Style by Claire Lopez

The bare-legged brigade: the new trousers and footwear designed to show some skin

The bare leg is back. So before you reach for your thick black opaque tights, think again as the fashion pack are foregoing sensible winter warmth and going with a nude leg. In particular, the bare ankle is fashion’s erogenous zone this season.

EEEK! This is not exactly where I am at – I would rather have hot water bottles in a pair of super insulated boots and be toasty than freeze with my bare legs. Freezing was part of my former life at university when I regularly went out without much on at all – apart from my booze coat. Now sensible me dresses for the weather.

I fear I may have missed my moment now that we are nearing November, but there are some ways of doing this without looking like you have a screw loose.  It is all about what cut of trouser you choose, how you wear them and what you put on your feet. Choose these bottoms and footwear wisely and you will be well on your fashionable way. (However, as I write this it is pouring with rain so wellies or boots would definitely be the order of the day.)

Trouser silhouettes have changed and after at least a decade of squeezing ourselves into skinnies, it is now time to embrace the new shapes which are here to stay. I am not talking about the cropped wide leg trousers because these are pretty unwearable, unless you are on a catwalk or want to look like a German tourist. What there is a lot of in stores is the Girlfriend  jean – the more wearable relative of the Boyfriend. Essentially it is a relaxed, straight or slightly tapered denim which can be more flattering than the skinny which shows off every single lump and bump.

I have these great ones from Gap – Girlfriend Jeans £44.95 but they also come in a darker indigo wash as well as lighter, distressed ones which are perfect for the summer. There you go, that bare ankle on show thanks to the roll-up. And that is how to wear them to display said ankle. Then you can put whatever you like on your feet from a high heel to a trainer or a boot.


I prefer these to the Boyfriend jean as they tighter and less saggy-bottomed but still with a looser leg shape: 1969 Deconstructed Sexy Boyfriend Jean £49.95. The sexy – I just made no effort whatsoever and borrowed my boyfriend’s jeans – look. Not sure I would look remotely like that if I did actually pop on my husband’s jeans – more clown than catwalk queen.


Hush also has a nice pair of Boyfriend Jeans £75 and styled with an ankle boot is a sensible way of doing the look without suffering frost bite.


If your uniform is not jeans and you need something more suitable for the office, then there is something out there for you. The humble black trouser has also relaxed its attitude. Whistles has a great pair: Sadie Straight Leg Trouser £95. Pretty good price for a pair of trousers you can wear from 9-5 and beyond.


At the other end of the pricing spectrum Zara has this pair of Cotton Trousers at £29.99 – again the length is above ankle and the leg is straight.


Another good bet is Mango’s straight leg suit trousers £34.99. Styled with a pair of mannish brogues and you are right on track.


Ok so your bottoms are sorted but what do you put on your feet to complete the look?

First off, and a total must-have, is a pair of white trainers. Now these can be branded like these iconic Adidas Stan Smiths £72


Or not…. in which case H&M has a pair of Leather Trainers for £39.99 but they will stand you in very good stead for seasons to come no matter what the trouser shapes are doing, they will go with everything. Definitely wear with your jeans but right now pop these on with a pair of black trousers for a real fashion look.


If you need something smarter, then the shoes of the season are Brogues. Yes this is a mannish look but that is the point. It isn’t a look that will appeal to everyone because it isn’t remotely feminine. However, pop on a little lace top with the black trousers and mannish brogues and you have tamed the look. I have to admit, it is not something that I will be investing in because they just make my feet look like clown-feet. Brogues plus my husband’s jeans is definitely Crusty the Clown. Yuk. You do need to think about your proportions and go for styles that suit you. It should always be about style rather than fashion.

Dune has its Flint style £75.



Or you could go cleaner with Mango’s Leather Oxford Shoes £69.99.


A slightly daintier alternative is the loafer of which there are a lot around. Office has a good selection online and you can go from patent to suede and then to fringing and tassels… My favourite is possibly the Limelight Fringe Loafers in black patent £65. These also come in suede if the shine is just too much for you and in navy and burgundy.


If you don’t want to invest heavily in this trend then go for H&M’s patent loafers which at £24.99 will not break the bank.


Both of these styles will work with denim and black trousers alike.

If you want to upscale your look then you need a classic black suede court shoe. Never mind creating a look of the moment, every woman should have a pair of these in her closet. You don’t need to be wearing rolled up jeans, they look just as cool with skinny legs too – very Kate Moss rock chic. It goes without saying that these will also be perfect for the office. You can get these anywhere on the high street but it has to be suede not leather (too officey) and not patent (too dated and a bit cheap looking). It also has to be pointed – round toes will date your look but also a pointed toe will elongate and make your legs look longer so a bit of a no-brainer really.

My problem with court shoes is that they can often be too high to be comfortable but I have discovered a mid heel height from Nine West which is perfect: the Margot which is reduced to £59 from £95 (should have waited to purchase these).


Dune has the Andrina which is on sale at £34. If you haven’t got a pair of courts – now is THE time to the purchase.


Office has a low heeled black suede Galaxy Almond Toe Court shoe £39 reduced from £65. These would look cool with denim, are an utter bargain and you could definitely commute or dance the night away in these.



The winner of the price wars on the black suede court though is this from Office: Wallflower Court Shoe £30 from £50.


In a continuing grey mood a grey court shoe would be lovely and Zara has this Mid Heel Shoe at £29.99


Fun shoes mean that the focus is on your feet and if you are worried about other bits of your body, that can be a godsend. So why not go for a colour or a printed shoe. The Margot from Nine West also comes in leopard print – also £59.


Dune does a similar style – Alina at £69 (also a mid heel height).


If all this androgyny (bar the heels) scares you, then worry not because next week the focus is on an uber feminine look for the season – lace – in all its iterations.



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