Unless you’re Winnie the Pooh, you’re probably going to spend most of your working life wearing pants. Of course these days many of us have gotten used to being a bit more relaxed, as multiple embarrassing situations from awkward Zoom meetings to network reporters on camera with no pants have shown in the new work world that is 2020. Here at The Manual, we feel that it’s become something akin to our civic duty to make sure that our readers have their trouser game down. Er, on. Keep your pants on, here are our recommendations for building a solid trouser wardrobe that will get you through just about any occasion, one leg at a time.
If we’d been writing this piece a year ago, we’d have probably included this category at the very bottom of the list. These are the pants you’d wear if you ride a bike or a scooter to work every day, but now that we are anticipating another wave of COVID-related lockdowns, any commuting requirements may be negligible. But in all seriousness, can you really continue to wear sweats every single day? These pants are so comfortable that you can live your WFH life in them, and they look awesome.
Mugsy’s super stretchy and soft cotton blend twill just gets better with age. The denim brand’s new Weekender collection features a nice range of colors and even a couple of drawstring options if you don’t want to move too far away from those sweats.
Proof brings Japanese textile technology and seamless outseam construction for mobility and comfort.
These will be the workhorse of your wardrobe. Dress ‘em up, dress ‘em down. An expandable waistband allows a little indulgence; and a little stretch so they’re comfortable for travel.
Read more: Best Travel Pants for Men
OK, fine, we can’t get you out of them. We can’t really blame you; they are probably the single most comfortable thing in a man’s closet. At least trade up to a pair that have a little finesse and keep your old pair for game night with the guys.
Pharrell Williams designs ‘em. You wear ‘em, and somehow that incredible sense of cool just rubs off.
Brighten up your day with these Orange Flame sweats from Kappa; rely on the reflective stripes to brighten up your nights and keep those twilight walks both romantic and safe.
Read more: Best Sweatpants for Men
Ugh, such a fine line between sweats and joggers. We take the stance that if a pair of woven pants has an elastic cuff at the bottom, that makes ‘em a jogger. Knit pants with a drawstring? Still sweats, even if they’re cashmere.
A great deal for a pair of pants that are super comfortable and allow plenty of movement, yet still look pulled together enough to wear just about anywhere.
Relax, but don’t give up one ounce of style. Eleventy creates the jogger for the true sartorial gentleman’s wardrobe.
Read more: Best Joggers for Men
It’s probably a given that the next best thing in your wardrobe is going to be a great pair of broken-in, super comfortable blue jeans. You’ll want a clean, dark-washed pair to dress up with a sportcoat or a solid sweater. Add a more casual pair in a light wash or with rip-and-repair details that look somewhere between hard-worn and a family heirloom. We’ve got a nice selection of jeans for you here, but here are a few to round out your trouser wardrobe.
Jeans get customized as you wear them anyway. Why not get the very best fit to start? These are the perfect pair for the corporate boardroom or a fancy dinner out.
Channel your inner rocker or your inner graffiti artist with these slim-fit jeans that are perfect for heading out to the club or for just kicking back at home.
Read more: Best Jeans for Men
As much as we are big supporters of owning your own tuxedo, black tie affairs are pretty few and far between these days. Since most affairs are “black tie optional,” we suggest owning one great pair of terribly formal black or charcoal trousers that can easily be mixed with everything from a festive plaid sportcoat for holiday parties to a natty linen jacket in black or navy for summer weddings. They’re impressive with a cashmere sweater for a casual dinner out, too.
Yes, pleated. And the clean, self-fabric belt looks finished and elegant.
These Rhone pants are going to have you replacing your traditional denim jeans. The classic five-pocket, slim-cut style features FlexKnit stretch fabric, printed to look like classic jeans. You can wear these as much for a run as for a hard day’s work. The style is available in a classic blue indigo hue as well as slate green/driftwood shade more evocative of your favorite khakis. Rhone’s classic commuter also comes in stone, iron, and navy, but doesn’t offer the same denim-like depth of color.
Read more: Best Dress Pants for Men
There are those of us who live in these pants. The chino or khaki has its roots in military uniforms, but really busted into the mainstream on 1950s casual suburban Dads who suddenly had weekend leisure time. By the 1990s casual Fridays brought them into the office, and they’re now the uniform for a new American workforce. You could probably wear these every day.
S.K.U. is the crème de la crème of the khakis universe. Their minimalistic approach to design and unerring eye for color projects a level of art directed realness.
Getting classic style at a good price is nothing to laugh at these days. Grab a pair (or two) of these on your next cruise through Target.
Read more: Best Chinos for Men
Every season or so some other trend marches across the fashion industry and straight through men’s closets. The key — especially in this era of sustainability awareness — is to watch for trends that fit your life and style so that you’ll feel good wearing them for seasons long past the hype. Buy one pair that works for you. Corduroy is definitely abuzz, but we always like its classic, cozy vibe. Seems like a great time to stock up on silhouettes or colors that might not always be around. Watch for a wide variety of prints to explode on the scene when you’re shopping next spring.
These pants not only feature trendy corduroy, but also the season’s higher waistband and an ankle-exposing high-water bottom hem.
These will be right on trend this season, but with a fit like a classic pair of blue jeans, they’ll be your seasonal go-to for years to come. Flannel shirt anyone?
Read more: Best Corduroy Pants for Men
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