Why Rupert Bear is your trouser icon this autumn

Photo: Getty

Unexpected though it might be, the little bear’s checked trousers are one of this season’s key looks. Frankie Graddon tells us how to wear them

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By Frankie Graddon on

It would be fair to say that, lately, we’ve had some pretty unexpected style icons. For example, last summer saw Titanic crooner, Celine Dion, suddenly transform herself into a haute couture fashion plate of the highest order. Her escapades in Dior, Balmain and Givenchy at the Paris shows were dubbed by the media as the ‘Dionaissance’, so major was her fashion moment. Come Christmas it was everyone’s favourite Muppet, Miss Piggy, who had taken on the stylish mantle. Hosting the 2017 Fashion Awards red carpet and dressed in a spangly frock by Anthony Vaccarello, Piggy gave planet fashion’s glossiest inhabitants a run for their money. Mere moments later, it was actor Jeff Goldblum who stole the sartorial limelight, taking to social media to show off his zebra-print shoes and matching socks. (I defy anyone who saw Jurassic Park to have seen that one coming.) But it is perhaps autumn’s current style crush who is the most surprising of them all. White and fluffy with a button nose, he’s certainly not your usual fashion type. And yet, his signature checked trousers are one of the biggest looks of the season. I’m talking about Rupert Bear.

Having been done by the likes of Erdem and Michael Kors on the autumn catwalks, Rupert Bear-inspired checked slacks are undoubtedly the trousers to know about. I’ve been desperate for a pair of Rupert Bears ever since my colleague, Vic, wore a pair into the office a few weeks ago. Purchased from Urban Outfitters and with a hint of blue, when worn with a thin roll-neck jumper and flat biker boots, they were a triumph. Simple, stylish and office-appropriate without feeling too “worky”. I could imagine switching in a pair of kitten heels for wine time, or chucking them on with a T-shirt and trainers at the weekend. Versatile. Excellent.

Like all good ideas, the high street has gone wild for checked trousers and they’re selling like hot cakes. Kitri’s grey and blue “Meghan” trousers sold out in two weeks with the brown check “Lexi” cropped flares one of the brand’s quickest selling trouser styles to date. (Both styles are being restocked in different colourways.) Zara, Warehouse, & Other Stories and Hush have also gone big on on the style, meaning that there are lots to pick from. So which to choose?

Having been done by the likes of Erdem and Michael Kors on the autumn catwalks, Rupert Bear-inspired checked slacks are undoubtedly the trousers to know about

As with all trousers, when buying your Rupert Bears, fit is something you’ll want to think about. After years of only wearing jeans, I was devastated to realise that certain cuts of tailored trousers could either make me look like I’d eaten an entire Christmas pudding for lunch or like I had a ginormous camel toe. Or, in a couple of horrifying circumstances, both. While everybody suits different silhouettes, by and large, the easiest trouser shape to pull off is mid-rise with a 7/8th leg. Mid-rise because, though high-waists are comfortable they tend to make your arse look a foot long. And 7/8th because, be your legs short, long or somewhere in between, a flash of ankle between trouser hem and shoe is never not flattering. Plus, a cropped leg goes with every type of shoe. Hush has nailed this shape with the Cropped Check Trouser, as have Boden with the Richmond ⅞ trousers (the brand’s bestseller) in navy and red check. If you’re after something a little slouchier, then check out the belted wide-leg trousers from TU, which look great with a roll-neck and pointed flats or trainers.

While Rupert was a fan of yellow, I find that a classic palette is a far easier way to go when it comes to trousers. Greys, blacks and navies are probably going to work with more of your wardrobe and are a good base on which to build an outfit. To introduce a bit of colour, choose a pair with a bright check, which can be picked out with co-ordinated accessories. For examples, the red check on Warehouse’s slim-leg trousers can be dialled up with a pair of red shoes (these from And/Or), or kept subtle with black. Similarly, Oliver Bonas’ Grey Side Stripe trousers would work with both Kirti’s yellow bobble jumper or a classic black crew neck.

A final word on prints. If you go for a loud check, then it makes sense to keep the rest of your outfit print-free. Having said that, if you stick to a similar colour palette, then a touch of animal print, polka dots or stripes will work. I’d wear & Other Stories’ Wide Checked Trousers with Whistles’ Cheetah Print pyjama shirt tucked in, or Hush’s check trousers with Me+Em’s spot blouse.

Click here for the Rupert Bear trouser edit (and what to wear with them)


Photo: Getty
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Frankie Graddon

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