I'll start this by saying I'm not the biggest fan of skinny or slim-fit trousers. Honestly, I'm very happy to have left the years of airbrushed-on jeans behind me, and if you're a regular reader of Who What Wear UK, you'll probably have come across me waxing lyrical about my love for wide-leg trousers more than once. However, *pause for effect* one part of my job as an editor here is to dig deep into our data and keep an eye on which products and brands our audience are truly loving (and, of course, shopping). Usually these best sellers align with the pieces our editors are obsessed with, but recently I spotted a rogue addition to the list that caught my attention: H&M's cigarette trousers.
Thinking about it, it made sense, since skinny and slim-fit trousers were actually spotted making an appearance again on a lot of the S/S 23 catwalks. When I found the exact trousers on H&M's website, it made even more sense, since the black, slim-ankled tailored trouser actually reminded me of something you'd find in the wardrobe of a very chic French woman—something so many of us (including me) aspire to replicate. H&M's cigarette trousers may be skinny, but they're a far cry from the (honestly, traumatising) jeggings of yore.
Before I passed judgement, I needed to try them and see what all the fuss was about. After all, we sold a whopping 167 pairs of them last month, and not all of you could be wrong. Turns out, you weren't, and as soon as I slipped on the affordable trousers, I did an immediate 180 on skinny pants. I suddenly felt like a very chic French woman who looks polished all the time, and I realised why a pair of cropped, slim, tailored trousers has always been an essential in a typical Parisian wardrobe.
I loved the £24.99 pair styled with ballet flats.
I found two different versions of the cigarette trousers on H&M and tried them both— one £24.99 pair and one for £17.99. The £24.99 pair fit a lot better on me, and had a slim rather than super-skinny ankle. They were cropped just below the ankle (I'm petite at 5'2", so if you're slightly taller I think they would be even better hitting just above it as they do on the models), and the best thing about them is that they went with lots of different shoe styles, from my more relaxed Birkenstock clogs, to ballet flats and pointed slingback heels; something that can be much more difficult to navigate with wide-leg trousers. They were also extremely comfortable with a bit of stretch, and they felt smart for office days but I would also wear them with a white shirt, heels and lots of jewellery for a nice dinner or drinks event in the evening. I tried a 10 (true to my size) and, although on the slightly bigger side they weren't hanging off me and I liked that they didn't feel restrictive.
This is the same pair styled with my beloved Birkenstocks and a bouclé jacket.
Of course, being from H&M, they may be affordable but they're not the most sustainable item you can buy for your wardrobe. These particular trousers are made up polyester (some of which is recycled), and viscose (some of which is LivaEco™), and a wiser investment, if you're a fan of the shape, may be a pair made with better materials that will last you a lot longer. Having said that, I did honestly get the feeling from trying them on that they would wash and last well, and be a pair of trousers you turned to again and again.
The £17.99 version is made up of half polyester and half cotton and although I was less impressed with the fit of these on me (probably because of the slightly stiffer fabric) I think they would look great on someone taller or with longer legs. After all, this pair currently has 6670 reviews with an average of 4.3 out of 5 stars so they must be doing something right. The ankle was definitely skinnier on these, too, if you prefer a more defined silhouette.
The £17.99 pair have a very flattering slimmer ankle but didn't fit me so effortlessly on the waist.
All in all, I was very impressed, and can totally see why this versatile trouser has garnered such a fan club—especially since both pairs looked far more expensive than their affordable price tags. The £24.99 pair come in eight different colours and are available from UK 4 up to a size UK 24, and the £17.99 pair in fourteen different colours to choose from up to size UK 30 in some colours. The black pair even has petite options which I'm keen to explore.
Keep scrolling to shop both pairs now and try them for yourself...
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