Shane Watson: My seven reasons NOT to fear palazzos

My seven reasons NOT to fear palazzos: How to dress like a grown up with SHANE WATSON

  • UK style expert says its time to stop avoiding this major shift in silhouette 
  • READ MORE: Summer’s surprising must-have… a coat 

Please, no more talk of wider legs, flared legs, looser legs! If there’s one thing we’re not prepared to upsize at this stage it is our trousers.

That’s what many of you are thinking — unless you’re one of the few who has made the leap, put all reservations to one side, and discovered the best news for grown-up women since ankle boots with everything.

Let’s once and for all address the reasons for avoiding this major shift in silhouette (which has been on the cards for a while now) . . .

1) You know what you like and you’re happy in your slimmies, if not skinnies.

Answer: In surveys (mine) the most ageing items of clothing for women over 50 were found to be tight, stretchy jeans and knee-defining jeggings.

Emma Thompson wore a pair of WLTs by designer Stella McCartney with a matching blazer

2) You don’t want to look like you are wearing your husband’s trousers.

Answer: We’re not talking about giant blokey pants or even ‘boyfriend’ styles — this is about fitted flared trousers (and flares now means flared from the hip, not the knee).

3) You think your bum will look big in them.

Answer: You will look less big than in trousers with a defined bum. Your trousers will glide off your bottom rather than hook under it, and more will be left to the imagination.

4) Your top half is bigger than you would like, but your legs are OK so why not show them off?

Answer: All the more reason to give up on the Humpty Dumpty look and get into the modern woman’s figure-enhancers — long Wide Leg Trousers (WLT). Balance out your top half with something neat or structured (like a sharp-shouldered jacket), add a stacked heel and you’re flying.

5) You wore flares circa 1974 — and to go back there seems wrong.

Answer: It would be if you were wearing them with a Zebedee T-shirt and cork wedges, but you’re not, and these WLTs are not bell-bottoms; they are wider leg, higher waisted, fitted-on-the-hips trousers designed to flatter.

Victoria Beckham looks elegant in WLTs and a crisp white shirt, tucked in to create a neat silhouette 

6) You have to wear them with heels.

Answer: You don’t. Anything with an element of chunkiness works, from a flatbed sandal to a loafer, or an ankle boot with a mid heel.

7) As far as you’re concerned, ‘wide’ is a bit of a trigger word in the context of fashion.

Answer: WLTs can be crisp and lean, or wafty and fluid — and they are the future.

If in doubt, the entry-level WLT is a pair of jeans, waisted, snug on the hips and gently tapering from the bottom of the hip to the top of your foot (there are cropped flares out there, but longer is more flattering and versatile).

Take a look at Boden’s (£90, or try M&S’s subtle flares (£35, marksand should you want to hedge your bets.

For a more 1970s uptown girl look, Cos’s tide jeans have starchy front creases (£79, 

Wear them with boots, a crisp shirt and a sharp-shouldered blazer and you’ll forget you’re wearing denim. (I’m not saying never wear flares with trainers, but flared jeans on the over 50s benefit from being dressed up).

On that note — and feel free to skip the denim stage and go straight to trousers — wider legs are going to smarten up and modernise your wardrobe for autumn and into 2024.

You have three style options, starting with my favourite because they’re a workplace/daytime game changer: floppy wool-blend, wide-leg, pinstripe trousers, with a few strategic front pleats. 

Autograph has a pair (£79,, which you can wear with or without a matching blazer.

They will look French fashion editor stylish with a slouchy, mole-brown, cashmere polo neck, also from Autograph (£95), loafers and a slim brown belt. This will be my uniform from mid-September, unless we get an Indian summer.

I’m also a devotee of a flat-front sailorish WLT, fitted on the hips and flowy in the legs, that can be relaxed with a stripey T-shirt and flats, or elegant with a tucked-in satin blouse and heels. 

Jigsaw does a full-length style in black or navy in a soft viscose fabric (£130,

More fluid and breezy, and the sort of trousers you’ll wear to everything in the evening this winter, are Mango’s polyester palazzos (£49.99,; they drape just right and elongate your legs like no other shape.

It’s a bit early to be thinking about wool trouser suits, but when the time comes, do keep a wide open mind.

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