From breathable linens to crisp cottons, we’ve got your heatwave trouser dilemmas sorted.
The UK summer and its accompanying heatwaves is always a sartorial nightmare for basically everyone. It’s especially difficult, though, for wearers of trousers everywhere — you know, those of us to whom the idea of wearing a dress, especially one which sits above the knee, sparks such a sense of horror that we’d rather stay indoors than have to do anything remotely akin to getting one’s legs out in public.
It’s a dilemma we face every summer. We should expect it, anticipate it, be prepared. Yet when the British heatwave finally comes (which it always does), we feel panicked and unequipped with an unsuitable wardrobe — unable to track down any lightweight trousers that promise to keep us cool yet look chic (and still like ourselves) despite the heat. It’s as if all stores associate summer with nothing other than printed, flouncy dresses.
Trust me: a good pair of summery tailored trousers, perfect worn with a simple cotton tee, is hard to find amidst the breeze of bohemian maxi dresses.
As such, the best time to shop for summer trews is actually mid-March, when stores start getting the spring collections in store, and when fabrics are lighter, made of linen, and still come equipped with a full sleeve for tops and ankle-length trouser hems. But fear not ill-prepared friends, for there are still some good summer trousers out there in high season — they just take some hunting.
Linens and cottons are the fabric of choice — both are naturally breathable and temperature regulating, helping you stay cool in the heat. Always avoid black and navy, and instead opt for more summery colours (think beige and mint) that are not only of the season but also help deflect sunlight and heat. Then, all you need is a good pair of Birkenstocks and a plethora of plain white T-shirts and voila! Sartorial order is restored.
Keep scrolling for our guide to the ultimate summer trousers.
A chic take on the casual jogger, these Topshop Boutique jogging bottoms are made in the UK and have a carrot-shaped silhouette, with a baggy leg that tapers slightly at the bottom. Perfect worn with simple slides and a crossbody bag for maximum ease of wear, the dusky pink hue is the perfect shade for those that normally shirk from colour.
Carrot joggers, £79, Topshop Boutique
& Other Stories
There’s nothing quite like the feel of a pair of crisp cotton trousers, and this pair from & Other Stories are super satisfying on the starched front. With a chunky buckled waist belt that adds definition and a bit of detail, these A-line trousers hit just above the ankle, which means they’re ideal worn with flats or a strappy barely-there sandal.
High waisted flare trousers, £79, & Other Stories
In a buttery lemon hue, these linen trews from Mango update the classic tailored trouser in a sorbet shade for summer. With a slimline belt to cinch in the waist in an understated way, they’re ideal worn with flat white leather slides and a simple city-appropriate basket bag.
Linen trousers, £25.99, Mango
Slubby and sophisticated, these linen trousers by Matches Fashion’s in-house label Raey are so comfortable they might as well be pyjamas. With a super baggy silhouette and sitting lower on the waist, these trews are perfect paired with an oversized tee for a laid-back yet luxe look.
Oversized linen trousers, £245, Raey at Matches Fashion
A summery twist on the classic navy trouser, this pair from Theory come in a bright mid blue that reminds us of the summer skies and seas on vacation in Greece. In a stretch cotton that is both flattering and cool, pair with a white linen shirt for an office-appropriate look.
High-waisted trousers, £275, Theory at Selfridges
Sometimes you want to update your colour palette without updating your silhouette, and this pair of linen trousers in a zingy orange hue is a good way to start. Featuring a flattering cut that tapers gently at the ankle, these trousers could be dressed up with a strappy sandal or worn with flats.
Orange linen trouers, £59, Whistles at Selfridges
These voluminous cotton culottes from COS are a summer dream — the legs are so wide they give the effect of a gathered full skirt, with the security of wearing a trouser. Wear with a loose-cut top and chunky black sandals to offset the minimalism.
Wide leg culottes, £69, COS