6 Rules French Women Always Follow When Styling Wide-Leg Trousers

My quest to dress more French-like took a turn this weekend when I finally bought into the wide-leg trouser trend. I don’t buy trousers often because, most of the time, I find them to be too tight across the bum and hips but too loose around the waist. However, after months of admiring the wide-leg trouser trend from afar, I finally found a pair that seemed to fit the bill. The trouble was, when they arrived, I had no idea how to style them.

The knee boots I currently live in made no impact, disappearing under the trouser leg and becoming obsolete. Although I wasn’t ready to give up just yet, this stumbling block was enough to make me question my purchase. So, as I do in times of sartorial need, I turned to some of my favourite French women to gain insight into the rules they follow when assembling outfits around the wide-leg trouser trend. And of course, they reassuringly served up a plethora of inspiration that I can’t wait to try.

Considering how tricky wide-leg trousers can be to style, I thought I’d share some of the best looks with you so that you, too, can embrace the trend with confidence (not to mention Parisian flair). Scroll on to see them and to shop my top picks to re-create each outfit.

Style Notes: One of the main problems I encountered when styling my wide-leg trousers was that I didn’t think to embrace them casually. This, however, is how French women prefer to style theirs—often with trainers and casual accessories, such as baseball caps, which give the polished staple a whole new aesthetic.

Navy coats are just as versatile as their camel counterparts. 

This sleek cap also comes in cream. 

I know so many editors who rave about this specific pair of trousers. 

Converse trainers never go out of style. 

Style Notes: I love the fact that looks made up of black and white clothes are trending right now, mainly because it’s a colour combination that never fails to look premium. It’s particularly useful, then, when it comes to styles you’re tentative about—in this case, the wide-leg trouser trend.

This ’90s cover-up is a fashion-person favourite. 

No sunglasses are quite as timeless as tortoiseshell sunglasses. 

This knit is thin enough to wear until summer. 

Pleat-front trousers create the most flattering silhouette. 

Square toes are big in the 2022 shoe season. 

Style Notes: Personally, I’ve never really embraced the oversized-clothes look. I’m curvy and typically wear silhouettes that nip in at the waist. But it’s not lost on me just how chic they can be, so I’ll be taking a leaf out of Aïda’s book by wearing my wide-leg trousers with some oversized outerwear—this COS trench being the perfect accompaniment. 

Another trench coat to add to the wish list. 

Not all sweatshirts are created equal. This one is elite. 

H&M is serving up some of the best wide-leg trousers on the high street. 

These will look just as chic with dresses as they do wide-leg trousers. 

Style Notes: If you’ve read any of Who What Wear’s stories analysing French style in the past, then you’ll know the knitted cardigan is an integral part of the French-woman uniform. It may not seem like the most obvious choice for pairing with wide-leg trousers, but as Anne-Victoire proves, it works. Can we also take a moment to appreciate how she’s mirrored the aqua shade of her cardigan with her deeper teal boots? Gorgeous. 

Sézane provides a fast track to the French aesthetic. 

A sleek take on typical crossbodies. 

I’m tempted to snap these up just in time for spring. 

Such a bargain! 

Style Notes: When I’m outfit-prepping for a night out, it’s all too easy to default to dresses and skirts. In the mood for a change for my next after-dark outing, I’m prioritising wide-leg trousers, which I’ve noticed French women often reach for when they’re heading out for dinner and/or drinks. A satin pair like Léna’s will keep things suitably glam. 

Double-breasted blazers always look so premium. 

Instant je ne sais quoi. 

I love this entire three-piece. 

The heels everyone wants this season. 

Style Notes: One of the styling tricks most favoured by French women has to be wearing one colour from top to toe. Here, by sticking to a palette of camels and browns, Julia’s outfit looks expensive. Finished with white trainers and a crossbody bag, this ensemble perfectly surmises the effortless aesthetic French women are largely known for. 

Swap out chunky coats for maxi cardigans. 

A jumper you’ll wear year after year. 

Cream accessories make every outfit look sophisticated. 

The high waistband on these trousers is so flattering. 

You can’t go wrong with fashion’s favourite sneaks. 

Next Up, Spring/Summer 2022 Trends: The Only 17 Looks You Need to Know About