Though it’s undeniable that jeans have become a staple in fashion, there are more types of pants that deserve recognition. Every occasion, formal or otherwise, demands an appropriate outfit. Trousers are far more noticeable and contribute to a look significantly more than you’d think.
15 Types of Pants Every Man Should Own and What to Wear Them With
Here are 15 types of pants that deserve a spot in the wardrobes of every man, along with quick tips and suggestions on what to wear them with.
Sweatpants, also known as track pants or tracksuit bottoms, are known for the stretchy properties of their jersey fabric. Unlike most types of pants available, these are pull-on and can simply be worn around the waist without the aid of a belt. Their trademark qualities include their comfiness as well as how baggy they are, however, some sweatpants have been designed to be more form-fitting.
This article of clothing first came about in order to provide athletes with pants that enabled them to stretch and run without any restrictions. To this day, they remain a staple in men’s fashion for their overly-casual aesthetic. The fact that they’re comfortable means people can wear them as leisurewear, however, they can also be worn outside of the house due to their inherently sporty look.
These pants can be worn with outerwear such as hoodies, tracksuits, and jackets. Their bagginess and reputation for being comfortable means that sweatpants can easily be associated with laziness, so it’s important to dress in a way that makes you look athletic or trendy. Partnering sweatpants with sneakers is a no-brainer. Canvas shoes and loafers also get the job done.
2. Checkered Pants
Checkered pants work well with just about any top provided they aren’t as eye-grabbing, otherwise your outfit will end up looking too zany for its own good. If coordinated well enough, it’s possible to get away with using checkered pants to create looks ranging from formal to casual, to everything in between.
Blazers and ties combo well with checkered pants to create a formal look, provided the pants are of a dark enough color like gray. For something more smart-casual, this piece of legwear partners well with long-sleeved shirts, sweaters, and blazers just like most semi-formal pants. The only kicker is the top you wear will have to be a little more muted than usual to bring the spotlight to your pants. Those looking to create a more casual outfit can wear a simple jacket, hoodie, or t-shirt to create a minimalist look.
Because of their attention-grabbing design, checkered pants aren’t among the types of pants you should wear unless you intend to build an outfit around them. Articles of clothing that shift the focus to your lower body are ideal, sporting more neutral colors in order to accentuate the stripes and patterns present on your pants.
3. Cargo Pants
Even though cargo pants are decked out and covered in pockets, they have much more to offer than mere utility. Once used by British soldiers, cargo pants entered the mainstream due to their rough and rugged charm — not to mention the fact that they’re now available in many colors and patterns. Cargo pants are popular because they’re easy to work with.
Despite this, cargo pants aren’t the most formal articles of clothing out there. You’ll need to think twice before wearing these types of pants to the office. When it comes to creating casual outfits, cargo pants can combo well with all manners of tops. You can get away with wearing t-shirts, jackets, flannels, dress shirts, and even sweaters.
With regards to footwear, cargo pants can be worn with boots or sneakers — the former making for a rougher, more rugged look; one that makes you look like a soldier or a hiker. The pockets aren’t just for show, and they might come in handy for those who do go hiking.
4. Dress Pants
On the other end of the casual-formal spectrum, every man ought to own a pair of dress pants for formal events and occasions. Unlike jeans and cargo pants, dress pants can’t afford to be baggy. They need to be able to fit around the waist without the assistance of a belt, however, they shouldn’t be too tight.
What makes dress pants such a useful piece of clothing to own is the fact that they don’t have to be worn solely on formal occasions. While their partner suits might be too formal to wear for everyday outings, the same can’t be said for their pants. Dress pants can be worn with sweaters and cardigans over button-up shirts to create a classy smart-casual look.
A pair of sneakers would complete the casual look. For a more formal getup, dress pants match well with oxfords, saddle oxfords, and other leather shoes.
Jeans are one of the most popular types of pants to this day, and it’s difficult to imagine anyone who’s never owned a pair in their lives. Their sheer versatility and ability to partner well with almost every outfit have made them something of a safety net. Because of this, it goes without saying that they belong in every man’s wardrobe.
You could easily wear a jacket with jeans and walk away with a stylish and presentable look without having to put too much thought into it. They are made of denim — a highly durable textile available globally. Because of this, coupled with the fact that they’re affordable, means that they’ve become essential to the wardrobes of both men and women alike.
Jeans are also famously low-maintenance. Unlike most types of pants, they are sturdy, they do not need to be ironed to look good, and they do not need to be washed and cleaned as frequently as other pants. Ultimately, it’s the fact that they’re easy to obtain, easy to create complete outfits with, and easy to maintain that makes them so beloved.
One of the key factors behind the popularity of khakis is how they are soft, lightweight, and comfortable. Their sheer versatility also makes them flexible when it comes to drawing up outfits for all sorts of occasions. These types of pants can be worn to formal events with blazers and coats, and they can also be worn with simple t-shirts and polo shirts.
It is strongly recommended for khakis to remain uncuffed as their shape while cuffed can make you look shorter. Black shoes also clash with the more drab colors provided by khakis, which means you’re better off wearing shoes with lighter colors such as white, brown, or beige. Sneaks, loafers, moccasins, and dress shoes all work well with khakis.
The name “khakis” comes from the Hindi word “khaki”, which roughly translates to ‘dusty’ or ‘dust’. Though khaki pants don’t necessarily have to be tan or beige like their name suggests, their signature color possesses militaristic origins. Armies would provide their soldiers in arid or desert regions with khaki uniforms to provide them with camouflage. In fact, it was the British Indian Army that brought the term “khaki” into the English dictionary.
After World War II, khakis would eventually become popular with the civilian population. It was a new type of formalwear that was equal parts trendy and comfortable, which meant soldiers would continue to wear their khakis even outside of active duty. In no time at all, they would enter the mainstream.
It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to claim that khakis and chinos were close relatives. These types of pants possess similarities in terms of make, color, and style. The two are often confused with one another. One clear way to differentiate the two is through how the material is weaved. While khakis are slightly thicker and heavier, chinos are lighter and can easily be cuffed.
Because of this, chinos have a more casual look, making them easier to work with when it comes to creating new smart-casual fits. Though they aren’t formal enough for formal and semi-formal events, they are appropriate for more everyday looks. Chinos match well with blazers, sweaters, and dress shirts. As for shoes, sneakers, loafers, and boat shoes complement the preppy look chinos have. Wearing dress shoes with chinos also makes for an excellent formal aesthetic.
Chinos were initially created for military use. The uniforms of British and French soldiers were made of the same material, however, they quickly grew popular with civilians for their formal looks and lightweight and comfortable fabric.
These heavy-duty yet comfortable pants draw their name from the Chinese chino cloth used to make them. In Spain, the pants were known as pantalones chinos, which roughly translates to “Chinese pants”. The name would eventually take off all across the globe, and they remain a huge part of men’s fashion to this day.
This might be a bit of a controversial addition to the list as it’s debatable whether or not overalls even qualify as pants, to begin with. Make no mistake, however, as this article of clothing belongs in every man’s wardrobe for their unique and stylish look. Overalls, also known as coveralls, are a thing of the past that managed to rise in popularity in recent years.
These unique pants partner well with many tops, however, their eye-grabbing nature will mean that the tops you wear should complement your overalls. Though most are made of denim, they are also made of tough cotton or linen. Because they are thick and heavy-duty, you can layer them over simple shirts, turtlenecks, and even tank tops to create a
What’s fun with overalls is the fact that you can even experiment with styles and aesthetics. Unbuckling one of the straps, or unbuckling both of the straps, are both looks you can totally pull off. You can even try wearing them in combination with headwear. Bucket hats, straw hats, and beanies combo all well with overalls.
9. Leather Pants
It’s important to note that wearing leather pants will draw a great deal of attention to your lower body. By nature, statement pieces don’t just work with any outfit, so coordinating a look that goes well with these types of pants is absolutely essential.
Unsurprisingly, leather pants go well with leather jackets. Though both are statement pieces in and of themselves, there’s no denying that they simply work together. These pants also don’t look half bad when worn with leather jackets and blazers. When it comes to footwear, leather boots and sneakers are your best bet.
10. Corduroy Pants
Corduroy pants are renowned for their preppy look and given their warm woolen make, they belong in every man’s winter wardrobe. The word “corduroy” roughly translates to “cord of the king” in French.
These pants are typically brown, however, they come in a wide range of colors. One of the primary qualities of corduroy pants is their weight. Their thick make means they’re a lot warmer and a lot heavier than your average pair, but this also makes them incredibly durable. The tufted textures provided by the wool are used to make them provide a dapper aesthetic suitable for smart-casual outfits.
Since corduroys are typically reserved for colder climates and seasons, they should be worn with equally thick clothing. Button-up shirts layered beneath sweaters and cardigans make for an excellent casual formal combination when worn with corduroy pants. The same applies to jackets, vests, and hoodies.
11. Slim-Fit Jeans
Slim-fit jeans generally work best on people with slim builds, but that doesn’t mean skinny men are the only ones who can pull them off. Unlike regular jeans, slim-fit jeans are tight, and very much so. The trade-off is that these jeans are figure-hugging and incredibly versatile, looking good with just about any outfit. Being form-fitting means they create a lean silhouette that looks good on most body types.
Whether you’re going for a totally casual look complete with a hoodie or a jacket, or something a little more smart-casual with blazers and sweaters, slim-fit jeans will be an excellent pick.
Like regular jeans, slim-fits partner well with just about every casual shoe types out there — especially sneakers. You could also match them with loafers, boat shoes, and even boots.
With the rise of sporty aesthetics or athleisure wear, in recent decades, pants like joggers have been growing increasingly popular. Beloved for being comfortable, lightweight, and incredibly trendy, men are beginning to wear their joggers outside of the gym. By incorporating these pants into their everyday outfits, people are able to dress casually and comfortably while simultaneously getting the message across that they work out.
Joggers can be distinguished from sweatpants in how they exist primarily for athletic purposes. They are designed to be light, more breathable, and easy to move around in. Most tend to be elastic at the ankles and waist, however, some are made with drawstring waists instead.
While joggers are the furthest thing from formal, they can work with a variety of casual everyday outfits on top of exercising getups. They can be worn with t-shirts, hoodies, and tank tops. Those looking to lean into a smart-casual aesthetic can also wear them with sweaters, denim jackets, and button-up shirts.
13. High-Waisted Pants
Originating from the 1950s, high-waisted pants have only started making their comeback in recent years. These pants are considered more formal than many of the others listed previously. Because of this, they must be worn with equally formal clothing.
High-waisted pants typically look good with collared shirts that have been tucked in. This includes Cuban collar shirts, which are also known as camp collars. Polo shirts also do the trick, as will knit t-shirts underneath blazers.
Despite their formal looks, high-waisted pants can also be worn casually. Simple t-shirts, when tucked inside high-waisted pants, can look phenomenal. They can be partnered with sneakers and casual leather shoes alike.
14. Pajama Pants
Pajama pants are known for being extraordinarily comfortable, but they can also be incredibly stylish. These pants typically have drawstring waists which means they can be worn by anyone regardless of size. What makes pajama pants differ from the usual drawstring pants is their make, and they’re often made of insulated materials like wool, flannel, and brushed cotton.
Because of their casual looks, shoes like sneakers and loafers go well with them. In order to avoid looking sloppy or overly comfortable, it’s recommended to match them with form-fitting t-shirts with v-necks or scoop-necks to draw attention to your torso and waist areas. Sweaters and cardigans can also complete the look provided they’re of a neutral color.
15. Wool Pants
Every man ought to own a pair of wool pants. On the casual-formal spectrum, these trousers exist somewhere in the center, acting as a sort of middle ground between jeans and dress pants. Typically, these pants are available in darker colors, sporting a mature and formal aesthetic that can make any man look sophisticated and sensible.
Wool pants can be worn with coats, turtleneck sweaters, vests, and blazers. What makes them unique, however, is how you can get away with wearing these with shoes like sneakers to make for a highly effective casual formal getup. Dress shirts layered under coats partnered with wool pants and sneakers creates a sense of refinement that’s also grounded and down-to-earth.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What’s the difference between khakis and chinos?
Though similar in make, color, and style, khakis and chinos have their own respective differences. Khakis are made with a heavier weight of the cotton fabric, and the stitching is significantly more subtle. On the other hand, chinos are made of a lighter material and the stitching is much more apparent.
2. Are sweatpants and joggers the same?
Despite their overwhelming similarities, sweatpants and joggers are different. Sweatpants are used to keep athletes warm while they exercise. This is by design, as warmth encourages sweating. On the other hand, joggers are designed to keep you cool thanks to their lightweight and thin materials.
3. Are leather pants comfortable?
Despite their make and appearance, leather pants are snug and comfortable — though it’s likely they won’t feel that way at first. Because they are made of leather, these pants will slowly but steadily adjust to the body of the person wearing them over time. So long as the pants you purchased aren’t too small, they should be perfectly comfortable and easy to wear.
4. How do you clean leather pants?
Leather pants can’t be washed the same way as most articles of clothing. This is because water can leave ugly stains. There are many types of pants made out of leather, so you’re better off checking the type of leather used and how it was tanned.
Finished leather pants often have a sheen to them. A simple test to determine whether or not a pair of pants is finished is to turn them inside out and dab some droplets of water on the shiny portions of the seam. If the water beads and doesn’t soak, then they are finished. It’s safer to use small amounts of water and soap with these but put them in the dryer immediately afterward.
Unfinished and suede pants, on the other hand, will get stained. With this material, you’re better off cleaning them with a brush and leather detergent. If ever you accidentally get too much water on unfinished or suede pants, soak as much of it out as possible with a towel.
5. What sort of underwear should I wear?
Generally, your choice of underwear boils down to personal preference but this isn’t always the case. Slim-fit pants benefit the most from form-fitting underwear like briefs and boxer briefs. This is because baggier underwear could make slim-fit jeans difficult to wear. The sheer tightness of your pants will cause bunching, making your underwear more uncomfortable.
Finding the Right Pants for You
Choosing the right pair of trousers for you boils down to your ability to recognize how well they fit your body shape, the occasion, and how well they mesh with the rest of your outfit.
Statement pieces like leather pants and checkered pants draw a lot of attention by default, so you’ll need to build a look around these types of pants. On the other hand, jeans and khakis are a little more flexible, meaning you can match them with most outfits.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to find a way to mix and match clothing from your wardrobe to create a look that suits you. For those searching for a look that’s equal parts low-key and stylish, consider investing in a more minimalist wardrobe.