Pants.

My current crop of wild trousers is getting pretty good. It started with those Shakira pants from Topshop (purple tie dye hareems purchased in the summer – people laughed, but they sold out in seconds). My other half is horrified, but I am very excited about the advent of the print trew – after all, we’ve been wearing boring, plain bottoms for far too long.

In the 80’s, bold prints were all the rage. Remember those jeans with cartoon patches? Remember when leggings had no boundaries when it came to luminosity and sheer madness? Remember prints on slacks that would (literally) stop traffic?

The 80s was all about the show-stopping leg wear and as designers’, and the high street’s, love of that decade enters the frenzy phase (it’s equivalent to backing 15 Mars Bars and a pint of Red Bull), print trousers rule supreme.

In designer terms, printed trousers are rife throughout the mid-season collections. Whether hareem, straight legged, cropped, hipster or even flare (blame Miu Miu, right), every designer from Erdem to Cavalli is doing funky bottoms.

In a progressive step forward from the jumpsuit there are matching tops (read: no trouble in the the toilet – yay!), or you can dare to be braver with a clashing patterned top. Sunglasses may be required.

On the high street printed pants are infiltrating the autumn/winter collections too – don’t let it be said that a splash or floral print is only for summer. These trousers actually lift your look in the winter months and can definitely be worn with chunky knits and winter boots.

Before I pick my best buys, let’s just put the pyjama jokes to rest – printed trousers really can look elegant – or rock chic, depending on how you accessorise. The only problem I find is that they somehow, in spite of the dizzying prints, draw attention to your wobbly bits – particularly when the fit is hareem – but there are enough long jumpers around for a quick fix and matching print bottoms with a grunge-look top is absolutely on-trend.

If you live in the real world, and you’re not up for setting trends, team printed trousers with plain tops, coats and shoes to let the pants speak for themselves, but do push the boat out and go for a print that is bright and beautiful. Muted is pointless.

All kinds of perfect for winter, Topshop’s floral hareems are begging for a slouchy knit and killer heels.

The Minkpink velvet floral leggings at ASOS are lush too, and ideal matched with a fitted jumper and wedge boot.

Warehouse has a very cool pair of paisley print hareems on offer, looking good with a simple tee, as do the grey animal print burnout hareem trousers at River Island.

I can’t link you to the ditsy print trousers in H&M (but do check them out – very sweet) but I can draw your attention to Roberto Cavalli’s bonza brocade pants at Net-A-Porter.

I do understand if the thought of wearing print trousers fills you with dread, but I reckon if you brave the changing room, with a wild pair over one arm and a chunky knit over the other, you might be surprised.

Gorgeous spring 2011 looks from Karen Walker.

Written by Johanna Payton