The '90s Trouser Trend French Women Are Wearing Instead of Jeans This Winter

The transition from a bright, sunny autumn to a chilly, frosty winter has begun, and we're already noticing a tonal shift. Where lime greens, Barbie pinks and cerulean blues have dominated our warm weather wardrobes, new-in pages are seeing those classic September hues take their place: think warm terracottas, earthy reds and deep browns.

Brown has long been a quiet staple of the autumn/winter palette, but since early last year, it's become something of a talking point. We associate this rich neutral with '90s minimalism, a revived aesthetic that has had a huge impact on the past two years of fashion. Celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Tyra Banks and Mariah Carey made chocolate brown a defining shade of the '90s, and with a love of all things nostalgic characterising recent catwalks, this particular colour has been wholly embraced by today's trendsetters, too.


(Image credit: @jullie.jeine)

With this in mind, we eagle-eyed fashion editors have spied a micro-trend emerging among the Parisian style set. Brown trousers. Having recognised the versatility of this classic hue, French influencers are pairing it with everything from tailoring to cosy knitwear. There's something about it that makes an outfit feel instantly more expensive, not to mention winter-appropriate. 

See for yourself—we've rounded up five chic brown trouser outfits, sourced from Gallic girls who know a thing or two about style. And if you (like us) can't wait to try out these looks, you'll find the pieces you need to recreate them below. Ready, steady, scroll...

1. Cable-Knit Cardigan + Tailored Trousers


(Image credit: @pia_mbd)

Style Notes: With winter well and truly here, it's time to start thinking about knitwear. A chunky cream cardigan will add a dose of cosiness to all your outfits, and achieve a fun juxtaposition with brown tailored trousers.

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2. Trench Coat + Leather Trousers + Woven Bag


(Image credit: @frannfyne)

Style Notes: You'll find us relying on trench coats as soon as the weather turns. This French staple looks great with all kinds of trousers, but I love how Franny has modernised it with a tan leather pair.

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3. Asymmetric Top + Puddle Pants


(Image credit: @thevisuelofgrace)

Style Notes: It might be cold out there, but I still plan on getting plenty of wear out of my tank tops thanks to some clever layering tricks. This form-fitting basic works well with ultra-wide-leg trousers, as demonstrated by Grace. Just add a coat or blazer, or better yet, some cosy shearling, and you're ready to go.

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4. Biker Jacket + Track Pants + Trainers


(Image credit: @tamaramory)

Style Notes: On lazy days, you can't beat sweatpants. Tap into this trend with a rich brown iteration, and make it feel edgier with a relaxed-fit biker jacket and fashion sneakers.

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5. Blazer + Cropped Trousers + Heeled Boots


(Image credit: @melodiebance)

Style Notes: When in doubt, toss on a blazer. Navy complements all shades of brown—the two work in tandem to create a dreamy autumn palette. Opt for a cropped leg to show off your favourite boots.

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Next Up: These COS Trousers Are So Popular, I Don't Understand How They're Still in Stock

Freelance Fashion Editor

Bébhinn Campbell is an Edinburgh-based fashion and lifestyle writer and editor. She started her first blog at age 14 and went on to intern at print and digital publications in Berlin and London, including Dazed & Confused and Indie magazine.

A job at a fashion startup took Bébhinn from Ireland to Scotland in 2019, where she now works as a freelance journalist and copywriter covering everything from travel and interiors to styling advice. As a contributor to Who What Wear, Bébhinn always keeps her eyes peeled for emerging trends and looks worth writing about. She prides herself on her ability to cut through the noise and identify solid investment buys, exciting new brands and fresh takes on classic design.

In her spare time, Bébhinn enjoys perusing Edinburgh’s best vintage shops, working through her out-of-control book collection and watching dog reels on Instagram.