Gwen Stefani, whose iconic style H&M appears to have modeled a good portion of their fall line after, fears not the occasional, substantial pair of breeches. It’s for women like this that fall’s voluminous pants and skirts were designed: aviator trousers in tweeds and plaids, identifiable by their “roomy thighs,” then tapering in below the knees; the flowing, full-legged men’s slacks made famous by Katherine Hepburn and Annie Hall, now tucked into flat brown riding boots; the tulip and bubble skirts, with a higher, fitted waistband, but ballooning around the hip area; and too many permutations of the cropped, baggy pant to describe.
Stefani can pull this off, because she has four-inch-high stilettos to pair them with, and a chauffeured ride to and from the recording studio. She will not trudge into the subway at 4 a.m. in her capacious pantaloons. She will not fear that her flowy pair of cropped trousers make her look like an angry little Napoleon. But she also exists in super special celebrity world, where fat doesn’t exist and everyone has a one-name trainer called Radu.
The rest of us mortal women cling to one draconian rule: You can toss on a circus tent for a shirt, as long as you’re skinny as God-givenly possible on bottom. But before you reject baggy bottoms out of hand think about this: It’s not like those tighter, nylon-spandex “clubbin’ ” pants and low-lying, gut-revealing jeans do so much more for us, we who lack the hipless body of a 12-year-old boy. Hell, why shouldn’t there be a little extra room in the pants, for after we hit the Sizzler late night? To say nothing of Thanksgiving? Come to think of it, how brilliant would it be if you had space to smuggle booze and hors d’oeuvres from open-bar events, or those awful parties thrown by people you hate? That’s not stealing, man, that’s saving for later.
Zara knickers: An $80 polyester-wool blend in gray, with buttons right below the knee. A distinctly slimmer, streamlined fit that plays it safer than H&M. Possible downside: “Do I look like some kind of asshole Paul Revere?” Good for smuggling: Due to the tighter fit, maybe just a few pigs ‘n’ blankets near the knee.
H&M pants #1: A $30 linen-cotton pair of black breeches that buttoned up the front. Possible downside: The oddly situated crotch, a full half-foot below where our actual one ended. Good for smuggling: An elephantine phallus, in case we ever own one, or a six-inch Italian sub.
H&M pants #2: A cropped pair in black wool, with a fold over waist and a self-tie belt to cinch underneath. Possible downside: Because of the heft of the fabric and the baggier waist, this will require heels. Good for smuggling: A few Heinekens under the waistband, maybe not a full St. Ides 40.
H&M tulip skirt: A brown tweed job, shot through with gold threads. Possible downside: The odd extra fabric around the hips actually comes to triangular points. Good for smuggling: A skirt clearly designed for pilfering desserts—a couple of cream puffs could be stashed in each roomy hip. Not big enough for a whole carved-watermelon fruit basket, but at least a wee honeydew.