Fashion Fix - How to master the cropped flare
Just when you've mastered the culotte, flare and the wide-leg slacks, along comes another trouser style to get your head around.
The cropped flare, or "clare" as the fash pack call them, are a favourite of Alexa Chung and other street-style stars, plus it's the new jean shape for winter.
Longer than a culotte and shorter than your standard flare, two specific attributes rolled into one trouser, it's the fresh new cut and a daring trend to say the least.
I can't lie - they aren't the easiest to wear, but I'm always up for a fashion challenge. At first, I was nervous -surely these are the territory of only the tall and slim?
Flares can be scary enough without adding the extra dimension of being cropped. I've been eyeing them in street-style pictures for a while, stalking them on catwalks, and spying celebs wearing them and now, here I am, wearing the trousers.
As silly as it may sound, yes, they are supposed to look like you had a growth-spurt, and the trousers should end at an awkward, chilly two inches north of where you'd expect them to.
So how do you wear this weird length trousers?
First of all, be mindful of proportions, stay away from anything cropped on top, stick to sleek shapes and wear something with structure - shirts, fine-knit jumpers or polo necks worn with a pea coat, blazer or a coat that's either fitted to the waist or hits the top of the thigh.
Channelling my inner Alexa, I opted for a structured blazer and knit in similar tones.
Adding a skinny scarf, the accessory du jour for winter, has a two-fold advantage: one, it's a cool style statement; and two, it draws the eye downwards, lengthening the body.
The silhouette is a refreshing break from my skinny or boyfriend jeans, and because the cropped flare is about the cut of the leg, it makes it very easy for all body shapes to wear.
And the tricky conundrum of shoes? What ones to wear? Surprisingly, there's a lot of options, depending on the occasion or what look you're going for.
Footwear can also depend on the degree of coldness - loafers or converse will keep it laid-back and super casual for those less chilly days, while a sling-back sandal or court shoe will give it a dressy approach.
Alternatively, a svelte ankle boot is the perfect partner to the cropped flare for winter.