How to wear… split hem trousers

We’re approaching the thick of summer, although you wouldn’t know it from the weather over the last week.

The usual burst of sunny skies we tend to see around Leaving Cert time has been replaced by outbreaks of heavy rain and cold spells. Just a few weeks ago, we were gearing up to brave bare legs and arms, and now we’re reaching for the tights and coats all over again.

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If you’re looking for a way to flash a hint of skin as the temperatures start to rise, turn to the split hem trouser.

For her spring-summer collection, Victoria Beckham showcased a new trouser cut in 11 variations, from forest green to vibrant red to crisp white. At first glance, they looked like leggings, but as they continued to strut down the catwalk, it became evident that these were in fact crepe trousers, fitted to the mid-calf, before opening up with a V-shape split in the front hem, creating a neat flare around the ankle.

Beckham teamed the trousers with oversized t-shirts, crochet dresses, lace shirts and tailored blazers, illustrating how easily they can be dressed up or down for any occasion.

At the end of the show, Posh Spice herself wore them in black with a tan blazer, before changing into a cornflower blue pair for an afternoon event, and later into a decadent gold brocade version for a party that night. The message was clear: this is a piece that can be worn from day to night and everywhere in between.

Consider this your upgrade from leggings – they boast a similar super-slim silhouette, but with a sophistication and polish that renders them a lot smarter, fresher and more versatile.

You can throw them on with a t-shirt and cross-body bag, as you would your usual athleisure gear, or wear with a delicate broderie anglaise blouse and courts for the office.

If you prefer a straight cut over skinnies, look to Rejina Pyo, the cool girl’s go-to designer, who this season presented cropped trousers split to the mid-calf, in shades of camel, crimson and pale yellow. The soft cotton-linen fabric provides a stylish contrast to the sharp lines of the split hem, which is perfectly positioned to frame a fabulous pair of shoes.

For Pyo, that meant white square-toe pumps with an elegant ankle strap, while Beckham favoured silver slipper boots.

On a night out, draw inspiration from Eva Longoria and her sparkling gold sandals.

Longoria cut a typically glamorous figure at the Cannes film festival this year, with a series of bombshell gowns including a glitzy strapless number and a blush pink design with thigh-high slit. But she mixed it up with some modern tailoring, too, in a white blazer, camisole and gold trousers by her friend Victoria Beckham.

The effect was sleek, refined and just as dazzling as any evening dress, yet it felt ‘now’ in a way another golden goddess gown might not have.

Queen Letizia pulled off a similar feat in a co-ordinating tunic and split-hem trousers from Zara during her recent visit to Argentina.

The Spanish siren showcased a boldly colourful take on the split hem style: her zesty tangerine ensemble made for unconventional but compelling cocktail attire, elevated with navy accessories and a bee brooch.

The high street offers a range of different shades and shapes, with options for dramatic flares or more discreet side splits. Whatever you choose, make sure you style them with a pair of shoes worth showing off.

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