Silky Pants

Fashion is full of torturous trends-corsets, pointy pumps, daisy dukes-but though uncomfortable items are decidedly de rigueur, they're not the only game in town. In fact, lately we're obsessed with an article of clothing that is decidedly relaxed and amazingly soft, yet still manages to be totally and utterly chic: silky pants! And thanks to a few high-profile designers and some noteworthy industry insiders-including Margherita Missoni and's Susan Cernek-silky pants are moving beyond the bedroom and finally seeing the light of the day as one of fall's hottest fashion essentials. Throw in a lively print, and you've got yourself a standout piece that works for both casual and dressy affairs!

Before we head out to the streets and into some of fashion's most exclusive parties for some "how they wear" reporting, we'd like to start today's story where most trends begin: on the runways, specifically, the Tommy Hilfiger F/W 11 show! The king of prep showcased a handful of tops-and-trousers combos that were slinky, silky, and unquestionably sophisticated. We were particularly pleased with the way Hilfiger incorporated some notable fall accents into the ensembles-like teaming the Kyon Pajama Top ($248, 212.223.1824) and Theresa Pajama Pants ($298, 212.223.1824) with a pony hair hat (left) and the Karolina Foulard Tie-Front Button Blouse ($248, 212.223.1824) with navy pea coat (right)-to prevent the silky separates from feeling like sleepwear. Instead, the resulting outfits are easygoing, fashion-forward evening options that are perfect for parties!

Now, we know that head-to-toe printed silk can be a bit much for some, in which case we recommend following in the fashionable footsteps of Amanda Brooks, Barneys New York's Fashion Director, and Hanneli Mustparta, model/photographer/blogger extraordinaire. Both aficionados paired their statement-making pants with neutral accents for a more wearable, everyday approach. Brooks executed this look with ease at the launch party for The Row's handbag collection last month, when she wore Giulietta's Polka Dot Silk Crepe Pants ($632.50) and Simple Shirt ($437) in Salmon with a long-strap Mini Twin Ostrich Bag ($4700) by The Row. The simple nude top tempers the playful print, keeping the overall outfit chic and, most importantly, unfussy. Mustparta, on the other hand, demonstrated a more casual take on the styling trick earlier this year at New York Fashion Week, when she paired her vintage Christian Lacroix trousers with a white Jil Sander for Uniqlo tank and tan Whyred boots.

Of course, if you're seeking a more high-impact approach you can always pair you silky pants with an equally vivid top or standout print. Susan's Executive Fashion & Beauty Editor-had the right idea when she paired Zara's Wide Printed Trousers ($30) with a silky cobalt blue Lanvin top from the brand's denim line and a teal Anya Hindmarch bag for the magazine's August cover celebration. The combination of bright colours feels so right for summer, while the luxurious fabrics are perfectly in keeping with today's trend, making it an excellent transitional look. We're also fans of the way Fearne Cotton wore her silky pants while out and about in London a few months ago. We love how she grounded her dressy George pants with a laidback Levi's denim jacket, and were particularly pleased with her decision to add another print into the mix with Kurt Geiger's leopard Lucille Heels ($319) for quirky-yet-stylish finish. If you want to take your look even further, we suggest looking to Margherita Missoni for some on-point guidance. For her red-carpet appearance at the Elizabeth Arden Design Special Project during Milan Fashion Week earlier this year, the tastemaker teamed her zig-zag-print wide-leg Missoni pants from the S/S 11 collection with a crop top and multi-coloured knit jacket (also from Missoni S/S 11), and the resulting ensemble was quite memorable, to say the least.

Are you ready to slip into what might be this season's most comfortable trend? We thought so, and as such, have rounded up a few of our favourite silky pants for your purchasing pleasure! Topping our must-have list is Topshop Boutique's Green Trousers ($180), which feature a pretty oriental print and cool ombre colour effect, and the perfect-for-summer Peony Print Silk Wide Leg Trousers ($200), also by Topshop Boutique. While fans of Cernek's trousers can still pick up her exact pair, those who enjoyed Tommy Hilfiger's covetable pants-and who didn't?-will definitely want to snag Zara's more affordable Drawstring Printed Trousers ($20) before it's too late! Additionally, we adore Forever 21's Mod Wide Leg Pants ($20); its fun psychedelic print seems like something Rachel Zoe might wear. Finally, if your prefer more muted tones, we recommend taking a look at Whistles' Rope Print Wide Leg Pants ($215), Seventh Wonderland's Estelle Floral-Print Silk-Twill Pants ($245), and Waverly Grey's Wide-Leg Pants ($148), all of which would look smart worn with neutral accents.-Jessica Baker

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