Cheryl Shops Spring Shopping Guide: Harem Pants
Okay, I know what you're thinking: Seriously, harem pants? But before you get all put out and refuse to ever read Cheryl Shops again because I'm such a lemming, just hear me out. Part of the fun in fashion is stepping outside your comfort zone and taking risks. And harem pants are a risk that can definitely pay off: They have an exotic quality, and when you find the right pair, they actually have a flattering, wonderfully draped cut that lightly skims your body. Speaking of comfort, they can be quite cozy also. In fact, they can look totally awesome on you, but you'll never know if you don't try!

Harem pants were all over the spring runways in New York, but I really knew they were going to be a big trend when Mr. Preppy All-American himself, Ralph Lauren, featured them heavily in his collection. His silk crepe de chine pair is obviously luxurious, but the extra-low crotch is a look that's admittedly not for everyone. But these are fancy enough that you could wear them for day or night.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are these Rick Owens harem pants, which, while a bit droopy in the seat, are almost leggings-like in their thinness. Rick Owens is a master at cutting jersey, so you can almost be certain that the fit will be amazing. Plus, while not exactly a bargain, the price is not totally unreasonable.

The key to handling so much volume in your seat area is to balance it out elsewhere, such as in these Vanessa Bruno cropped harem pants, which have a higher, fitted waist. VB is also a master at taking voluminous cuts and shaping them to be flattering, so I completely trust her on this one.

If you're truly skittish about harem pants, these Opening Ceremony pants achieve a similar effect without a totally literal interpretation. They also have that elusive combination of skinny and slouchy that fashionistas are always on the hunt for.

As I said earlier, the key to finding the best fit is to make sure that the volume in the hips is balanced by a slim fit elsewhere. These Alexander Wang silk pants are an unlikely combination of harem and skinny, but if you think about, they make perfect sense: You avoid the sausage-casing-effect in your thighs while emphasizing the slim, shapely part of your leg, from the knee down. Genius!

Elizabeth & James is quickly becoming one of my favorite brands, because everything they do is interesting and yet flattering. Their harem pants are probably my favorite in this series, because they simply look perfect to me--cropped length, not too baggy, wonderfully draped. My only concern is that they're knit, which might make them seem too casual for work, but throw a blazer over them, and they should be good to go.

The good news is that even if I still haven't convinced you that harem pants are investment-worthy, there are many affordable options out there. Urban Outfitters, as you might imagine, is totally all over harem pants, with this high-waisted Silence & Noise style. These actually aren't that harem-y; they're more like a high-waisted pleated pant. But they are a bit slouchy, and if you have a small waist you want to show off, these should work.

I haven't been in a bebe store in years, but their harem pants could possibly draw me back in. I admit that I wouldn't expect to find harem pants in bebe, as they're not particularly sexy in that overt bebe way, but these have a slim, refined shape that's not too crazy.

Finally, if you haven't been to Topshop yet and are really behind harem pants, then it's definitely your place to go. They have so many pairs on the website, they have a separate navigational point. Topshop calls them "hareem trousers," but while the spelling may be funny, they get the fit absolutely right. I almost bought a pair there on Friday, but they didn't have my size (I could tell, however, from the next size smaller, that they were going to fit well.) They don't have my phantom pair on the website, but this pair is close, and, as the website says, they're the "perfect hareems for summer."

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