I began the companion piece to this one – looking at smart trousers – by saying that it was the hardest chapter to write in our Wardrobe Building series

I was right. I thought this one would be harder, but it’s not.

The problem with going from smart clothing to casual is that the number of styles – the social ways of wearing clothing – go up dramatically. This is something people often don’t appreciate when trying to give advice or ‘rules’ on anything casual.

However, the trousers are actually fairly consistent. There are baggy jeans and bootcut jeans and drainpipe jeans, but they’re all jeans. Same with chinos, to an extent. Even cords have been co-opted by different groups, such as skaters.

The things that separate one style from another are usually a matter of cut, not category. So difficult as it might seem to suggest five pairs of casual trousers that will work for everyone, the difficulty is often in the details. 

Here I suggest five, plus some extras, as in the smart trousers list. I also try to add in some thoughts on details like material, cut and colour. But an article like this could never contain all of them – so do ask questions in the comments, and if it seems like it justifies it, I’ll also work on follow-up pieces.

 

 

Dark blue jeans

I personally wear mid-blue more these days, but there’s no denying the versatility of a pair of dark-indigo jeans. Still smart with a sweater and loafers, but always more casual than tailored trousers, they became the uniform of guys that didn’t wear a suit to the office.

As far as style goes, to hit the notes for a PS aesthetic they’re best as a mid-rise (nothing that looks unusual, essentially) with a straight leg or slight taper, finishing with around a 7.5 to 8-inch hem. Like the Rubato ones, which I’m loving since I got them at the pop-up.

 

 

Mid-blue jeans

I wear mid-blue jeans more because I’m rarely looking to be smart with my denim. For that smart/casual crossover I’m more likely to wear flannels or a smarter chino. 

I also particularly like how well a mid-blue wash goes with colour, whether it’s the red of a sweatshirt or green of a tweed jacket. It’s a style thing, basically, but pretty much everyone can make use of having them as well as the dark indigo. 

 

 

Chinos to suit you

Most people are going to have one or two pairs of chinos in a capsule of five. As we’ve seen in our series looking at different makes, however, there are different styles resulting from different cloths and cuts. 

So here I’d recommend either a smarter chino like a Rubato or an Armoury Sports Chino, or a more casual one like a Real McCoy’s or Bryceland’s, depending on which suits your style more. The most versatile colour would be in bone/beige/khaki range. Pale and muted.

 

 

Casual linens

It’s a lot to ask, but these trousers have to work for warmer weather too, so we need a pair of linens. However, go for a lighter weight, perhaps Italian linen that’s softer and instantly more casual. Much as I love the starchier Irish linens, they’re so much smarter. 

The most useful colour would probably be bone/beige again; versatility can often be pretty boring. A second pair could be navy or olive. 

 

 

Cords

I struggle to explain why, but corduroy is much more of a chameleon than other tailored cottons, such as moleskin. In a dark colour, like a dark olive or dark brown, they escape the rural associations that often plague them and – although a set of only five trousers is not the place for it – they’re the best material out of all of these for strong colour. 

In a set of five like this I’d probably find olive the most useful, but end up going with brown or cream because I enjoy them so much. 

 

 

White jeans

Here are five more casual trousers, in fairly quick succession. First, white jeans – not for everyone, and better as ecru than white – but if you like them then very useful.

The other type and colour of chino 

If you chose workwear cotton above, go with smart here, and vice versa. Or you could go with a second colour, if for example you only wear chinos more casually. You get the drift here: it’s about adapting these suggestions to your personal preferences. 

More for summer 

Another summer option would be nice, to help out those linens and presumably a couple of pairs of shorts. It could be another colour of linen, a lightweight chino or even a cotton/linen mix. A drawstring is nice and relaxed too, just don’t tuck anything into it. 

Black jeans 

I have a pair of black jeans, but find I rarely wear them. They’re not really my style – I always reach for one of the other three colours of denim instead. Still, the faded black that’s basically grey can be really useful – great with brown-suede, for example. 

Fatigues

The faded green of old US Army fatigues is a really versatile colour, good with grey or navy on top as well as bold colours. They’re fairly easy to find vintage, and usually better that way, unless you’re going to wash them a lot at the outset.

As always, let us know which casual trousers you find the most useful, and any brand recommendations if you want to. Also shout if you want details on any of the trousers shown here – they’re all taken from previous PS posts.  

 

 
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Charles

Great piece. Completely agree on the uniform of indigo jeans and that’s why I’ve got so many.. that I then rarely wear.
What I can’t quite put my finger on though is why, like you Simon, I never wear my black jeans. They should fit into my wardrobe choices but I find that they don’t. I just don’t reach for them and I don’t know why.
Any idea? I’m not a white jeans guy, but I am a black jeans guy. So why are they unworn?

Charles

You may well be right. I have a lot of blue shirts and lighter tones when it comes to stripes and checks. They don’t naturally go with black jeans and I’m maybe starting with the shirt option first.

Perhaps I’ll be brave and risk the double denim of a light blue denim shirt and the black jeans. Now that’s living on the edge!

Aaron

Light blue chambray is also a great option, without it being double denim.
I really love the look of a tan belt with black jeans.

Gary

We brought out maybe the only chambray spearpoint on the market and it looks good with jeans

Robin

Black is not really a ‘colour’.
Nothing really goes with it except other ‘no -colours’ like grey and white.

To get black trousers to ‘work’ I find a hint of purple / lilac in a grey jkt works very well .

I’ve noted PS never talks about black .

James

Picking up on your last article and the influence of womenswear, I can’t always help notice how foundational black is to most of womens’ clothing. Black jeans, black shirts, dresses, accessories — I always think they look great and want copy it. But something makes it harder in menswear, and it always feels like a statement. Perhaps it’s the many associations that black menswear has, rather than the color itself?

Daniek

Actually, I bought a pair of black linen trousers two or perhaps even three years ago on a Berg & Berg sale. I think the purchase was inspired by your piece on black. I love them and wear them a lot during the summer, though they are on the dressier side with crease, turn ups and side adjusters, but I love how the colour gets a bit muted with wear and sun and find that they go with a wide range of colours and different tops!

Alex

Does the fading on a pair of black jeans have the same sort of character as an indigo pair? I’ve always thought the charm of having denim mold to the owner and develop its own characteristics based on how one wears it is lost somewhat with black jeans.

Gary

Black works in jeans if you get the right ones . I bought black Levi’s in America .

Hannes

For me, I found that when I had black jeans they were always covered in dust and cat hair. A reason to not reach for them.

Kevin

I associate black jeans with people like Lemmy.

Gary

Jeans only really go well with a good leather jacket . They look very uncool with a well cut overcoat . I wear them with white t shirt and black leather and black Chelsea boots of Cuban heels .

Robin

White jeans ? Hmmm … I see what you mean but it’s a hard one to get across to people .
You have to throw in the hopsack / linen jacket and it makes 100% sense.

I note the fatigues . Is this the same as cargo trousers or are you adverse to cargoes . Personally , done well , there a great utility piece.

Whilst I love linen I’m always disappointed with RTW linen trousers not having frog pockets .

RTW Summer trousers generally are not very good .
If you shop for trousers to wear when the mercury rises in the UK you have a choice of beach wear shorts or beach wear trousers.
Hems too wide , baggy legs , pick-pocket pockets .

Recommendations on linen / summer trousers most welcome.

Kev F

I too am a white trouser sceptic but took your hint about the BHL off-white jeans. Just that slight tone makes a huge difference; very casual though and way too heavy for warmer weather.

Steve

Hi Robin,
Same here, I’m still a bit nervous of wearing my Ecru jeans out in public ( they have 1% stretch too).
But for summer trousers recommendations, I’m loving my naked & Famous Raw Linen Jeans

bogdan

for RTW linen trousers: i have recently bought a pair of Luca Faloni tobacco trousers – they are not baggy and the hems are pretty narrow, but they don’t have frog pockets. i find the material is great, although i didn’t wash them yet. they looked better in person than on the website – they are not as tight on the leg as the pics suggest. so far, very happy with my purchase, and planning to add more colors in the future.

Jan

I don’t understand the issue with white or off-white jeans. They are my go to option for casual but nice / relatively smart or festive in summer. As in cocktail near the beach, garden party at friends, drinks on a rooftop, perhaps a little dance in a club somewhere etc. Very versatile and summery and imo only offensive / too much if the shoes and other clothes are wrong (black and flashy colours and fabrics basically).

Leo

I have noticed that many individuals, from people very uniterested in clothes to afficionado dressers, tend to be very opinionated against white trousers in general. I have relatively smart chinos in full white and an off-white cotton-linen casual pair and they are total staples in warmer months, pairing perfectly with everything as well as the sun. Don’t own white jeans yet but think for the summer they’re the only jeans you can really wear in addition to very thin very light blue, so am considering those too. I think there is some sort of social stigma almost against men’s white trousers, but not sure why and what is behind it.

Gary

See Brad Pitt in double white denim in Tarantino’s film . Makes it a great look but you need to be slim

Henry

I think you forgot to link where you intended to

Henry

Works now.

Hannes

Good post. Is the reason to not tuck anything into the drawstring trousers in order to hide the fact that it is drawstring?

I recently bought a pair of Casatlantic El Jadida in Antique White, and they seem quite versitile so far.

P.A.

Looks like the links to other articles don’t work Simon

SamS

I have two pairs of Rubato chinos (khaki and off-white), and they have become my standard casual trousers. Ironically I also recommend these chinos to friends who want to dress a bit smarter – since I’m usually in tailored trousers (cavalry twill or flannel) with pleats and cuffs, the chinos are still a step down in formality but for the guys who usually wear fast fashion jeans, a pair of smart chinos will be a big step up.

Adam

Any brand recommendations for drawstring linen? I like mine roomy in the seat as I have big thighs. Brands like Bills Khakis suit me well for that reason and I just give them a nice hem at the bottom.

Henry

May I ask which color do own, and where Japanese linen stands?

Gabriele

Stòffa is also a great option, and if you’re an existing client you can select from a wider range of colors.

Gabriele

Also, if you want drawstring and are okay with cotton canvas, Cohérence makes a great version. Currently sold by The Armoury and Beige Habilleur.

Jasper Smit

Yes, great topic. And for me one very relevant one. With two young children and constantly going somewhere I don’t wear smart trousers anymore. Raw denim jeans, olive Chino and khaki chinos in three different ways. One with with pleats, one flat front and one 5 pocket. It sound strange maby 3 khaki trousers in the same shade but it works great. You don’t have to think about combinations and the formality makes a big difference, if you ask me. Cheers.

Matt L

I recently bought mid-brown and dark-navy linen trousers. I don’t regret the purchase, but I struggle to make them work with much outside the northern Europe look.

Steve

Thanks Simon, I’ve been looking forward to this article especially.
I have a question for you, I picked up some Cotton Nep trousers because they were a great price. They are almost cotton grey chambray, Its a nice material with only 1% nylon. But I think they are a bit fashion-forward.
https://twitter.com/nhfasharchive/status/1015725493868486657
I take it they have no place in the wardrobe of a 40 year old?
Maybe I could have them turned into shorts?

Steve

Thanks Simon, yes they are fairly tapered approx. 7.5″ hem. Its the fact that they are an Italian cotton chambray/nep fabric. I haven’t seen this used on any other trousers before.
I quite like them and they work well with solid colours on top, but was self-conscious I might be making a fashion faux-pas.

Steve

Sorry Simon, not sure. That keeps coming up as default since I posted a link to it in a couple of months ago.
I think I put it in the wrong box and now I have to manually delete it each time I post a comment

Henry

Deleting your cache and cookies will probably fix it.
You can delete manually only for this website, but it might be under some website plug-in.

Peter Hall

Certainly not in the top five,but I have a pair of drawstring,grey cotton trousers,complete with frayed ends, which I get a great deal of use of during pool/beach days and lounging about in the evening.Perfect for espradrilles .

Steve

HI Peter, I like the Luca Faloni drawstring linen trousers for the same reasons

Morgan

Hi Simon,
A couple of questions re: brands that you have mentioned above; 1) how much stretch is there on the waist of the Anthology drawstring linens, as my waist size is right around the mark for a 52, but would prefer to size down to a 50 and have the waist band stretch than have to pull the drawstring tight on the 52? And 2) Are the Armoury sports chinos smart enough to wear with a navy hopsack jacket?

Morgan

Thanks, Simon.

Daniel

I understand that you can’t cover all and every maker in the chinos series but here comes an addition. I bought Private Whites One pleat chino this winter and they have become my favorite pair of casual trousers. I love them being a bit higher in the rise, a quite wide thigh and a nice cotton. They feel really solid and like they could stand quite a lot of hard wear playing with my daughter. I bought mine in navy and perhaps one size to small. I’ll provably buy the beige one this summer and size up one.

Monsieur

Simon would you care to comment on Rubato denim sizing? If I’m not mistaken you went for a size 33 and then mentioned that there had been some stretching out? In other words, in regards to waist size, would you recommend going up or down in sizing?

Monsieur

Good to know, thanks for the feedback.

CK

Great article Simon. As always, you’ve helped me identify a couple of key areas where I could expand upon my current casual trouser rotation, which mainly consists of denim and workwear chinos fbut a smarter chino and possibly a RTW linen trouser might be a nice addition.
Despite barely getting a month, two at a push of ‘summer’ weather where I live, linen trousers could be a cool option. In terms of RTW, what do you think of the Informale linen trousers? I like the navy. We’re talking casual, overshirts, tees, light Valstar style jackets Alden loafers etc.
The Rubato denim looks + sounds great, seems like a great cut. Two questions, do you find the back rise high enough? And also, how do they weigh up against your BHL made to measure?

CK

Cheers Simon, mind if I ask, did you take a 48 or 50 in the Anthology ones? They look great.

Ignazio

What are your thoughts on dark or mid grey chinos? I would think grey is quite a versatile color in chinos also.

Martin

Simon, what’s your opinion on wide workwear chinos worn with a crease? There is a great shop in Firenze called Desii Vintage and one of the two guys running it (the one without the big beard) can often be seen on instagram wearing that style. It looks surprisingly good on him, I think.

Amit

Thank you Simon. You’ve helped me choose my four pairs of (casual) trousers that I’m really happy with and will definitely enjoy styling them. My first pair of Jeans is from https://thearmoury.com/collections/denim/products/the-armoury-by-nigel-cabourn-5-pocket-denim-jeans?variant=17728986415175. I got a second pair of the same pair of jeans in waist size 29 for almost an MTM/MTO fit (my friend is bringing them for me from the USA, I’ll receive them in a couple of days). I went for the second pair in the exact same jeans due to the reasons mentioned above and looking at how useful is an Indigo colour jeans is and I intend to rotate those two pairs of jeans. I also find it very difficult to find jeans/trousers that fit me well. The first pair of my Armoury by Nigel Cabourn Jeans (Indigo) was sent for alterations to BLA London. I’m extremely happy with their offline alterations service that I received from Lilly (Head of MTM) at BLA. My third pair of Jeans is from https://therealmccoys.com/collections/bottoms/products/001xx-washed. I liked them and was waiting for it to be re-stocked. When eventually it was, I asked Simon about them before pulling the trigger, and Simon approved of them, infact he told me that those look great. I bought them in waist size 29 and they too will need alterations in the waist and hem before I start wearing them. I’ll send them to Pinnas and Needless for alterations. I did mention about how difficult it is to find good fit and size. My fourth pair of Trousers is from https://shopcanoeclub.com/collections/orslow/products/us-army-fatigue-pants-green. I personally don’t enjoy wearing Chinos that much and was looking for an alternative to Chinos. I settled on the fatigues because I have enjoyed wearing cargo trousers in the past and I find a dark colour trousers look best in me. I was also looking at Olive colour specifically to incorporate a navy tee for summers and a navy sweatshirt (hoodie) for winters to wear as tops as stand alone pieces. I personally prefer and find Olive colour the best third in colour options for myself in casual trousers.

Joon

I am planning a bespoke/mtm jeans project right now with Levi’s or Blackhorse Lane, and was originally planning a dark wash but am now reconsidering thanks to this post. A mid wash would bring the colour and I’m more likely to wear chinos or other trousers if I’m after a smarter look. Planning a mid rise, tapered, quite fitted pair. Jeans that fit like trousers basically. Are there any other jeans details that might elevate/casualise a pair that come to mind?

Joon

Argh… good point. Is BLA Blackhorse Lane? Off the peg jeans generally don’t fit me, so it’s a tough one.

Tom

Hi Simon,

Perhaps this has been answered already in the comments but for the casual linens are they with belt loops or side adjusters? I know side adjusters are usually on the formal side but obviously can be dressed down.
Or are they even drawsting? which personally I’m not a fan of.
Tom

Tom

Thanks Simon. I can see the appeal of the drawstring on those sweltering days but my only concern is that the drawstring might not be overly secure? If my pockets are filled with wallet and phone etc, I could see them slipping down which is not a look I aspire to.

Jonas

What do you think about 5-pocket trousers, particularly in ecru or beige? On a formality scale, I find them somewhere between jeans and chinos.

Georgios

Hi Simon, one of the best articles of the year. Could you suggest some mid blue jeans that are straigt and dont cost a fortune ? 🙂

Felix

I would recommend the Jeanerica TM005 in the light vintage 95 wash. Extremely happy with those, though in general Jeanerica can be a little hit or miss.

Georgios

Thank you both for the answers, i am looking something with the fit of levis 501 without tappering at a better quality. The problem is that al theese brands are not to easy to try and then buy..

Richard

Hi Simon, yes some more recommendations for mid blue jeans (not vintage) would be good – it seems easy to find quality dark indigo (BHL) etc. but much harder for mid blue in my experience. Any suggestions then for mid blue at the BLH quality/ price point?

John

Hi Simon,
A very helpful post! Still, I wonder whether moleskin couldn’t have found its place in the top-five set.
As to cords, I agree that both dark brown and olive are versatile and smart. But, what do you think of grey?
John

John

Thanks, Simon! Of course I remember that post! But anyhow, in my mind it remained associated only with the jacket and the tailor Thom Sweeney!
John

Craig

Hmmmm, my top five pair would be:

-White (ecru) denim
-Taupe cotton chinos
-Black denim
-Brown corduroy
-Tan linen

I’ve moved away from blue denim, no matter the color. Nothing wrong with them, I just found myself always reaching for something else. I reserve blue for jackets and shirts. Keeps things simple. Maybe because blue is such a strong color.

I just got a pair of grey denim jeans that I’m enjoying too.

Simon

Hi Simon,

I am surprised not to find moleskin in the list for how great they look with tweed. I get the cords reference but I think moleskin should have made the cut or at least the “other/additional” list.

Cheers,

Simon

John

Would your observation hold in the case of heavy moleskin?
John

Stephan

Nice one, Simon, and as per usual with your advice of this kind spot-on to suit basically everyone.
A question: you mentioned Rubato jeans and I went to that post on the pop-up, and you wear in one photo a navy DB, white shirt, and brown/drab trousers. What fabric are they? Cavalry twill?

Stephan

Thanks, Simon! Got recently a similar-looking RTW pair from Canali, wasn’t sure what fabric it was, but indeed a dense wool twill. Photo attached for reference. Very nice mid-high waisted, single pleat trousers. Can’t wait for the cold weather to wear them and thanks for the styling idea.

E4241BCC-E158-47EA-9E4B-4F70DF970D66.jpeg
Vincent

Hi, Simon. Those black cordovans in the 1st photo – I assume they are Alden? Or Brooks. Brothers by Alden? What model? Would love to get me a pair of those!

Vincent

Thanks 🙏🏻

Paul F.

On the topic of casual trousers, I’ve found the Duke five pocket corduroys from Trunk and the slim fit fatigue pants from Orslow exceptionally versatile. The Dukes come in a small range of colors—I think the olive color is fantastic, while Instagram suggests that Trunk founder Mats Klingberg finds the white cords very useful. For me, the Duke really fills a niche between casual and smart. They work with a soft jacket, with an overshirt, or with just a crew neck at the weekend.

As for the Orslow fatigue pants, they’re so comfortable and have aged so nicely after just over a year of wear that they’ve become my go-to choice at the weekend or when traveling. I meant to write a plug for them at the beginning of the year when PS asked readers to highlight their favorite pieces purchased in 2021. I like my army green pair so much that I bought the same model in khaki. Orslow’s slim fit army trousers are also worth mentioning in this category of casual trouser options.

Guy W

Excellent piece, Simon. Coincidentally, I’ve recently added some mid-wash denim as well as the Armoury Sports Chinos (in both olive green and khaki) to my wardrobe and they’re all getting a lot of wear. Echoing the comments of another reader (and after recently having to get bolognese sauce off some high twist woolen trousers), washable trousers are all I can wear around my young daughter. Being someone with young children yourself, an article on staying well-dressed while, say, constantly being at playgrounds would be great. As an example, I find myself dressing very similarly to the cover photo in this article (chinos, OCBD, a nice knit and nice sneakers) but am finding it hard to introduce some variety.

I’d also like to mention that I’ve really been enjoying seeing more cold-coloured outfits. After having read your cold-colour capsule article, I’ve been trying to introduce this more into my outfits and find it unexpectedly sophisticated, and subtle yet distinctive.

Peter Hall

Guy
I’m now at the grandpa stage(!) and I wear similar. I find that a chunky loafer, peacoat and/or shawl cardigan can repel a variety of child related substances and a good denim chore coat is a decent body armour.
Dark colours and machine washable!

Roni

Hi Simon
Excellent piece. What do you think of cream cords, for example these https://cavour.co/en/product/4379/mod-2-single-pleat-wale-cord-trouser

Might they work with Neapolitan jackets as well as more casual clothing?

Martins

strange.. inspired by one of your articles I got a smart cream Brisbane cords. and somehow they are just yellowish enough not to seem showy…
I had a white linen trousers and they felt too showy for anything but +30* with espadrilles or slippers and bright polo, I have white chinos that I have to dress down not to feel so showy, but cream cords just hit the spot.

George

Hi Simon, Excellent article. I totally agree that beige/stone are the most versatile especially chinos/linen trousers. What is your opinion on the versatility of dark brown chinos (smarter, not work chinos) or linen pants?

Stephan

I too have a pair of such chinos, that have over time faded from a dark brown to a sort of milk-chocolate colour. They are flat front, relatively slim, and finished with a 5cm turn-up. A real staple for colder months. However I’m not sure how to describe the fabric. It is a narrow cotton twill, a bit brushed I would say as it is very soft, with some natural stretch. Would you know what that fabric is called, Simon?

Ben

Hi Simon, what’s your feeling on cuffs for smarter chinos, like the ones from the Armoury?

Adam

Simon, curious to hear a more in depth discussion of linen casual trousers. For smart casual wear would you suggest tailored trousers or something that is cut and finished like chinos?

AH.

Thank you for this article, Simon.

Which one do you think is more versatile, the Bryceland’s or Rubato’s khaki chinos? How different is their cut?

J Crewless

Agreed. The dark jeans have been overdone. Mid is more versatile.

Leo

Great article Simon. There isn’t anyone who wears white trousers/jeans as well as you do. I wish I could do it half as well.
if you were wearing a tailored jacket with linen trousers, what fabric do you suggest?

Mike H

Dear Simon,
thanks for the interesting article. I have given this point some careful thought too coming at it from a different direction.
I was a professional blue collar worker for the first half of my working career so never started on a more adult or ‘smart’ wardrobe until my middle age. I later built up a nice wardrobe when I moved into office-based working with suits and blazers that I would be happy to wear in my leisure time but I still wanted a youthful ‘street’ tang to my attire.
Through experimentation I’ve come up with some alternatives that would fit on your list:

  1. In winter, heavy tweed fabric (overcoating weights up to 18oz!) makes for really cool (and warm!) trousers. They are rugged like jeans and work nicely with a leather, tweed or technical jacket. I believe I was years ahead of the trend that became ‘gorpcore’! I often get complimented by both males and females on this style of trouser. I have dark brown and dark grey herringbone trousers and a very smart Fox Brothers dark charcoal PoW trouser which is particularly lovely. They look good with rugged shoes and boots.
  2. Black jeans – you want to look out for a good quality (i.e. selvedge if possible) black denim. Preferably with a black and white warp and weft so the pants don’t appear solid black. These jeans were a lot more common back in the Eighties when I was growing up and are as versatile as a blue jean if you know what you are doing. They are less likely to get mussed up by hairs etc than an all-black cotton jean.
  3. Partly influenced by Permanent Style and one of your guides! – I also like to wear heavy twill / whipcords. I get them tailored without a crease so they appear more jean-like.I first ventured into this style of trouser trying to find an alternative to wearing nice indigo selvedge jeans with the tweed jackets I was having made up.
  4. Lighter weight tweed fabrics make for smart casual trousers too. these again are tailored without a crease and I find they can be used interchangeably with the occasions we might opt for denim. they are generally warmer tho so best as an option for cooler climes / times of the day!
  5. One option I haven’t managed so far is to experiment with my favourite Donegal tweeds. I would love to have some tweeds made with a jeans cut, rivets and all but I don’t know of any tailors who might be able to make that vision work for me! Perhaps you can recommend a UK based artisan who could help me out?!

Regards,
Mike

Robert

Mike,

Want to acknowledge and congratulate you. If you’ll permit, I’m picturing you in a rural setting with an active outdoor lifestyle – and your blue collar background lends no-nonsense credence to your fabric choices. I doubt you would go out of your way to create a look or waste money on clothing that doesn’t function well for you.

Although previous comments on tweed trousers indicated the fabric isn’t ideal for friction or applied stress at the knees/seat/crotch – it seems the heavier weights have held up well in your experience. Well done.

Best,
Robert

Mike H

Thanks Robert!
Mostly fantasy I am afraid.
I’m a city boy and a big advocate of more brown in town. To the pub, punk rock gig, cinema, daytime, whenever or wherever you feel like it weather permitting!
I’ve also got money to burn, an imagination and modestly creative so I’ve experimented a bit with different styles and fabrics regardless of cost (within reason ofc – I’m not wearing Vicuna tweed!) to achieve an individual aesthetic I like.
I don’t know where that opinion about tweed trousers comes from?! Tweed is wool and generally hardier than worsted hence it’s appeal to rural workers. We don’t normally complain about our H&S wool suits being fragile around the knees/seat/crotch!
Cheers

Mike H

Probably so.
One of my favourite tweed suits is a Porter and Harding Thornproof from Harrisons and that is darn near bulletproof!

Ben R

I have several Lot 1 Levi’s for the jeans. And I have a pair of washable chinos coming from W&S. But for the linen and cords would you recommend tailored trousers, say from someone like Pommella, or something RTW? Or perhaps experiment with the washable model from W&S in a cord or linen?(Not necessary with the intent to machine wash, but for the construction)

Ben R

Thanks for the explanation. It’s a good reference for describing what I should look for in these casual trousers. I’m one of those that needs bespoke (or good MTM) for fit purposes. Though, I have had some luck with alterations on RTW… but once I jumped into bespoke, the alteration route has seemed lacking. But then the trousers are never as casual. I am eager to receive W&S washables.

Shem

Hi simon. 2 questions
1) how would you work shorts into the mix given global warming and tbat most brands are now embracing them
2) interesting you put the rubato chinos into the formal chino category like the Armoury sports chino given how different they are. I understand the rubato officer chino are high and wide in fit? Would like to hear your thoughts as i have 3 armoury army chinos (the old/the new/the gurkha) and am lacking a more formal chino. I have the Armoury sports chino but sold them as they are too slim hence looking for one that is more formal but wide. Are the rubatos it?

Stephan

May I also suggest Cavour chinos, of which I have a pair in ‘stone’ with single pleats and they are serving the purpose of smart chinos brilliantly.

Shem

Hi simon can you do a piece on the anthology linen trousers? Im in 2 minds about them. Which colour did you get anyway?

Darren

My wallet thanks you for the advance notice of the top 10.

Azar

Hi Simon – can you recommend some mid-blue jeans? I stopped buying them because everything seems to come “pre-faded” and whiskered. That just looks awful, in my opinion. Thanks!

Azar

Oh, I’m happy to see a favourite pair fade and develop it’s own character over time. So, you’re saying all your mid-blue jeans started life as dark indigo denim?

jason

you might be looking for a stonewashed denim without any extra sanding around it. something like ONI’s 6 or 18 month wash would suit

Ben R

Levi’s Lot 1 (NYC) has (or had when I was there) a nice Cone Mills mid-blue denim. But maybe a bit darker than true mid-blue. But definitely lighter than indigo.

Ben R

Sorry I guess I got the mill wrong. I could have sworn they swatch book said Cone Mills. But this was just before the Pandemic.

And yes not as dark as the really dark denims, but probably not quite mid-blue. A very sturdy denim too. They adjusted the pattern to accommodate the rigidity of the denim.

Tom

This is a very useful piece, Simon. In the summer, I’d like to wear beige/khaki-colored chinos (like the Armoury sport chino or Whitcomb & Shaftesbury bespoke chinos) in casual settings where I wouldn’t be wearing a tailored jacket. Whereas I’d go for a cream linen when wearing a jacket.

I’ve recently also been interested in the Fox Khaki cloth in “Oat” too though (https://www.themerchantfox.co.uk/products/fox-khaki-in-oat). I know in a past article you had mentioned that tailored cotton trousers are “an absolute bastard to get right.” Do you find a use for them in your wardrobe? What would you wear them with, if anything?

Tom

Thanks, Simon! That makes sense.

bogdan

Simon, I’m wondering why you think Irish linen doesn’t work well for casual linen trousers. If I recall correctly, you mentioned earlier that Irish linen is starchier and sturdier, so it keeps a crease better and doesn’t wrinkle as much. But doesn’t it get softer with washing a bit like cotton (i’m assuming it can be washed in water)? In which case, in the right cut and weight, it should be a good casual option?

R Abbott

In the summer time, I love cotton-linen chinos as a more casual alternative to heavy Irish trousers. Cream, tan, and drab green (more muted than olive) are especially useful.

DB

No Man Walks Alone generally carries garment-dyed cotton/linen chinos from Rota in a few colors every spring. I have two pairs and find them to be rather useful.

James Fettiplace

Hi Simon,
Completely agree with all of this. I like cords but I seem to struggle to find a good balance between usability (i.e. not tailored) and style (i.e. not too old fashioned).
Could I please ask if you can recommend anywhere for machine-washable RTW cords. I’ve tried Trunk (Ok, good style but would prefer a thicker cloth) and Clutch Cafe (where the ‘modern’ fit -ie very baggy – wasn’t really me). Thanks, James

JH

Any recommendations on casual linen trousers that aren’t drawstring? (I took a while to read through the comments and could only find drawstring recommendations: Informale, Anthology and Luca Faloni). I think you had some casual linen trousers from Paul Stuart Simon? But I’m really looking for this side of pond.

Dan

I would have been upset if I didn’t see off-white jeans here.

Leo

Hello, Simon! Nice and useful breakdown, thanks.
On smart chinos to wear with tailoring, especially in warmer months, what light colour do you find most useful and why, please? I have cream, stone, and soon will get light tan. I thought stone would be most useful but seems I am reaching much more for cream. This is both with jackets (navy, brown, green, even oatmeal/beige) and with smart polos (knit) or just shirt-trouser combos. Stone just seams a bit stark at times.

Leo

I can see that, Simon. For me I guess the cream feels softer and easier to blend in while stone is more of a shade of grey that is almost white so more of a statement, against what I had expected it to be. Interesting how perceptions differ!

David C

Hi Simon, excellent piece. In my experience the casual trouser category is by far the most important in my wardrobe, especially in the new working environment and blending of smart and casual styles. I will say however that this can be a very difficult set of garments to get right (significant trial and error behind me). I love a lot of the trousers you reference but they’re typically made for the slim to regular guy. On bigger or more muscled guys, the challenges are invariably with the seat and thighs and then it’s usually more of a workwear trouser (think Bryceland’s) than smart chino (such as Rubato) given the need to accommodate extra inches in those places. I’d love a Rubato pair but even in one waist size up from mine the seat and thigh still pinch, which is such a shame as they’re so beautiful. With that in mind are you able to recommend any smarter chinos with a wider hip and leg and slight taper below the knee?

Mark H

Another great article Simon!

I was wondering how the Rubato jeans compare to the equivalent versions by Drake’s. How do the fits and denim quality compare? Any thoughts would be appreciated!

Alexander

Dear Simon: How forgiving are the Rubato jeans trough the seat and thighs? With the fullcount 1108-cut for example I would have to size up to a 34 waist, because the top block was so narrow. But my regular waist size would be a 32. (Do you remember what was your fullcount 1108 size at clutch cafe?) Again this problem: small waist, big seat and thighs. I know giving sizing advice remotely is always a bit boring. Thank you for your time! PS: Are there already some pics of your Rubato jeans?

Alexander

I went with ordering the size 32 with the rubato denim, since the 32 of the El Jadida (Casatlantic) fits me comfortably, which is apparently also your size.
Is it fair to say that the El Jadida is somewhat halfway between a dressy chino (like rubato) and workwear? Are you wearing your El Jadida with thr crease and with no cuff? (Both would be the OG thing to do apparently. „Still not loving police, still rocking my khakis with a cuff and a crease.“)

Alexander

The fit of the rubato denim is great. Really glad I went with the 32. Thanks! Perfect in the waist and through the seat and thighs. Really enjoy this kind of fit. Easier than those Levi’s 1947 and 60s repros from japanese makers.
The leg opening could be a touch wide for me, but I will give it some months before thinking about altering.
Do you think about writing a fit-guide for jeans? Since yours have gotten wider, it would be interesting what else changed with that. I think it started with your preference for more drapey jackets, now the bottoms had to follow. Are different shoe choices next? Like you said some time, your aberdeen last aldens are too slim for wide-leg trousers etc…

Matty

Good read Simon.

My top five:

Chinos – I wear chinos a lot so probably my number one. I prefer casual/work-wear chinos but a right-hand twill. I also prefer a slimmer cut. Most worn are two pairs from Workers Japan which have a higher waist and a nice 18cm hem. One in brown and the other in light beige. They’re a right-hand twill but much lighter than the Real McCoys for example. I also wear chinos from F.O.B Factory, UES, Real McCoys, Burgus Plus and Freewheelers.

Baker Pants/Fatigues – next is probably baker pants. My favourites are are from F.O.B Factory. They’re back satin but lighter than most and again are slimmer and have an 18cm hem. Also a bit shorter so don’t need to be cuffed/turned up. I find olive/green most useful and like them with off-white on top and plain white sneakers/plimsoles. I also have a pair in navy and a pair from Workers Japan in olive which are heavier so don’t get worn in summer. A pair from Pherrows in navy and a pair of olive 25oz duck canvas ones from Tanuki which are something a bit different. I want to try the Orslow ones as soon as they’re available again.

Dark Indigo Denim – I used to love denim but just find chinos and baker pants more comfortable these days. Most worn are a pair of Full Count Lot 1110 which have a high waist and are slim and tapered and a pair of Warehouse Lot 900XX – again, slim and tapered.

Off-White – I love off-white leg wear. I always wear off-white/ecru – never white. A pair of Studio D’artisan relaxed tapered selvedge denim are probably worn most as well as a pair of ecru pique pants/jeans/pants from F.O.B Factory, followed by a pair of selvedge back satin pants in ecru from Warehouse.

Casual – Smart Trousers – lastly is probably grey flannels or casual linen in mid-blue depending on the season – always dressed down with plain white sneakers or loafers and a tee or polo/Oxford

Also – Shorts – lots of sorts. Living in Hong Kong I wear shorts a lot. Baker shorts, chino shorts, linen shorts – always slim and always above the knee. Favs are from F.O.B factory, Warehouse, UES and Japan Blue.

Will

Really enjoy these wardrobe building articles Simon, thanks.

Slightly off topic but does anyone have any recommendation for places for minor alterations – such as hemming trousers – in Brighton (UK)? I’ve not found anywhere reliable, is it just a case of making a trip up to London?

Chris Cherry

Ah if only fatigues were so easy to find. I’ve yet to hunt out anything that comes close on the inside leg length. Waist width is also an issue, albeit one I could do something about.

Alan

Hi Simon,
Could I ask what size you have in the Anthology drawstring linen? You mentioned in this thread that they are a little narrow. Where particularly are they narrow.
Thanks,
Alan

Martins

narrow or tapered?

David Peters

Hi Simon,

Given the versatility of both cream for odd trousers, and flannel in general – how versatile is fox flannel in cricket white? Is this a good choice for winter odd trousers that could work with knitwear and loafers, or equally with soft jackets?

https://www.themerchantfox.co.uk/products/fox-flannel-cricket-white-trousers

Anonymous

In what situation would you rank the ecru jeans and the olive fatigue pants among the top 5 pants in your list?