I used to be a jeans person. Honestly, pre-pandemic it would be a rare sighting if you caught me wearing anything other than my trusty blue—or black, or white—jeans. Every single one of my outfits revolved around the classic wardrobe staple—whether I was dressing up and adding heels and a blazer or down with boots and a knit or sandals and a vest top in summer. Of course, there’s no denying that all of the above are still failsafe capsule wardrobe formulas, and from time to time I still turn to these enduring classics. However, rather than jeans, these days the most worn items in my wardrobe are my wide-leg trousers.
Yep, in recent years thanks to a combination of craving more comfort from my wardrobe post-pandemic, wanting my day-to-day looks to feel more polished since I turned thirty, and the explosion of wide-leg trousers as a trend across both the luxury and high street markets, I’ve gradually shelved my stiff denim in favour of their smarter tailored counterpart.
Ask any of my fellow Who What Wear editors and they’ll tell you that a pair of chic wide-leg trousers—paired with trainers, flats or heels—has become my daily uniform. So much so, that I’ve spent the last few years curating a rather extensive collection of the best wide-leg trousers around, trialling and testing styles from across my favourite affordable brands as well as some investment styles too.
Not to toot my own horn, but this has made me somewhat of an expert in the field of wide-leg trousers, and my colleagues and friends often come to me for suggestions on which pairs to buy. The answer to their questions isn’t always straightforward, however. Finding the perfect pair of wide-leg trousers to suit your body, budget, style and your day to day needs can be a search akin to finding your favourite pair of jeans—a tough process I’m sure we’re all too familiar with.
That’s why I thought I’d collect all the data I’ve gathered and provide you with the ultimate guide to the very best wide-leg trousers available for all budgets. Yes, The Row’s Marcelina trousers are impeccable, with a timeless quality and design that makes them a worthy investment. But, not all of our budgets stretch that far. At the mid-range price point, I personally think Reformation is the brand to beat (I have their best-selling Mason Pants in three colours) and they also have options available in petite lengths and extended sizes. COS’s wide leg trousers are famously the best on the high street, with adjustable waist tabs in most designs that mean they fit perfectly. But Arket’s are a close runner up, with H&M and M&S offering the best affordable versions. That’s just scratching the surface.
Keep scrolling, and you’ll find my poured over list of the best wide-leg trousers to buy in 2023—from the perfect classic black style, to summer-ready linen and cargo options; and there’s styles to suit all body shapes, and all budgets. Below, you’ll also find plenty of ideas on how the best-dressed influencers are styling their wide-leg trousers, too.