Make these lesser-known trews your trusted go-tos
We understand that statement jackets and cool shoes are always going to be more fun to shop for, but it’s incredible how often guys can overlook their legs when checking out. A smart choice of trouser can be the most powerful item you wear, and a bad pair can instantly lay waste to all of your hard work.
Yes, it’s easy to simply plump for your tried-and-tested black skinny jeans for the umpteenth time, but your trouser game could be in major need of a shake-up. Here are some styles that you might not have considered, but definitely should do:
Once strictly the domain of nebbish professors from wan college literature, this is really one of the most interesting materials you can go for and – if worn correctly – can make for a standout trouser style.
A textile composed of woven, twisted cotton or wool, what you get from corduroy is a patina consisting of parallel lines (called ‘wales’) and a cool strobe-like effect if you catch it at the right angle. A wool corduroy is best, and wears particularly well, giving whatever item you purchased both character and charm (as well as making you look like you received a first-class degree from a red brick university in a mid-century novel). They can get a bit warm, mind, so best to save them for when it starts getting a bit chilly out.
Contrary to its sometimes stuffy connotations, corduroy is brilliant when dressed down and worn quite casually, while also being perfect for adding a touch of personality to more formal attire. With a precise roll or two at the hem and thrown together with a white T-shirt and a denim or canvas jacket, your cords can be an item of truly understated sartorial nous.
Margaret Howell is the (wo)man when it comes to wale wear and MHL’s quality is incomparable. On the other end of the spectrum, Uniqlo’s range of corduroy trousers is unbeatable for the price.
Another style that promises plenty of versatility is the wool trouser. A firm favourite of fashion bloggers (the kind who don’t dress like anime astronauts, that is) and art directors the world over, these will add a touch of Parisian cool to any look.
Perfect both for styling with other tailored separates or smartening up a casual getup, wool trousers have been a mainstay amongst industry insiders for a few years now – and their popularity isn’t showing any signs of waning.
While you’ll often see them dressed down with a pair of adidas Stan Smiths by arbiters of cool hanging outside loft offices leisurely puffing on roll-ups, they work just as well styled in more traditional fashion – as so often seen at menswear’s Cannes Festival equivalent, Pitti Uomo – with a pair of brogues, Derbies or throwback #menswear favourites: double monk-straps.
Parisian label A.P.C. does a brilliant tuxedo-style wool trouser cut from fine Italian herringbone if you’ve got money to spend, while French Connection has you covered if you’re having a bit of a tight month.
Who doesn’t love a good piece of workerwear? Quality craftsmanship meets reliability and style in a perfect ménage à trois of cool that’s still exceptionally popular.
Constructed of a heavyweight cotton, woven to give a surface of diagonal parallel ridges, twill is a traditional material that, if invested in, will give you a piece to cherish for a long time, as it picks up scuffs and scrapes on its way.
Every scuff tells a story – even if the only ‘work’ you end up doing in them is drafting posts for your Tumblr. It also helps bring the beleaguered chino out of the realms of Ibiza lads with waxed chests and a pocket full of Mandy, and into an altogether more grown-up sense of place and tradition.
The heavyweight twill chino is, strictly speaking, a casual trouser: we’d wear ours with a quality pair of suede New Balance trainers (probably a pair of 999s if we’re feeling flush) and a slightly looser Oxford shirt for an effortlessly cool off-duty look.
Japanese workwear specialists Engineered Garments are a go-to if you mean business, while prep label J.Crew has got your back if your pockets are feeling the burn.
The skinny jeans backlash is on. Tired of indecently outlined genitalia and trying (and failing) to remove our skinnies with dignity after a night out, we’re looking at relaxed-legged jeans and trousers in an altogether more positive light.
Harking back to the 1950s-inspired wear that we all know and love, the Levi’s 501 is back en vogue and he’s brought his mates along for the ride too. Perfect for combining with oversized knitwear or providing a platform for a standout piece of footwear, wider-cut jeans and trousers are great, but they need to break perfectly.
Too long on your inseam and they’ll look like the floor-dragging bootcuts we all remember in abject horror; too high and you’ll look like you’re wearing three-quarter lengths. Your main objective is avoiding a pooling situation, so we’d suggest aiming for the hem to fall somewhere between the top of your shoe and its first set of eyelets.
Another variant worth considering is the wide-leg trouser with button braces, which will help inject an old-world workwear vibe into your 2015 wardrobe (even if you just leave them undone like a pair of non-committal dungarees).
For jeans, look no further than the aforementioned Levi’s (especially their Vintage selection of cuts and washes); for braced trousers, try Visvim if you’ve just been paid and are feeling flush.
Remember ‘health goth’? That was a thing for a while. Thankfully broadsheet hand-wringing about people being into both Nick Cave and jogging is over and so we can go back to enjoying slimline joggers and athleticwear in peace. There – that’s better, isn’t it?
The sports luxe movement is still a huge draw Stateside and while UK labels have taken slightly longer to catch up, young Brits have taken the look to their hearts with aplomb. Combining the ‘It feels like I’m wearing nothing at all’ comfort of sweatpants with the slim-fit aesthetic of a more contemporary work trouser, they’re equally at home in the pub or the gym.
While there could be an argument made for the right jogger matched with the right overshirt, we’d suggest keeping the streetwear vibe going with a logo T-shirt from the likes of Palace or TSPTR and something low profile on the foot, like a Nike running shoe or an adidas Gazelle.
High-end sportswear brand John Elliott + Co produces joggers to die for but they also cost a serious chunk, whereas Nike has a supreme line for everyday folk that are (almost) as good.
Ankle swingers, as some want to call them, are here to stay – and with good reason. Allowing your ankles to breathe in summer while helping show off your statement socks in the winter months, cropped trousers are a great way to spice up what can be a tired formal outfit.
In addition to giving your footwear a platform to shine, a precise crop accentuates the line of your trousers – there’s nothing worse than bunching material at the bottom your ankle – and so unsurprisingly works better in slimmer cuts.
As discussed before, getting the length right is absolutely crucial. Go to a professional tailor and take their advice, but be bold if you want to: anything up to three or four inches is a safe bet.
If you’ll be pairing them with a formal shoe, don’t crop quite so high – somewhere slightly above the ankle will do fine. If, on the other hand, you’ll be wearing them more casually and with a chunkier trainer or boot, let loose with shorter lengths.
Aimé Leon Dore went big on cropped trousers for its spring/summer 2015 collection but rather than buying off-the-rack, we’d suggest finding a quality pair of slim-leg or slightly tapered trousers and having them tailored professionally (many high street stores now offer a ‘while you wait’ service) so that you can get exactly the right length and fit to suit your needs.
With so many options out there and different styles to suit every body type, it’s a sartorial sin to keep playing it safe. Ditch the skinny denim and do your research, you might just take your outfit to the next level.
What are you current go-to trouser styles? Will you be adding any of the above to your wardrobe this season?
Share your thoughts in the comments section.