Are red trousers the most serious fashion faux pas?

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But must we be so damning? Tinie Tempah, as pictured above, got away with it – and so has Tommy Hilfiger, Will Smith and the late fashion journalist André Leon Talley. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden once wore them – although I’m not sure he got away with it. Equally: Victoria Beckham looked fabulous in her patent red trousers and so did Queen Letizia (accessorised with red heels). Diana, Princess of Wales also looked adorable sporting red trousers during the Sloane Ranger era. One can only deduce that red trousers really aren’t so bad for women – although up to the 20th century they reportedly suggested prostitution.

Getting away with the red trousers: Diana, Princess of Wales with the Prince of Wales

Mirrorpix/Getty Images

Red trousers have history: from the 15th century red breeches were a ‘male sign of taste and status,’ according to an article in the Guardian. Is that what Michael Jackson was channeling in the 1983 Thriller video? We’ll never know – besides in America they don’t have the same connotations and pink shorts are allegedly the questionable ‘preppy’ red trouser equivalent.

Michael Jackson in the video for Thriller1983

Allstar Picture Library Limited. / Alamy Stock Photo

For nearly 10 years we’ve been living in red trouser fear – and I think Sir Frederick Barclay’s outing may well have accelerated its escalation from endangered to extinct. Only time will tell – but, at least for now, here are some fabulous examples of ‘red trousers done well’ to enjoy.

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