I went shopping for pants the other day (not something I do often as I tend to shop online most of the time). Going through the racks at the stores, I realized that it can get really confusing these days when it comes to finding a pair of pants – with so many different types and styles floating around. I decided this required a primer (for myself as much as for everyone else) on the different types of pants out there today and knowing where to wear them. It gets very simple once you break them down so here goes –
Let’s start out with the ones we tend to wear for most of the day at the office. Dress pants come in two popular styles – pleated and flat front.
Pleated pants were all the rage in the early days but these days, men tend to stay away from them as they tend to make the area below your torso look really bulky and are not fitted at all. If you are a slightly larger man with thick thighs, then one or two pleats might be the way to go to allow for the extra room. For a slim man, it’s definitely a no-go. Here’s a compelling case against pleated pants.
For slimmer individuals and those who like wearing their clothes well fitted – this is the style of dress pants you want for the office. Fit is important here though – you don’t want too tight a pair that outlines all your curves.
Khakis refer to 100% cotton pants and are so called because that is the original color of the pants. These days however, you can find khakis in a multitude of colors and if you’re going for a business casual look, khakis can be a really good option for the office (they come in pleated and flat fronts too).
Corduroy pants are vertically ribbed – what this means is there are channels and ridges on the pants known as ‘wales’. Corduroys come with different wale factors, which refers to how spread or close together the vertical ridges are. These tend to be more casual and the material is normally thicker than the other options so not the best option for summer days (although fine for slightly cooler summer nights).
Cargo pants is a casual style of pants that has been around since the 90s. You can recognize them because they come with exterior flaps and/or velcro pockets and although frowned upon in an office environment – although they are alright to wear in certain service industries these days which requires carrying around work-related tools. They can be made in many different fabrics.
Chinos are NOT the same as khakis although they are commonly mistaken to be. Chinos are made from more synthetic materials, have a slight sheen to them and tend to have a narrower cut with tapered ends as opposed to khakis. They are slightly more formal than khakis and therefore, often to be found in an office environment.
Denim jeans are the first to mind when thinking of casual pants. These pants (or slacks) come in so many different shades, styles and cuts that to go through them all would require more than an article, but suffice to say, for most office environments – jeans are a no-go, even for a business casual look. They would go great anywhere outside where the dress code is casual though.
Extremely casual slacks and normally worn around the house or for exercise. These are comfortable pants made in many different fabrics (based on your preference of what is comfortable for you).
And that is a very short primer on the different types of popular pants choices a man has these days. There are obviously many that we left out and if you feel strongly that we should have mentioned them – feel free to drop us a comment below!