Are red pants the worst fashion faux pas?


But should we be so cursed? Tinie Tempah, pictured above, made it — and so did Tommy Hilfiger, Will Smith and the late fashion journalist André Leon Talley. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden once wore them – although I’m not sure he pulled it off. Likewise: Victoria Beckham looked fabulous in her red patent trousers and so did Queen Letizia (accessorised with red heels). Diana, Princess of Wales also looked adorable sporting red pants during the Sloane Ranger era. One can only conclude that red pants really aren’t that bad for women – although up until the 20th century they were said to suggest prostitution.

Leaving in red pants: Diana, Princess of Wales with the Prince of Wales

Mirrorpix/Getty Images

Red trousers have a history: from the 15th century red trousers were a ‘masculine mark of taste and status’, according to an article in Guardian. Is this what Michael Jackson was channeling in 1983 Thriller video? We’ll never know – except in America they don’t have the same connotation and pink shorts are allegedly the dubious equivalent of red preppy shorts.

Michael Jackson in the video for Thriller1983

Allstar Picture Library Limited. / Alamy Stock Photo

For nearly 10 years we’ve lived in fear of the red breeches – and I think the emergence of Sir Frederick Barclay may have accelerated its escalation from endangered to extinct. Only time will tell – but, for now at least, here are some great examples of ‘red pants done right’ to enjoy.



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