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A Guide to Going Wide

24 April 2016

We wrote a few months back about what we thought was the inevitable change in men’s fashion—a move towards wider, looser-fitting silhouettes after we reached peak tightness. I wrote at the time that it seemed as though the market hadn’t quite caught up with the designers but now with the spring collections arriving this appears to be slowly but surely happening. Its not a deluge or anything like it—Mr Porter’s huge selection seems to have no more than 5 or 6 examples—but it is apparent that the major retailers are beginning to accommodate the look. With this in mind we decided to create a little glossary of inspirations, ideas and recommendations for getting in on the new looser look. 


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  1. Shirts should be tucked in, banish the ghost of 1990s sloppiness and emulate the smart look of the 1930s.
  2. Proportion is everything, shirts and jackets should fit looser and longer and knitwear generally shorter and trim. Check out the 1980s television series of Brideshead Revisited for reference.
  3. Very loose trousers will look better on a taller man. So if you’re 6ft or less you’re better off with regular or pleated trousers, or ones with a significant crop. 
  4. Cuffs are generally needed for balance, loose trousers worn to just above the shoe never seem to look right. 
  5. Shoes generally need to be beefed up to match the width of the trousers. 

Our Buys

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A collaboration between venerable Japanese department store United Arrows and German brand Closed. These are the perfect pants for getting into a wider silhouette. They are loose without being sloppy, pleated and nicely tapered in a way that makes them work with slimmer wardrobes and figures. 


The opposite end of the spectrum, these are proper 1940s military style chinos with a huge width and heavy fabric they take serious gusto to pull off. They also manage to look quite traditional and could fit in with an otherwise conventional wardrobe. Recommended for men 6ft and up. 


This suit is a more formal take on the pleated trouser with deep French style pleats from Officine Generale. More elegant than the others and fitting as a transitional item pairing with a slimmer wardrobe. 

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For those not enamoured with pleats and not confident they could pull off the substantial volume of the E.TAUTZ  trousers should look no further than Italian brand Barena’s somewhat workwear rendition of the same style. Wide without being too notable, with a subtle elasticated waistband and nice blue grey colour. 

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The British designer Margaret Howell never abandoned her love of generous silhouettes in menswear even at the height of the skinny trouser boom and it makes sense that she has some of the best options available. Several trousers from her current collection would fit this guide but I've chosen the utility trouser from her MHL sub-line for its ability to bridge the gap between the wide leg fits and slimmer models without using pleats. A nice detail is the winch on the back for adjusting the waist. 

Hopefully with this guide we've inspired you to dip a toe into the waters of more relaxed fitting clothing. There isn't a surfeit of items available at the moment and unfortunately more affordable high street options are rare but by being aware of the changing tide and incorporating them into your wardrobe you’ll be able to weather the changing fashion without too much disruption. 

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