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8 Modern Pant Styles Every Man Should Own (And How To Wear Them)

Trousers are the glue that binds your wardrobe together, so we’ve curated the most important styles that every discerning guy should own in 2024.

Words by: Ryan Thompson

We get it. Buying a pair of trousers doesn’t get the pulse racing as much as, say, buying a new hoodie, shirt or jacket. Your upper half is where the eyes get drawn to, so it’s only natural that you would invest more time, money and creativity into what you cover it with. The base case for trousers on the other hand, is to spare your blushes, but they are obviously far more than that – they the glue that binds all of your wardrobe together.

If anything, we should be devoting more time and energy to shopping for pants because they are a) so diverse in terms of cut, fit and style, but also b) the wrong pair can so easily ruin an outfit.

Hence we’ve collated the most important pant styles every man should have in his wardrobe in 2024, from casual options to the most formal you can buy. Get your trousers right and the rest of your outfit will follow.

Slim selvedge denim jeans

We could have opted for any number of denim jeans here to be honest, but for a solid, stylish and dependable option, slim-fit selvedge jeans are at the top of the pile. Of course, regular cuts and even loose wide-leg styles are just as relevant, if not more so depending on your body type and personal aesthetic, but for maximum versatility, a slim cut ticks all the boxes.

Selvedge denim just gives you that assurance of quality and thus durability, but if you buy raw you also get a unique aging process specific to your jeans and how you treat them. That rich, deep, indigo dye teams well with everything from classic Americana to contemporary streetwear, and a slim fit is flattering on almost every man that doesn’t possess tree-trunk legs.

How to style them

Jeans are the most democratic item in menswear, so how you style them is really up to you. A slim leg gives you a wealth of shoe options, since the subtle taper to the ankle works really well with Chelsea boots, sneakers, Derbies, loafers… you name it.

Workwear is a natural fit for denim, so think flannel shirts, chore jackets, bombers, overshirts and classic pocket tees, but they also work well with streetwear silhouettes, from sweatshirts to hoodies.

Be careful matching jeans with a blazer as you can run the risk of looking like an early 2000s throwback by slinging any old jacket on top. You’d be safer opting for a more relaxed cropped blouson.

Cotton chinos

The. Classic. Trouser. Where would the world be without the cotton chino? Of military origins, like just about every great timeless piece of menswear, the cotton twill chino has stood the test of time and to this day remains a key pant style for men.

We thought about singling out a particular cut, like a regular or straight-leg fit, but to be honest all chinos are essential so we’ve lumped them all together. Like the denim jean, it’s the versatility of chinos that makes them so integral to a modern wardrobe.

These days, most good styles will be constructed from an organic cotton twill that may or may not have some stretch in it courtesy of a small percentage of elastane or Spandex. Either way, you should own a couple of different cuts in the traditional khaki tone, as well as a few pairs in black and navy, all of which gives you a multitude of styling options, no matter what the direction of your wardrobe.

How to style them

The classic flat-fronted chino can be styled in myriad ways, but for what it’s worth, we think they work best with a preppy aesthetic that incorporates casual classics such as the Oxford cloth button down (OCBD), polo shirts, sporty jerseys and relaxed tailoring in the shape of unstructured cotton blazers and blousons. If you’re in doubt, try our Preppy Outfits article.

We also love styling out pleated chinos, which work really well with casual tailoring and loafers or lo-fi sneakers. In summary: you’d have to be getting dressed in the dark to get chinos even slightly wrong.

Wool trousers

Admittedly, ‘wool trousers’ is a genre all of its own but it’s worth taking on as a whole because there are so many great and diverse examples that you’d do well to have in your wardrobe.

First up, a well-tailored pair of smart wool navy trousers in a super 100s merino cloth or above is an excellent addition to your tailored separates rotation, even if you only wear them to the office. A herringbone cloth will add a subtle texture.

Similarly, opt for a charcoal pair cut in a wool flannel cloth for a soft and tactile handle that combines well with knitwear and tailored jackets.

Flat-fronted, single- or double-pleats, whichever is your preference, wool trousers bring a smart textural finish that you can use to dress up casualwear or slide right into your winter tailoring looks. Make sure you buy pure wool styles and preferably merino for comfort – steer clear of mohair or angora blends, which can be itchy on your legs.

How to style them

Colour-wise, wool trousers work best in a dark, subdued palette, so think navy, black, charcoal and greys. They will not only add a textural layer to your look, but are great for introducing patterns too. Subtle Prince of Wales check styles worn with military boots and a black hoodie, for example, immediately elevates what would have been an otherwise edgy urban look.

Of course, smart tailoring and knitwear are great partners, too. Wider-leg trousers worn with slim-fit turtlenecks are perfect for accentuating athletic body types, for example.

Pleated trousers

Pleats were invented as a means to provide extra room around the hips, which they do with aplomb. There was a stage when they were generally thought of as old fashioned – as opposed to the sharp, sleek silhouette of flat-fronted tapered trousers – but pleated trousers are now, thankfully, very much on trend, offering a more casually tailored approach to dressing.

Single pleats or double-pleats? English or Italian? Personal preference will guide you, but as a rule double-pleats will be wider at the hips than single pleats due to the excess bunched fabric.

How to style them

How you wear pleated trousers mostly depends on the fabric they’re cut from. Pleated cotton twill chinos for example will work well with an Americana-inspired preppy or workwear look, whereas pleated wool trousers will be better served with a textural wool blazer and overcoat.

Give cotton styles a roll-up or two, or buy a cropped style and wear with rugged boots. They sit nicely with military-inspired pieces too, such as lightweight cotton field jackets and bombers, as well as rugged chore coats, flannel shirts and overshirts.

Wool styles are begging to be used as casual separates.

Black tailored trousers

If you’ve ever shopped on MR PORTER, Farfetch, MatchesFashion or any of the other big luxury online e-commerce sites you may have noticed just how many looks are styled with black tailored trousers.

Put simply, they make everything look good, giving a fit a smart, elegant and sophisticated edge. Whether they are straight cut, tapered, cropped or wide leg, it doesn’t really matter – black trousers ooze class whatever the dimensions.

How to style them

The most obvious way to wear black tailored trousers is with an all-black look. A fashion industry favourite, all-black outfits are admittedly chic and even easier to style – one less thing to think about when you get up in the morning.

Alternatively, you can add a splash of white via a tee, polo or shirt, or use your black trousers as a canvas for bolder colours in the way of knitwear or a hoodie.

In terms of shoes, black chunky loafers or Derbies are a smart yet edgy touch, or go fully urban commando with some black military boots.

Wide-leg trousers

Evolved from the extremely voluminous ‘Oxford bags’ of the 1920s, today’s wide-leg trousers don’t quite have the same extreme dimensions, but are one or two steps up from a regular-cut trouser silhouette.

A contemporary shape usually fashioned from cotton, linen, wool and occasionally denim, wider legs have been popular on fashion runways of late, offering a looser and more relaxed silhouette. They’re great for breaking the status-quo of the modern slim-tapered trouser, and have the added benefit of making your waist appear slimmer, which is never a bad thing.

How to style them

As far as menswear genres go, the wide-leg trouser is pretty democratic, with smart wool styles paired with oversized tailoring, while cotton versions are popular with loose, grungy streetwear looks.

Black styles are the most versatile and can easily be worn casually with a pair of sneakers and a hoodie, or can be dressed up with contemporary tailoring.

A minimalistic aesthetic really lends itself well to wide-leg trousers, and the absence of any colour or pattern allows the silhouettes of your pants and other garments do the talking.

Track pants

Primarily invented for athletic purposes, the track pant has evolved to become as ubiquitous as jeans and chinos, and even more so since the pandemic, when everyone turned to loungewear as their de facto look.

Trackpants, specifically high-end cotton styles but also luxury versions in cashmere, have ridden the wave of both athleisure and streetwear to become an everyday essential menswear item.

They can be dressed up in a preppy way and glossed with iconic sneakers, or they can revert back to good ol’ lounge-around-the-house comfy pants.

How to style them

Streetwear fits are your first port of call but you need to ensure that the look is fairly polished or you risk coming across as sloppy. Hence good organic cotton track pants or cashmere styles elevate the aesthetic alongside high-end kicks and fashion-forward silhouettes.

You can also use them as a relaxed contrast to a wool overcoat, shirt and jumper, bookended with some clean high tops for a contemporary take on high-low dressing. Preppy looks work well with cotton track pants too – think heritage sportswear like striped rugby shirts and luxe varsity jackets.

Corduroy trousers

Once maligned as boring and staid, corduroy trousers are enjoying a renaissance, with many luxury fashion houses incorporating them into their fall/winter collections in recent years.

It’s not hard to see why. The fabric – recognisable for its wales, or ridges – brings a unique texture to casual modern looks. Fine-wale styles are subtle and almost have the appearance of moleskin from a distance, whereas wide wales are much more visible and lend themselves to a rugged outdoorsy look.

Look for organic cotton designs in muted autumnal tones for maximum versatility.

How to style them

Relaxed tailoring is where corduroy is most at home, paired with OCBDs, chunky knitwear, softly tailored unstructured jackets and rugged outerwear.

Corduroy suits are an excellent option, too – perfect for shaking up your business-casual uniform or adding some texture to your roster of separates.

Opt for regular fits and looser styles that you can add a turn-up to, then wear winter boots, Derbies and vintage-inspired sneakers.