When I was shopping in Liverpool a fortnight ago my mission was to find the best black trousers on the high street. Many were tried, in fact so many that I could no longer see any difference between them. So, I bought a hat (as you do) and decided to order the best I’d seen and try them on in one session at home. In my old life I used to have a personal shopping session every season at Selfridges so buying wardrobe fundamentals will never be the same again. Basically you sit in a luxurious dressing room drinking champagne whilst somebody brings you one from each brand of whatever you’re looking for and it all becomes clear (well depending on how much champagne you’ve imbibed).
Until I’d had this experience I used to think that black trousers were black trousers, however they taught me how to compare cut and cloth (albeit of the world’s top brands) and when you do it in one session you realise that a small detail makes all the difference. Unfortunately for me, I no longer have a Selfridges budget (with a 35% staff discount to boot) so my session was a little different but I used the same logic.
So, let me tell you what I’m looking for:
- Slim (but not skinny) tailored crops
- A waistband that works for tucking shirts into but isn’t too bulky for wearing a fine merino jumper over
- I’m going to be sitting down a lot so it’s important that I can breathe (!)
- They mustn’t strain (and hence bag) over the knees
- Trousers that don’t crease easily – there’s no way I’m doing any ironing during the week.
- Loose enough on the calf so that I don’t have to stamp when standing up
- Cut well at the ankle so that they don’t interfere with shoes.
- Trousers that can be worn for an ordinary day or dressed up if need be
Not much then – here goes:
On my trip I’d already rejected Next (for cloth), Hobbs (for cut), M&S (for both), Mint Velvet (cut), Reiss (cut) and Kin by John Lewis (cut). The only pair that are on my list that I haven’t tried are the Banana Republic Sloan fit which lots of you have told me is great. Unfortunately by the time I asked for your input the orders had already arrived and I need to do a quick turnaround to ease the burden on my credit card. Now even with a proper photographer with good lighting it would have been difficult to capture the detail in these shots but I’ve done my best. I’m going to add the retailer’s shot for clarity.
…and on me…(bear in mind we’re only looking at the trousers – I’ve hitched the top up so you can see them properly and I’d just been to my first advanced Pilates class so I look weary)
a very unflattering angle – the things I do for you…
These are really, really good trousers and they’re currently a bargain in the sale. Today they’re £19.99 but yesterday they were £16 and there are still most sizes left. They’re stretchy, washable and they have plenty of elastane so they recover well when you stand from sitting. The cloth isn’t quite as fine as I’m looking for (it’s twill) but I really recommend them, I particularly like the pockets because they’re cut high and don’t gape:
Good quality as you would expect from Boden but by far the least flattering on me, there is a lot of loose fabric around the waist and hips even though they are the right size. The cloth is a heavy stretch cotton which wasn’t what I was looking for as it will crease and I need something smarter, I also hate the pockets which gape as you walk making you look wider. However I do like the turn up and if you’re looking for a looser fit then I think they’re great trousers, especially in a more casual colour – they’re basically flattering chinos.
As usual, an achingly cool but utterly miserable looking shot from the Whistles website. These are a Whistles core line and I know lots of my friends in London wear these every single day and really rate them. They’re expensive but the cloth is a heavy elastane suiting material so holds its shape really well and lets you move easily.
They are the sort of trousers that will forgive you if you put on a few pounds (which I do when I’m not paying attention). They also have well cut pockets that are deep enough to slip things into but are cut so that they won’t gape on the hips. These are a great investment buy, especially with the 25% off code which will work until Sunday WH25SS15.
4. And finally Jigsaw Paris Fit Slim Tapered Trouser
I think this model must just have had coffee with the Whistles one – they look to be in the same state of mind. These trousers are made from the fabric that Jigsaw produces in every year, they just change the cut of the item according to trend which is great because it means they work as a suit with the jacket I bought 12 years ago! They are very tailored and won’t forgive any pie munching but they are lined and lovely, lovely quality.
They have a great waistband and I love the fact that the pockets are sewn – I would keep them that way.
They’re longer than the others but they have a slit at the ankle which works well with shoes.
So – in the end which did I keep? Well if it had been down to me alone I would probably have opted for the Whistles ones although they were perhaps a bit heavy for Spring/Summer. However Mr MC and the boys were unanimous in their vote for once and all chose the Jigsaw pair so… I’ve kept the Jigsaw trousers for smarter days and the Gap ones for more relaxed days which also gives me a choice of cropped or not cropped. Depending on your needs though all four pairs are good.
Now – just for a laugh – do you remember the orange Boden shoes I featured on my boards here a couple of weeks ago? I was so looking forward to having these in my wardrobe to add a pop of colour to lots of work outfits but when they arrived they weren’t quite orange but in fact a fluoro peach shade that I haven’t seen since the mid 80s. Strangely Mr MC loves them and is very sad that I haven’t kept them, I think they must take him back to his ‘Come On Eileen Days’:
I’m wearing them with the other pair of trousers I bought, the navy Jigsaw London fit, another lovely example of tailoring that feels three times the price that it is.
I also bought the Mint Velvet Arizona shoes but although they look silver on the website as seen here:
they are clearly bronze which is a lovely colour but not what I wanted. There’s also something about the shape of the heel that I don’t like and for the price they need to be perfect. However they are beautifully made and extremely comfortable, I thought that the ankle strap might rub but it seemed to be butter soft.
(you can see the turn-up of the London fit trousers here though which I love) :
And finally one last thing to show you – a new bag that will carry a laptop and all the other bits and pieces I will need for my commute through Cumbria. The Zara ones that I featured in the board were really poor quality but I found this at good old John Lewis and I think it’s a great price for soft leather:
So I must now frantically return all the stuff that I’m not keeping. I hope this has been useful and that the shots are ok. I think just about everyone needs a pair of well cut black trousers in their arsenal, they’re just so versatile.Thank you to so very many of you for completing my survey yesterday (if you haven’t had chance yet it’s still open here and I’m finding it really helpful so would be grateful if you could spare me 3 minutes of your time). I’ll tell you a little bit about the results in a future post, I’m discovering that we’re a very like-minded tribe, in fact I think we should set up a commune as we’d all get along famously!
We have a busy weekend ahead, we’re back on the university trail. The eldest has had 5 good offers but now needs to let UCAS know which is his first choice. Having been absolutely sure of where he wanted to go, he’s suddenly dithering between two so we’re going back round them this weekend and next – yes again! And hopefully there may be a little something planned for Mother’s Day on Sunday. Mr MC is away at his unmissable karate GB squad training thing that happens quarterly so the boys have either forgotten or they’re keeping schtum. We’ll see. I hope all Mums out there are deservedly spoilt and that you all have a fabulous weekend.