
Remember, a regular trouser hem is the least expensive and quickest alteration and so don't regard a great pair of trousers just because they are a bit long.
Enjoy finding your perfect pair of trousers! Keren Beaumont, Personal Stylist London..
Revisit my free video tutorial : 'Discover your Colour Season and Body Type' Here
Or sign up for my live 'How to upgrade your own wardrobe webinar' Here