Three Ways: Bright Skinny Trousers

Aug 23, 2011

Brightly colored, ankle-length trousers will be everywhere this Fall.  But before we discuss how to style them, a word of caution:

More than half of all American women will look awful in these pants.  I will look awful in these pants.  The skinny style, the lightly-tapered leg, the verging-on-capri-length, and the cuffs will do my tush no favors.  If I buy them, I will also need to buy a sign that says “Wide Load.”  

Cruel?  Maybe.  But since there are several styles of pants that make my pear-shaped rear look curvy in a good way, why would I indulge in one that makes it wider from every angle?  

As a result, I, like many of you, will be purchasing a colored, full length trouser instead of the pants I am featuring today.  It will be more flattering but in keeping with the spirit of the trend.  So if you suspect (or already know) that these pants are not for you, simply sub-in a bright, wide leg trouser like these.  Now, let’s get on with it, shall we?

Polyvore Set Here.

When wearing brightly-colored pants to work, it’s important that you wear other pieces with classic and conservative cuts and colors.  No need to overwhelm your co-worker’s retinas.  So for this outfit, I mixed the grape, wool pants with a high-neck, polka-dotted blouse.  It has a dash of mid-century panache, but with a masculine belt to pull the oufit together, the look is more modern than vintage.

Add a structured handbag and a statement ring, in a coordinating blue, and the outfit is relaxed but chic.  Also, when wearing colored pants, I believe in wearing neutral shoes.  Especially when they’re ankle lenghth, you need all the visual elongation that you can get.

Polyvore Set Here.

If your office is a bit more conservative, aka requires a jacket, mixing in a camel blazer is a chic way to look preppy and professional.  Here, I mixed a neutral palette of ivory and tan to balance the bright pants.  However, I added a green, statement necklace for a bit of color.  I also chose a darker, cognac-colored bag to break up the beige.

This look won’t work in every office environment.  It is incumbent upon you to know whether it will work in yours.  If you like the pants but need something even more conservative, I would suggest a navy, silk, tie-neck blouse, a navy suit jacket, a grey belt and grey pumps.  

Polyvore Set Here.

The last time that I featured the purple, yellow and green color combination, someone said that it reminded her of Mardi Gras.  But unless you work for a Louisiana member, wear this outfit during the pre-Lenten festival, or you suffer from tequila-induced flashbacks of the night you wound up with a monstrous collection of plastic bead necklaces, I don’t think that this is a problem.  

If you prefer not to indulge in this color palette, you can subsitute a darker purple blouse and keep the green clutch or keep the yellow sweater and change out the clutch for a nude or dark purple bag.

While wearing these pants, it will be tricky, if not impossible, for most women to wear flats.  Thus, I suggest a nude flat for the nine-percent of you with straight, proportional figures who will be able to pull off this look.

Other than that, I like a yellow sweater with a gold necklace. I think it looks chic.  The long necklace in this set is almost $300, but you can get a similarly Egyptian look with this necklace from JC Penney for $22.  The fresh-from-the-jewelry-box-of-Cleopatra look is big this season.

Three Ways

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  1. Valerie says:

    Love the necklaces you chose!

  2. EBT says:

    Excellent post!!! I really want to try some of these with my hot pink skinny trousers.

    I'm 5'1″ and fairly thin, but WIDE through the hips. I feel like wide-leg trousers overwhelm my (mostly) small frame, but skinnies (even though I adore them) might accentuate my hips more than I would like. Any trouser suggestions that will keep me from looking frumpy?

  3. Anon says:

    I feel like those pants look fat just sitting there…

  4. Jay says:

    Wooo, love this post and your styling! You always use color so well… I'm thinking of trying out some of the jewel tones you feature together. Wish me luck =0)

    I've been thinking lately about 'the tyranny of flattery'. What I mean is, for years I would NOT wear something that didn't 'balance' or 'flatter' or 'conceal' my shape in what I feel are my problem areas. A little while ago I decided that sometimes, I would ignore that rule and wear something if I really like it – even if it makes my hips look big (which they are). What do you think about this? Do you think it's unprofessional? Sometimes I think wearing unflattering items I really like can be affirming and even sexy… then sometimes, I think I was crazy making the purchase and never wear it. Do you ever deal with this?

  5. cginnyc says:

    Great post! And thanks for keeping it real. In the first outfit, would you wear the belt over the shirt or threaded through the pant loops? And would you wear the shirt tucked in or out?

  6. Belle says:

    Through the loops, tucked in.

  7. valerie says:

    DVF makes a pair of pink trousers that are tailored enough for work and would look great in these outfits. Will find the link but they're featured in the September issue of InStyle magazine (p.273).

  8. Kate says:

    Jay, I would think it all depends on the definition of 'unflattering'. VPL, ill fitted clothing…unflattering always…but if you want to show off your hips or whatever attributes others would want to hide I'd say go for it, and I wish I was more like you!

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