Here’s the second instalment of my two-part blog about making and wearing my two versions of the ‘K Pants’ from Asuka Hamada’s pattern book, ‘Big Clothes and Small Clothes’. My first post explained how they came to be; my personal history with wide-legged trousers and how the two pairs I made, were worn in a long-awaited, much-postponed break in Amsterdam last month. Bearing in mind my fabric colour choices and the destination my main concern was not to arrive looking like the classic ad of a Dutch Boy…
That aside however, I was genuinely at a bit of a loss as to how to wear my new trousers. I had already had cause to pause for thought with my ‘Peaches’ Trousers from last year and realised that the tops that work for narrow-legged jeans and trousers would probably not work for such an accentuated shape as the K-Pants. With voluminous cropped legs and deep front pleats, I’d need to think about my wardrobe in a completely different way.
In the event I packed a palette of navy blues, striped shirtings and my bright pink jean jacket and hoped for the best. These turned out to be good choices – particularly the jean jacket which brought some colour to my get-up, as well as a tidily-cropped upper half.
My styling worries
As I noted in my last post, my concerns with this trouser design were several, mostly to do with my short, wide torso, lack of a defined waist, larger upper hips and not much in the behind department to support those wide legs.
That said, in theory my proportionally longer legs might make it easier carry them off; also I’m 5’7″ tall, so edging more towards ‘tall’ than ‘small’.
The sizing and fitting of these trousers was a difficult call too – I didn’t want them to fit so closely that I lost that sense of volume – however I didn’t want too much volume.
Learning from wearing
My city break taught told me a few things – not least, the importance of taking a step back and looking at photographs rather than just the mirror. It helps to get some distance and perspective on an outfit where the proportions are so different from my usual choices.
Comments from my first post also highlighted the fact that colour on the top half works really well – my jacket had turned out to be a good call, but until I saw the pictures I hadn’t really understood how well it worked by comparison.
With all that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to take my new trousers on a tour of my wardrobe to see what would happen. By taking pictures I thought I’d get a bit of perspective – and by ‘perspective’ I mean yours, and not just mine – please feel free to comment! And if by sharing them here it also helps anyone who’s considering a leap into big trousers then so much the better.
There turned out to be lots of potential contrasts and alternative stylings I could make; the images below were my main take-aways from the exercise but I’d be really interested in hearing yours too. Here goes!
Colour vs. continuity
These are the images that confirmed my suspicions from my Amsterdam photos. I’d assumed that having a single block of colour with such wide trousers might help add length and detract from my proportionally shorter torso. In fact it seems that especially with darker trousers and boots, having a bolt of colour up top helps bring some ‘zing’ to the outfit. Is it also the case that a polo neck adds more torso length than my scoop-neck tee shirt? I think so – opinions welcome!
Pulling it together
With my pink jacket open, the hemline sits on those pleats and the definition of the trouser shape seems lost. Buttoned up, it’s a different story – and I think the scarf pulls it all together. Or is it too much? Let me know what you think!
Patterned or plain? Shirt, tee-shape or cami? I was surprised that more relaxed tops seemed to work quite well – I had assumed that lots of trouser fabric should be balanced by a more fitted top – but in fact a bit of volume and drape seems fine. But which works best – plain or patterned? Buttoned, strappy or round-necked? I think I’m OK with them all…?
Bring on the volume!
Look at the models of websites for certain Scandi shops and they’re full of generous trousers overlaid with voluminous shirts. Do I just need to adjust my wardrobe/world view – or is this just too much volume? As my daughter pointed out, “You’re not six feet tall and that might be why“. However I do have long legs which seem to be lost here, as is much of the actual style of my trousers. I can imagine layering an open shirt over them – but even then, there seems to be a lot of fabric around. Which you wouldn’t imagine being a problem for me but still… Should I get used to seeing myself in a different silhouette?
How to tuck?
I do love a shirt – and if I can’t wear one loose then there’s only one thing for it. Or three, apparently. Opinions are divided in the ClothSpot studio – I have votes for all three of these. Knotted, tucked without a belt and belted. Feel free to lob in your two-pennorth!
(Disclaimer: No make-up was harmed or consumed in these images. I have an overdue haircut booked for later this week, I promise.)
…what I think I’ve learned includes the following:
Bring on the colour! This is due as much to what looks best on me with this particular colour of trouser – but it seems that a bit of colour lifts the whole outfit without compromising the trouser shape.
Balance that volume! The width of the trousers seems to be balanced with a more relaxed fit up top.
Create some length up top! My proportions are helped by dressing my top half to add a little length either by way of buttons, a polo neck or accessories
Keep it cropped! As a short-torso’d person I’ve avoided cropped and boxy tops like the plague for years. But with these high-waisted trousers, having a tucked-in or cropped top half helps give me some definition (even if the jury is out on the belt.
How much of this relates to my personal proportions or style – and what’s a good rule of thumb more generally I’m not quite sure. Likewise I’m still not certain where I am with dramatic volume, pattern or some of the details of how best to dress a shirt for instancve. I’d be very grateful for any insights you might have (and at least they might settle some arguments around here.) Thank you for dropping by!
As I mentioned last week, I’m aware that the sizing of the K-Pants is unfortunately restricted so I did a spot of research to find other patterns that carry the spirit of my trousers in some way – combining wide or barrel legs with pleats and high waists in a variety of ways.
High-Waisted Trousers by The Assembly Line
Arthur Pants by Sew Liberated
Peaches Trousers by Fibre Mood
Miyu Trousers by Fibre Mood
Hollywood Pants by The Sewing Workshop
Bob Woven Pant by Style Arc
Cass Pant byThe Fabric Store
The size ranges for all of these are good and the links are to the product posts where you can purchase (mostly) PDFs and some paper versions too. Have fun!