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Image / Fashion

How to wear in your 20s and 40s: Printed pants for AW18


By Niamh ODonoghue
12th Sep 2018
How to wear in your 20s and 40s: Printed pants for AW18

20s versus 40s is a dynamic style series featuring two IMAGE staffers who, despite having very distinct personal styles, are sartorial soulmates. Every week fashion director Marie Kelly and digital leader Niamh O’Donoghue will prove that style is ageless…


Printed trousers were prominent on the AW18 catwalks, and so naturally it wasn’t long until the trend trickled its way into our favourite high-street shops. Here are two very different – but equally flattering – ways to try the trend this week.

How I styled these trousers

Printed animal trousers by River Island Studio Collection, €24 at riverisland.ie

Fashion maximalists’, our time is now. There are simply not enough embellishments, buttons, quirky details, straps and belts to satisfy those who lead a more-is-more kind of life. Unlike previous challenges, like a statement tiered skirt and mastering white denim, I felt comfortable and in control going into this one: it’s the perfect style for my body shape because it emphasises my waist and long legs. The wide leg balances perfectly with the proportions of my shoulders, so my silhouette looks evenly balanced (I hope!).

For this look, I was inspired by New York Fashion Week and it’s definitely something I’d wear on the busy streets of NYC (except I’d probably have a camera in hand instead of a dainty little bag!). These trousers ticked all the boxes for me: they’re super high-waisted, wide-legged, animal print, and, as an added bonus, they’re comfortable and functional too. In keeping with this season’s theme of mixing animal prints, I paired these trousers with a deeper-toned leopard print spaghetti strap top and layered it over a mesh roll-neck with billowing sleeve detailing, which I think helped take these trousers from daytime wear to evening wear. A delicate panel of embellished beading runs down the side of each leg and brings together the gold tones in the trousers and top nicely. A punchy pop of fuschia on the top, in the middle and at the bottom, helped to rebalance this otherwise hectic combination – and I love it! It wouldn’t be ‘me’ without an explosion of colour.

If you’re not into mixing and clashing animal prints like I am, consider a plain white T-shirt tucked in, or a warm roll-neck for when the temperatures dip further. What I will say is that because I’m a bit challenged in the height department, I could only wear these trousers with quite a big heel (unlike Marie, who is genetically blessed), so I would need to alter them in order to wear them with trainers (which is exactly what I would do day-to-day)

How Marie styles printed pants

I love a touch of animal print, but given that my personality is fairly subdued, it’s something I can only wear with pared-back neutrals, otherwise I don’t feel like me. Niamh’s fabulous outfit above, which I LOVE would unfortunately look ridiculous on me. I’m just not that vivacious, eclectic individual. I would look as if I was in costume wearing it, unlike Niamh, who appears so confident and relaxed. It’s such an important lesson to learn whatever your age: dress for your personality first and foremost.

The fabric of these trousers was so soft and fluid, I felt they needed the laid-back addition of a pair of soft white trainers. I wanted my overall outfit to have a languid, easy-come-easy-go kind of feel, as it counteracts the sassiness of the animal print nicely. I’ve had this Whistles cashmere cardigan for many years, and the subdued slate grey colour felt like the right contrast with the slightly glitzy look of the trouser material. I enjoy creating contrasts within outfits as it can give a look individuality and an unexpected appeal that feels very modern.