Trends come and go—or at least, most of them do. If they're good enough, some will be around for many seasons and then eventually become wardrobe staples. This is exactly what's happened with split-hem trousers. They were first championed by Victoria Beckham in her S/S 20 runway show and picked up almost immediately by the likes of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and street style royalty such as Camille Charrière. Fast-forward to 2022, and we're still just as into the flattering trouser trend.
It may or may not be because we've learnt to truly appreciate a great legging outfit over the past couple of years, but it also might have something to do with the fact that they're surprisingly versatile. Split-hem leggings or stretchy trousers elevate an outfit while still being just as comfy to wear as your standard yoga pants. They work well with trainers (if you're tall enough or find a great cropped pair) and your highest heels on a night out, and they're the perfect pairing for our trusty blazers, especially in spring.
Put it this way: If you're looking for a perfect "popping to the pub" or "heading for dinner with friends" outfit now that we're all socialising again, this is your warning not to overlook split-hem leggings.
It's unsurprising, then, that by now every brand from The Row to H&M offers a version of split-hem trousers. And because they can all look quite similar on paper, I thought it was worth trying on and really putting to the test some of the most popular pairs to figure out which ones to add to your arsenal.
After trying A LOT of them, below are the pairs I loved the most, from denim to legging styles.
1. & Other Stories Front Slit Trousers
I loved that these felt like real trousers for smarter occasions. They've got pockets on the back and a side zip, so they work for tucking things in nicely. As you'd expect with & Other Stories, the quality was really nice, and they felt like they'd last for years without stretching or bobbling.
2. & Other Stories Front Slit Leggings
These have the same quality as the others, but I feel like they could be dressed up or down a little easier without the flared hem. The slit was also a little more subtle. I'm 5'2" for reference, and I could just about wear them with flat shoes, but I preferred them with a small slingback kitten heel here.
3. The Row Slit-Cuff Leggings
Ah, The Row. Of course, these were perfect. The slim, cropped style is certainly an investment, but you could instantly feel the difference in quality, fit and finish (as you'd hope). They were first released in 2019 and have become one of the brand's evergreen styles, so at least you can be confident you'll be wearing them for many more years to come. They're flattering, comfortable and ideal for dressing up or down.
4. Wardrobe NYC Zipped-Cuff Leggings
Wardrobe NYC has become the go-to for elevated staples, with celebrity fans from Rosie Huntington-Whiteley to Hailey Bieber. These definitely fall into that category, and I liked that they had a zip on the hem so you could wear them as normal leggings when you wanted to. The quality was, of course, really good, and they had a nice stretch waist and zip-pocket detailing.
5. H&M Flared Slit-Detail Leggings
Okay, these were the most classic "comfy leggings" of all the pairs I tried. Being 95% cotton, they didn't feel as smart as the rest, and I'd worry a little about the potential to sag, so maybe size down, but as you can see, they still worked with heeled boots and a blazer. If you're in the market for a more casual, weekend-worthy style for an affordable price, you can't argue with these.
6. H&M Slit-Hem Leggings
I was really pleasantly surprised by how premium these felt. I even had to go back and double check I'd actually put on the right H&M pair and not a designer style, which is always a good sign. The slim leg and large side slit were really flattering in my opinion.
7. H&M Split Jeans
I know we're technically talking leggings here, but after trying these magical jeans, I had to include them. They fit like a glove (true to size—I'm wearing a size 10), and after a year of converting to looser jeans, these reminded me how flattering a more fitted style could be. The slit-hem made them feel a little more exciting too and perfect for casual evenings out. They may have made their way to my wardrobe afterwards.
8. Abercrombie & Fitch Vegan Leather Split-Hem Pants
9. ASOS Design Rib Trousers With Front Split
Tall people, assemble. As you can see, for my petite frame, these were dragging on the floor a little, but if you're taller and want that floor-length flare look, these are the split-hem leggings for you. I like that these were ribbed too, which made them really sculpting and flattering.
10. Mango Jersey Trousers With Front Split
I've saved the best until last. Mango won my heart and my credit card details with this perfect pair. It was super comfy, not too flared and not too skinny, and it had a zipped ankle for versatility. The material also felt much more expensive than the £20 price tag, so all in all a winner.