The 14 Types of Pants Every Man Should Own
Even though we pull them on every day, it would be fair to say that many of us do not give much thought into the kind of pants that we wear. After all, it can be much more exciting to choose between exciting sweaters and button-ups than it is to choose through seemingly identical jeans.
However, there is more to the world of men’s pants than just jeans (though jeans admittedly make up an integral part). In this article, we dive into the top 14 types of pant styles that any fashion-forward man should have in his collection.
Chinos are a type of casual trousers that are made out of cotton. Like other pant styles that see popularity today, such as the cargo pant, chinos have their origins in the military where they were favored for their lightweight fabric.
Contrary to popular belief, chinos are available in colors other than tan. They are known for their hidden cross-stitching and flat fronts. Most chinos feature belt loops and have a front zipper rather than a drawstring.
Chinos pair well with a variety of tops and sweaters. As their look is inherently casual, it’s most often best to pair chinos with sneakers or boat shoes. For a distinctive look, try a denim shirt or plaid button-up with your chinos.
We might as well mention the khaki right after we bring up the chinos, since they are so easily confused with one another. Although there is no denying that they closely resemble one another, there is a simple way to differentiate between khakis and chinos — and it’s all in their fabric. While both made from cotton, chinos are lightweight and best suited for warmer weather, whereas khakis’ thread blend gives them a heavier feel.
Khakis deserve a spot on the must-have pants list thanks to their durability and uncanny ability to match with everything (and we mean everything). Shades of green? Khakis match. A light rosy pink? Khakis match.
Another added bonus of khakis is their affordability. There is usually a high price when top quality pants are involved, but khaki material comes at a much lower price range than items of similar quality made of jeans or polyester blends. There’s a reason why khakis used to be the preferred type of garment in the army — they hold up!
3. Wool Pants
You may think of wool as something that is exclusively used for sweaters knitted by your grandmother or, at the very least, socks. However, wool pants are a little-known secret of male fashion enthusiasts. Let’s dissect the reasons why.
Wool pants, or wool trousers, will not appear like somebody’s craft project. In fact, it may be hard to tell that they are even made out of wool, although the pants will feel incredibly cozy and soft, thanks to the collection of miniature fibers that make up any wool garment.
The benefits of wool are truly endless. This material type can at once be breathable and help you stay warm and insulated, and can also help you stay dry thanks to its moisture-defiant properties. Although they may be on the more expensive end of the spectrum, wool pants are easy to clean and well worth the investment, as they can be worn again and again and again.
Corduroy pants, or cords, make for a great way to diversify your wardrobe. Not like jeans, and not like cotton pants, cords truly exist in a world of their own which means that they can add a touch of individuality to your outfit.
Ever since becoming mainstream in the 1970s, corduroy pants have proven themselves by being effortlessly stylish (corduroy material is back with a vengeance) and easy to care for. For example, it’s considerably easier to remove a stain from corduroy compared to other materials, and corduroy material is also less prone to rips and holes.
Just because you’re going full-out-1970s, it doesn’t mean that you have to put on bellbottoms (although, if you do, all the power to you). Corduroy pants are available in a variety of styles such as bootleg and skinny pants.
There was no way that we were going to put together an entire list of men’s pant staples without mentioning denim. Denim, of course, is a large category in and of itself, so let’s break down the different types of denim that are on the market.
When it comes to choosing a blue jean, it’s all about the style. Jeans can be “loose fit”, which avoid contact with your thighs, “slim fit” which mold to fit your legs, and a “regular fit” which is designed to sit where your hips begin. Also popular is a “skinny fit” which hugs the skin all the way from the hips to the ankles.
Lastly, you may have heard the term “raw denim” thrown around. Usually, the denim that you buy in retail stores has been pre-washed so that it can be softened before it reaches the consumer. Raw denim jeans have not gone through this preparation process, which proponents of this style say helps preserve its color and character.
6. Distressed Denim
While we’re on the topic of denim, we would be remiss to not mention the distressed denim style. While denim in itself is already quite casual, distressed denim adds an additional laidback element to your wardrobe.
Back when distressed denim was at its peak popularity in the early 2000s, there were many naysayers who believed that the trend would never be here to say. However, here we are, years later, and distressed denim styles don’t seem to be going anywhere fast. In some cases, they have even become an appropriate type of apparel for certain office settings.
Regardless, having a pair of intact denim as well as a pair of intentionally torn denim is a great way to ensure that you stay on top of shabby chic fashion trends.
7. Formal Pants
Every man needs a pair of formal dress pants. While this is easy to understand in theory, it can actually be quite difficult to find the right dress pants for yourself in practice, especially if you’re used to choosing casual pants like denim.
There is no single uniform style for men’s dress pant in — instead, there are simply differences that are best decided by personal preferences. For example, dress pants will generally have a button fly or a zipper fly, back pockets or front side pockets, and pleats or no pleats.
No matter the details, dress pants should fit with the waistband hitting just beneath your belly button. It is very common for men’s dress pants to need to be tailored to achieve the perfect fit.
8. Yoga Pants
Yoga pants may not seem like the most masculine of choices, but trust us when we say that every man’s wardrobe should feature at least one pair of yoga pants. Even if you are not very interested in the popular exercise, there is no denying that the gear that goes along with it is extremely comfortable.
You may find yoga pants to be especially endearing if you are not used to a high amount of breathability in your clothing. Yoga pants are so breathable that it would not be an exaggeration to say that it can feel as if you are wearing nothing.
If you are an active person, yoga pants should definitely be a staple in your wardrobe. They offer optimal flexibility while running, hiking, and playing sports of all kinds.
With all this talk of comfy clothing, it’s important to bring up the other MVP when it comes to functional style: the sweatpant! And yes, we do mean to imply that sweatpants can be fashionable.
In fact, there is a somewhat of an art to wearing sweatpants and still looking put together. Sometimes called the “sweatpant revolution”, sweatpants have become less of a clothing piece that you only wear in the house and more of an acceptable item to wear out on errands, to parties, and beyond.
To choose a sweatpant that will successfully have you looking polished, look out for sporty joggers that cup at the ankles and have a drawstring. Try to choose neutral colors like evergreen, grey, black, and navy.
10. Pleated Pants
Pleated pants are another pants style that is severely underrated. Though they were most possible in decades passed, pleated pants have proven recently that they deserve a place in the modern man’s wardrobe.
In basic terms, a “pleat” occurs when fabric is doubled and folded back on itself. The result is a roomy fit that allows your hips and legs more movement. They also have the added benefit of preventing creases in your pant’s material when you sit down or move around. The opposite of pleated pants is known as a “flat front”.
While flat fronts were in style for many years, pleated pants are now back, and there’s reason to rejoice for that. For one thing, pleated trousers are more forgiving to a variety of body types as they offer a flattering fit. Thanks to their unique styling, they are an easy way to add a touch of class to an otherwise casual wardrobe.
11. Track Pants
Although similar to sweatpants, track pants are interesting clothing items in their own right. Unlike sweatpants, track pants are made not of cotton blends but of polyester blends. In general, track pants have a much heavier feel to them than joggers.
Track pants were initially designed with athletes, particularly long-distance runners, in mind. They burst onto the scene sometime in the 1970s. Since then, some of the world’s most premier fashion brands have designed tracksuits, consisting of both a shell jacket and track pant, for many famous Olympic athletes.
Although track pants are incredibly wearable, one of the challenges posed by these comfy closet items is knowing just what to pair them with. Surprisingly, track pants go well with a denim jacket, as does a casual pullover.
12. Cargo Pants
Cargo pants are loosely-fitting clothing items with distinctive oversized pockets for carrying your “cargo”. They first became popular in the United States following World War II and are most commonly used by those who need a versatile clothing item to wear when performing physically demanding tasks.
While perhaps less aesthetically classic than the other selections on this list, cargo pants still deserve a place in every man’s wardrobe thanks to their functionality and form. As an added bonus, it’s possible to make cargo pants look good on your body if worn correctly and paired with the appropriate t-shirt or jacket.
13. Cigarette Pants
Although you may not recognize them by their unique albeit unusual name, there is a big chance that you have seen cigarette pants before. The term “slim fit” pants is used to describe pants that are slim fitting all the way down to the ankles, where they hug the leg tightly.
While cigarette pants often come in solid colors, they are also available in a variety of patterns. One such popular pattern for cigarette pants is the classic “checkered” look. This vintage pattern pays a respectful homage to the 1950s, which was the heyday of the cigarette pant.
14. Flare Pants
For some, this may be the most controversial entry on this list. After all, flare pants haven’t been in fashion for both men and women for decades. However founded the skeptics may be in their concern, we ask them to embrace the bell-bottom craze, because another wave of flare fever is upon us.
Okay, so the return of the flare pant may be rather slow at this point, but we are firm believers that every man should have at least one wardrobe piece that terrifies him. And for you, that may be the flare pant. Keep this one in your closet for a day when you are feeling bold and adventurous.
Plus, flare pants have a lot more to offer than just theatre. These pants are as comfortable as they come, and offer optimal breathability.