Fashion How to wear ‘horseshoe’ jeans –fashion’s divisive new trend

How to wear ‘horseshoe’ jeans –fashion’s divisive new trend


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Which isn’t to say the horseshoe hasn’t been met with perplexity in some quarters. This is likely because at first glance, its wide, bow-legged shape might lead one to ask its wearer, quite reasonably, whether she had just dismounted a particularly wide-flanked Suffolk Punch. Across social media, opinion has been divided. On Tiktok, where the ‘horseshoejeans’ hashtag has currently had 773K views, reactions vary from “I’m not cool enough to wear these” to “just no”.

The “I’m not cool enough” concern is a common one. While such a distinctive-looking shape might look great on Rosie Huntington Whiteley, what of those wearers who are older, shorter, wider and don’t spend their lives in high heels? According to Marianne McDonald, creative director of LA-based denim label Citizens of Humanity, the style is more versatile than it might seem. “The horseshoe has the ability to look relaxed and sophisticated at the same time, referencing vintage shapes while also feeling very modern,” she argues. “When we launched the style for autumn 2021, people had strong reactions. But over the next year, as silhouettes eased and denim trends became baggier, the horseshoe moved from being a directional style for a small set of fashion insiders to one of the brand’s cult styles.” By autumn 2023, she adds, it was a best seller – so much so that the £350 style will be available in four new washes for spring.

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As for how to wear it for those game enough to attempt the look, the trick is to let the jeans themselves remain the focal point, rather than trying to compete with them. Huntington Whiteley got it just right by pairing hers with a simple black skinny-rib polo neck: with a surfeit of volume on your bottom half, it pays not to add any extra to your top half, and instead team with a narrow silhouette.

According to the stylist and author of How To Dress, Alex Fullerton, the horseshoe can just as easily be worn by midlifers as younger women, though she suggests adding an extra element of polish. “If you wear them with trainers, slip on a blazer or tailored cropped jacket. Rather than have them drag on the floor, roll them to your ankle. If you want to wear them with a slouchy sweatshirt, add a pointed-toe heel, which finesses it beyond something you slung on to slink to the supermarket.”

Arguably the scariest part of the trend isn’t the shape of the jeans, but the fact that they look best worn with a top tucked into the waistband. If this is a dealbreaker, as it is for many women, ensure your top doesn’t fall too far past that point. A boxy T-shirt would work well, or a simple crew-neck jumper. Or for a more formal look, you could pair them with a tailored jacket or blazer and add a low kitten heel to show off their sculptural qualities.

While the Alaia version costs £880, there are more affordable horseshoes on the market too, many with less exaggeratedly curved proportions that make them easier to wear. Two of the least curvy include Mother’s tapered version (£295) and Whistles’ Barrel jeans (£95). Those who love a winter white jean might like Cos’s iteration, £69.

I’ll admit I was cynical, but after buying a £55 pair from Weekday (the style is called ‘Rail’), I’m a convert. They’re as comfortable as boyfriend jeans, but that little bit more chic. I love how they look with a trench coat and Uggs, or a blazer and Birkenstock Bostons. Best of all, they have that crucial ‘slouch factor’ that feels so right for now, as well as being a canny investment for next season.

Try these

Citizens of Humanity Horseshoe jeans in Bravo, £350,Selfridges; Agolde Luna tapered jeans, £320,Net-a-Porter

Barrel jeans, £160,Levi’s; Tapered jeans, £69,Cos

Mother tapered jeans, £295,Net-a-Porter;Barrel jeans, £95,Whistles


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