Trouser Style Guide:
5 Key Styles Every Man Needs
It hardly needs to be said that having a diverse selection of trousers is a key part of any man’s wardrobe. After all, as they’re so key to any outfit, you certainly don’t want to get stuck in a style rut and rely on the same couple of pairs time and time again. However, you don’t need to go overboard and invest in dozens of trouser types to spruce up your look. Owning trousers in these five styles can ensure that you will always have the perfect pair whatever the occasion.
A versatile trouser style which looks just as dapper in the office as it does in a casual weekend outfit, Chinos should be at the heart of a man’s wardrobe. The name comes from the Spanish word chinos, meaning Chinese, as the trousers were first made in China, and issued by the US Army during the Spanish-American War of 1898. The garment initially had subtly tapered legs with no pleats, which is the most flattering fit to this day.
Chinos are comfortable and lightweight, typically made from cotton or slightly thicker cotton-twill blends. Tan or light brown casual styles tend to be the most popular, but the best thing about chinos is the range of colours available. Wearing a pair in red, blue or green is an easy way to inject some youthful energy into your look, while black, grey and navy chinos are laidback and easy to style. While this type of trouser can easily be incorporated into smarter looks when worn with a blazer and a spotless pair of formal shoes, remember that they fall more on the casual side of smart-casual. Which is to say, don’t try and dress them up too much — try wearing them with a pair of suede loafers and a plain button-down shirt. To give your outfit a cool edge, you could also turn up your chino legs, which is highly recommended if you’re wearing trainers.
Though wool trousers can be dressed down, this classic garment is undoubtedly the go-to style for work, weddings, and other formal events where you fancy something with a little more range than a suit. You’re sure to look smart offsetting your wool trousers with a shirt, tie and jacket, and finishing off with a sophisticated pair of Oxfords or Derbys. However, unlike a suit, you don’t need to be too concerned with making sure each element of your outfit matches perfectly. In fact, it’s better to avoid this altogether, giving you the chance to contrast the rest of your attire with your wool trousers, so feel free to experiment with materials and patterns like tweeds and checks.
Grey is our favourite wool trouser colour, as the light shade perfectly balances the heaviness of the fabric. However, black is still a suave choice, provided the rest of your outfit introduces delicate hues like white, beige and brown to offset the darkness. Choose a pleated trouser to add a little extra detail, and boost comfort with extra room and a looser silhouette, or a slim-fitting, smooth, wool trouser for no-frills, fitted tailoring. Don’t be put off if you have larger legs either, as wool trousers are extremely flattering, whatever your body type.
When the temperature rises, a pair of lightweight cotton-linen trousers will be just what you need to cool down. Linen bottoms were once loose, shapeless, and certainly not associated with fashionable fellows, but now dapper gents can choose from elegant, tailored trousers in luxurious blends.
Wearing these comfortable trousers as part of a cotton-linen suit can provide you with an eye-catching ensemble that’s perfect for a day at the races and other outdoor summer events. This look is especially breezy and modern when you opt for vibrant summery colours like strawberry red or sage green. If you want to include your cotton-linen trousers in a casual outfit, simply turn them up and add a light, linen shirt and a pair of boat shoes.
As important as it is to be impeccably dressed, every modern man knows that the best clothes are as practical as they are fashionable. The five-pocket trousers are perhaps the most functional of all. Beyond giving you multiple places to stash your belongings, this trouser style hits the sweet spot between jeans and chinos, effortlessly fulfilling the smart-casual dress code.
Five-pocket trousers are typically made from cotton, making them lighter than denim and naturally breathable, ideal for another stylish, summer garment. You can wear them with T-shirts, polo shirts and trainers if you’re dressing down, or throw on a tailored blazer and smart brogues for swankier occasions.
Sporty trousers are essential for both leisure and lounging, and a luxurious pair of sweatpants are guaranteed to offer ultimate comfort thanks to the loose fit, elasticated waist and drawstring. Slimline styles are the most attractive, and will make you feel well put-together even at your most casual.
Trainers are obviously the most appropriate shoes to pair with these athletic trousers, and because it’s best to keep the rest of your outfit simple, just wear a basic T-shirt or sweatshirt on top. Need an extra layer? Finish the look with a cosy bomber jacket.