How to wear patterned trousers

Q. As a follower of fashion, I always like to stay on trend. I've noticed that patterned trousers are all over the catwalks this season but I've no idea how to wear them. How can I wear this look and avoid looking like a clown? Help!

A. When printed trousers first surfaced on our fashion radars last year, they were greeted with mixed emotions - some women loved them, others approached with trepidation.

But love them or hate them, they've proved to have an enduring appeal and the high street is awash with a riot of prints again this season. It's a trend that's spreading like wildfire; a trend that is transforming a run-of-the-mill wardrobe staple and a trend that more than a few out there may think is utterly ghastly. Whichever way you look at it, it's having the mother of all effects on a pair of trousers near you.

The transformation of trousers from classic wardrobe staple to look-at-me fashion statement began last season with acid bright jeans (an acquired and determinedly youthful taste) and peg-leg trousers (belted and gathered high on the waist, 1980s style) – but now it’s all about bright bold prints, favored by the likes of Rihanna and Girls Aloud star Nicola Roberts.

If you want to invest in a pair, here’s a few things worth considering: The first rule of thumb is that the more petite the print, the easier it is to wear. So, if you're scared, start small and work up to something bigger. Next, try to pick one colour from the pattern and plump for plain separates in this shade. It's the key to making an outfit look like it's been pulled together rather than thrown together. Finally, keep any accessories simple; sequined shrugs and ornate bags will just fight for attention with printed trousers, so keep things pared down and plain.

Georgina Heffernan