If you followed the most recent European men’s Fashion Weeks, you may have noticed something peculiar, even a little distressing, floating across the runways like billowing clouds: baggy pants. That's right: after a full generation in which predominantly slim, skinny silhouettes reigned supreme, the menswear Gods seem determined to bring back a fitting we haven’t seen in a generation. And we’re not talking about just jeans. We’re talking trousers, chinos, even full-on suiting.
Before you judge, it’s important to understand a few distinctions between the baggy pants we're currently seeing and the ones M.C. Hammer used to wear. Chiefly, you won’t see any low-slung boxer-baring bottoms this time around, so you can actually walk in these pants. (Major plus!) Also, a lot of these ultra-chic designer pants are specifically designed to make eye-popping statements on the runway, not carve off an aisle in a store. Expect the actual pants hitting retail outlets in the coming seasons to be roomier than what you’re used to, but not parachute-sized. (In other words: Think Don Johnson, not Lil Wayne.)
Now, the far more important question: what do the ladies think of this burgeoning trend? Should you or should you not be embracing bigger trousers in the months and years ahead?
To find out we polled a group of stylish women for their opinions. (Spoiler alert: Don’t break out your vintage JNCO’s just yet.) But remember: like all things fashion, it’s all about the styling and the execution. For more great style tips, don't miss our Best Life Essentials.
Yes, You Can Wear Them. But “Less Is More”
“Of all the crazy trends fashion throws up, I think the baggy trouser trend is actually on the tamer end of things,” says Alya Mooro, 27, freelance journalist and blogger. “That said, I'd definitely argue that less is more here. Super baggy trousers on men can at times make the wearer look a little messy, so I'd suggest sticking to a more refined silhouette that's not too oversized. Heavier-weight fabrics like tweed, flannel and corduroy work best to avoid that pajama look.”
Yes, But Never to Work
“With comfort being the first priority of many guys' wardrobes, baggier pants on the runway seem to be a nod to wearability,” says Leigha Gardner, fashion blogger. “If you do decide to try it, you definitely don't want to look like you're wearing oversized sweatpants, so think about if you would feel comfortable running into a business partner or a client. There is a fine line to every trend to ensure you don't go overboard, but wearing something a bit looser than a trendy skinny jean is most definitely a go!”
Yes, But Only With “The Right Shoes”
“It makes sense that baggy pants are once again in style since the 90's have been making a comeback in fashion for a couple of seasons,” says Sarah Gerrish, 33, Fashion Market Director of Redbook Magazine. “My general philosophy on trends is that everyone can try them in their own way. They should be reminiscent of the decade, though, not look like a costume. Also, the right footwear is key for this trend; look for dress shoes with a slightly more rounded toe as a slim, pointed toe will get lost underneath the wider leg. For a casual look you could try sneakers but make sure they're not your gym shoes.”
Yes, You Can Wear Them, But Know “Your Body Type.”
“I actually love this look for men of all ages, but it has to be done the right way,” says Ashleigh Hults, 30, Founder of Poolside Collective. “I think that guys who are 30 or 40 can get away with a loose pant if it's styled with the right shoe, sweater or blazer. You can definitely wear this look without looking like MC Hammer. You just need to pay attention to your body type—thinner guys can drown in baggy pants, so selecting the right silhouette is important.”
No, It’s Not Hammer Time
“I prefer a more tailored look on men and I think most professional men these days do as well, for both casual and work looks,” says Lauren Finney, 32, an experienced former fashion editor. “There's a fine line between going the athleisure/casual look and looking sloppy and you don’t want to cross it.”
No, If You Feel in the Slightest Bit Weird about It
“I'm all about trying a trend at least once to test the waters, but I think a man has to know himself,” says Cris Pearlstein, 34, on-air fashion expert and founder of style site How Do You Fashion. “If he feels weird, uncomfortable, or silly wearing this new crop of baggy pants then he should probably avoid them. But actually, I think a lot of men across America haven't given up their baggy pants of the early aughts—they never bought into skinny jeans to begin with—and so this trend might be a relief for some.”
Yes, Because Why Not?
“Tailored styles are definitely worth a try with classic pieces like a crisp shirt, blazer and dress shoes,” says Laura Lajiness, 28, Fashion Editor of The Zoe Report. “Loungewear-inspired styles and sportier takes can read cool for off-duty so long as they're tempered with more fitted separates.”