Plus: Have a style dilemma? Ask Lisa about it below
Not that long ago, all my trousers were either black or navy, those being the most ‘slimming’ options. I would look at Liz Hurley’s expansive collection of skinny white jeans in awe – and remind myself that she (allegedly) ate all her food with a teaspoon in order to limit calorie intake. It seemed that what was it took to wear tight white trousers back then. Most other women, I’ll warrant, found themselves in a similar trouser boat.
The eye has to travel, as the fashion legend Diana Vreeland once said, and it certainly has. Jigsaw’s Modern Crepe Sailor Trouser comes in purple, green and pink where once there would have only been black or navy. Meanwhile, Whistles’ pleat-front Fran Trouser in fuchsia has sold out in many sizes. Mint Velvet’s scarlet tailored trousers are also selling well, while chartreuse and cobalt are just two of the colours that repeatedly go to waitlist status in the trouser section at The Fold.
Black trousers are no longer the default setting. Beige and camel are likely to be just as popular, even in winter. When Akshata Murty, wife of Rishi Sunak, wore The Fold’s coral Esme trousers with the matching Abbeville jacket (altered to fit her), they too became bestsellers. She was giving a keynote speech at the Tory conference so needed to stand out and she went for it, head to toe.
But in everyday life, once people see how well just one colourful piece works, they’re in.
The fact that trousers are increasingly loose and slouchy or loose and tailored helps. My dark-trouser obsession really kicked in when trousers were tight or clingy and guaranteed to make you self-conscious about some or other part of your thighs and legs.
The new breed is more flattering and versatile. And though they might be tailored and borrow elements from menswear, they can look very feminine if you pair them with heels, silky blouses and nipped-in or cropped jackets.
If you like a more androgynous look, that’s there for the taking too: with longer, looser jackets or chunky jumpers and brogues, thick-soled ankle boots or trainers.
The point, really, is that a little trouser colour goes a long way to combat winter bleugh-ness. It doesn’t have to be searingly bright. The olive shade I’m wearing here is relatively muted, while still making an impact.
This is an outfit that holds its own against a pencil skirt and heels – not better, just different and self-confident. Find a colour that goes with everything. This shade could even take a splash of red, although to avoid the Christmas-tree effect, stick to a trim or a background detail in a print.
Read the latest Ask Lisa: ‘How can I find jeans that hide all my bumps?’
Lisa solves your style dilemmas
Each week, Telegraph Head of Fashion Lisa Armstrong responds to your queries, lending her expertise to help you shop smart. Have a question for her? Submit it below.