I'm a Stylist, & These Are the Tops I Always Tell Clients to Wear With Trousers

As a stylist, I get a number of questions over and over again from my peers and clients. Things like, What’s really the best pair of jeans? Where can I find expensive-looking items on the high street? Or, Which shoes go with this outfit? One of the most common I've been asked a lot recently, though, is what to wear with trousers—especially since the trend for anything with legs shows no sign of abating.

We like to make it our mission as Who What Wear editors to help solve as many of these queries as possible, so I put my head down and started thinking about which top shapes I always turn to when pulling together winning trouser looks, whether that’s for myself, on shoots or for my styling clients. 

Fortunately, finding perfect trouser-and-top combos is absolutely not rocket science. In fact, thinking about it, the styles I always rely on are wardrobe classics that you probably already own. All you really need are a few versatile basic tops that reliably look great with all your new favourite wide-leg trousers or cargo pants or leathers (you get the picture), and these will allow you to unlock so many easy but chic outfits for seasons to come. 

The general theory I stick to is if you’re going loose on the bottom, keep it more streamlined up top. So things like Arket’s merino roll-neck and crew-neck are going to be your heroes with wide-leg trousers. They work really well alone, or you can always layer over knitted vests or matching suit blazers. Having a fitted base will just maintain that polish. In summer, switch roll-necks for ribbed vests, which offer the same proportions, and for a more casual look, a simple, fresh T-shirt (Arket, again, does my favourite one) will always work.

Following those same principles, classic looser button-down shirts look great with slimmer-fitting pant styles like tapered or skinny ones, but they’re the one exception to the rule when it comes to wide-leg trousers. Since they’re so classic, you can afford to make more of a statement with proportions by tucking an oversized shirt into looser pants for a very editor-approved look. If in doubt, start with a classic shirt that doesn’t feel too baggy, like The Frankie Shop’s Everyday, over a ribbed vest.

Keep scrolling to see the simple but effective tops I always style with trousers.

1. Roll-Necks

Tops to wear with trousers

Photo:

@abimarvel

Arket's popular merino roll-neck is perfect for tucking into trousers. 

It comes in so many different colours too. 

Mango has excellent plus-size options for basic tops. 

2. Crew-Necks

Tops to wear with trousers

Photo:

@smythsisters

If you're not a fan of a high-neck top, slim-fitting crew-necks do the same job. And as you can see here, they look great with tailored trousers of all kinds. 

If you find a basic that works, it doesn't hurt to invest in multiple colours if you know you will wear it all the time.

Raey is best known for its premium basics like this sweater, made from responsible and fully traceable merino wool. 

M&S cashmere is king, and I wear this simple crew-neck sweater all the time with trousers. With wide-leg trousers, I tuck it in at the front and add a smart belt.

3. Bodysuits

Tops to wear with trousers

Photo:

@vikilefevre

Bodysuits are perfect for wearing with trousers, as they avoid any awkward tucking in. They stay streamlined all day and are also a really nice day-to-night option—particularly this & Other Stories one. 

A collared bodysuit is perfect for wearing with wide-leg trousers to the office. 

Khaite does beautiful premium bodysuits you'll wear forever. 

4. Ribbed Vests

As Danielle proves above, you can even dress up trousers with a a simple ribbed vest.

I've got this in multiple colours. 

So affordable yet so expensive looking. 

This would look so springy paired with cream trousers. 

5. T-Shirts

The perfect T-shirt, hands down. 

Pair this with tonal neutrals like camel, cream or khaki trousers for a seriously expensive-looking outfit. 

6. Button-Down Shirts

Tops to wear with trousers

Photo:

@emilyjdawes

If you're planning on mostly tucking in your shirts, look for shorter lengths to avoid any bulkiness. 

Silky shirts work best tucked into trousers for a relaxed work or evening look. 

This shirt isn't super oversized, so it's perfect for pairing with wide-leg trousers either tucked in or open. 

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