Wild guess: the last time you wore gaucho pants was eight years ago. Your go-to pair was made of thin, clingy jersey, and had a stretchy top that rolled down once (sometimes twice, but you weren’t the kind of girl who did that, right?). Remembering the awkward assortment of bedazzled flip-flops, cork-bottom platforms and lacy "going out" tops you paired it with gives you the shudders—what were you thinking?!—as does the damning way it made your legs look shorter. Upon hearing the style had returned this spring, you stifled a scream.
I’m right there with you. The idea of re-entering the if-y world of gauchos really freaked me out, too. But after watching a few colleagues far braver than me (including, obviously, our fearless editor in chief Eva Chen—check out her impeccable gaucho look here) dabble in the trend, I’m starting to change my opinion. Up close, I’ve noticed that the cropped wide leg bottoms happening right now are nothing like the ones we remember from the era of Paris Hilton and Pinkberry: rather than flimsy, unforgiving sweatshirt fabric, these are crafted from heavier, luxurious materials that flatter the body, like satin, wool and linen. The cuts are a little crisper, and the waistbands have belt loops. It’s actually a really elegant, refined look.
What’s more, gauchos 2.0 are easier to style than you’d think. Picking the right shirt is all about counterbalancing the extra volume around your lower half, so any crop top—from tight bralette to full and boxy—or tucked in blouse or T-shirt works. And although a heel or platform is the safest shoe choice, you can get away with flats as well; the trick is to pick shoes with a thick sole—so no ballet flats! You need something more substantial to anchor all those extreme proportions.
Of course, perhaps the hardest part of giving gaucho pants a second try is finding ones that work for you. That’s why I’ve included 20 perfect pairs for you choose to from in the slideshow above (and all the moral support in the world: I’ll try if you do, too?). Click through to shop my picks now.