Cigarette trousers - classics in woman's wardrobe


Elegance never gets old

We’ve already mentioned the phenomenon known as cigarette trousers via a brief Facebook post, but these pants —everlasting in women’s wardrobes since the 1950’s — deserve more attention. These trousers are not only surviving in fashion but thriving in recent seasons: a comfortable alternative to jeans and suitable for a business dress environment makes it easy to see why they remain a staple.

Audrey Hepburn, a British actress and fashion icon (we know you know), played a colossal role in the popularisation of cigarette trousers; indeed she is often referred to as their ambassador. In Funny Face (1956) we can admire the character portrayed by Hepburn wearing simple ankle-revealing cigarette trousers combined with a fitted turtleneck sweater and ballet flats—and having withstood the test of time, this ensemble continues to serve as a classic pairing for contemporary women.

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Despite the fact that this style of pants is one of the most classic and universal, it is a commonly held belief that such trousers look flattering only on tall and skinny women. Is it really the case?

How to wear cigarette trousers

We have noticed that a lot of women are sceptical when it comes to this type of pants. Perhaps the Audrey Hepburn image became too iconic, and considering she was 170 cm tall and weighed barely 50 kg1, it is possible that women associate cigarette trousers with this type of physique only. It is, however, worth noting that in Audrey’s era some voluptuousness in the female figure was valued and curvy beauties such as Marilyn Monroe (with her own iconic hourglass figure) wore cigarette trousers stunningly.

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“Perfect” figures are very rare — if they even exist — and furthermore the standard of what is considered beautiful in a woman’s look has evolved over time and will certainly continue to do so. The moral here? Clothes need to be adapted to the glory of all women, not the other way around: even cigarette trousers. Every woman has a unique body but it is important for all women to wear well-fitting outfits playing to individual strengths. Every woman can look stunning in cigarette trousers, with the condition that they are chosen wisely, along with other coordinating pieces that adapt to the silhouette.

Irrespective of the figure

Cigarette trousers are all about a fitted cut and the subdued baring of an ankle (maybe risqué in the past, but a delicate detail in today’s world). These two specific traits of the tailoring are sometimes considered to have a shortening and thickening effect (short and thick being two words we never want in the same sentence as our legs), and thus some women consider it best to let them be and opt for a different style.

In the case of a straight, rectangular body shape, a so-called boyish type, highlighting the waist would add some femininity and sensuality to our look; high-waist cigarette trousers are the perfect choice to this end. A blouse, sweater or simple top would complement the look well. In addition, a higher waist is also great tool to make our legs look longer (now we’re talking)!

Women of the more petite variety can’t really afford visually forgoing any more length. However they can still can enjoy a graceful open ankle and neutralize disproportions by choosing pants in dark colors and pairing them with heels. Grey, navy or black cigarette trousers will better play to our advantage than beige or white selections. Pumps or ankle boots will not only add couple centimetres of height but also some femininity and ease.

Another proven way to mimic long legs is by wearing vertical stripes. To lengthen legs and make them appear slimmer, we can choose pants with subtle stripes or with pleats. It will add shape and optically lengthen legs. If we would like to hide some curves, creating a look maintaining an uninterrupted visual line by using clothes in the same or similar colors, or at least matching pants and shoes, is to be preferred. For instance, a dark grey sweater, black cigarette trousers and black oxford shoes would create a great combination.

For more curvy body shapes we need to pay attention to the pants’ shape ensuring they have a certain cut. Too baggy, as well as too tight, will lose our body’s proportions. We should choose trousers, which are fitted on our hips and over the knee but have more freedom around the ankle. Some stretch in pants might become desirable in creating a nice fit, looking great and ensuring comfort while out and about at the same time.

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Cigarette trousers have a lot of potential. Well-fitted and matched cigarette trousers can create a great look, which would make Audrey herself jealous (ok, maybe not, but we can certainly try!) Cigarette trousers can be an integral element of our outfit both for everyday wear as well as for more formal outings.

We found some pictures on Pinterest which we hope will inspire you in selecting tomorrow’s ensemble, as they did us.


1 Rachel Moseley, Growing Up With Audrey Hepburn: Text, Audience, Resonance, 2003.