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Types of Men’s Dress Pants

Looking to get a new pair of dress pants, but unsure of the subtle differences? This guide will explain the key features found in men’s dress pants so that you can find the perfect pair for your needs.

Let’s take a look.

Common Dress Pant Fits

A good-looking pair of dress pants starts with getting the fit correct. Here’s a brief look at some of the more common fits:

  • Classic Fit: These pants are roomy through the seat and thigh, with a straight leg. This fit is comfortable and easy to move in, making it ideal for everyday office wear.
  • Regular Fit: You’ll find that these dress pants are slightly slimmer than the classic fit but still provide plenty of room to move. They have a tapered leg for a more modern look.
  • Relaxed Fit: This will be the loosest and most comfortable option. They’re perfect for travel or casual days in the office.
  • Skinny Fit: Try a pair of skinny fit dress pants for a more stylish and slimming look. They’ll hug your legs for a sleek silhouette. Perfect for guys with a smaller frame.
  • Slim Fit: These dress pants are somewhere in between skinny and regular fit. They’ll provide a tailored look without being too tight. Suitable for men with an average build.
  • Straight Fit: As the name suggests, these dress pants have a straight leg silhouette. They’re fitted through the seat and thigh, with a straight leg that looks great with sneakers and dress shoes.

Rise

The rise is how high the dress pants rest on the hips. Here are the three most common options:

  • High Rise: This style of dress pants will sit higher on the hips, often coming up to just below the belly button. This look is clean and classic.
  • Mid Rise: Dress pants with a mid-rise sit comfortably on the waist for a relaxed and modern look.
  • Low Rise: Try a pair of low-rise dress pants for a more fashion-forward approach. They’ll sit low on the hips for a trendy look.

Your Honest Tailor Says: Mid and high-rise pants, in particular, can pair well with suspenders for an extra-dapper look. Low-rise pants are only for casual and confident men.

Common Materials Found in Dress Pants

After you’ve decided on the fit and rise, it’s time to think about the material. Here are some of the most common materials used in dress pants:

  • Cotton: A popular choice for dress pants, cotton is a natural fiber that’s soft and breathable. It’s perfect for warm weather or everyday office wear.
  • Linen: A lightweight and airy fabric, linen is ideal for summer weather. However, linen wrinkles easily, so it’s not the best choice for formal occasions.
  • Wool: This is a timeless and durable fabric. While it’s commonly worn in winter months, some wool dress pants are light enough to be worn year-round.
  • Synthetics: Synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon can be good for dress pants. They’re often cheaper than natural fibers and can be more wrinkle-resistant. However, they can make a swooshy sound when you walk and don’t breathe.
  • Spandex (Elastane): A small amount of spandex is often added to dress pants to give them a slight stretch. This makes them more comfortable and easier to move in.

When it comes to caring and cleaning, cotton, linen, and wool are often recommended to be dry clean only. However, synthetic fabrics like polyester may be machine-washed and dried, making them easier to care for.

The Details

Once you’ve got the basics down, some extra features to consider can take your dress pants up a notch.

  • Pleats: These folds of fabric are stitched in place, typically at the waist. Pleats can add extra comfort and roominess to dress pants. They’re also helpful if you tend to carry a lot of stuff in your pockets, as they can prevent the fabric from pulling and looking strained.
  • Cuffs: A cuff is a band of fabric sewn onto the bottom of the pant leg. Cuffs can give dress pants a more polished look, and they can also help the pants hang better if you’re shorter.
  • Pockets: Most dress pants will have at least two front pockets and two back pockets. Some may have an extra small coin pocket tucked away in the front.
  • Wrinkle-Resistant: Some pants may be treated with a special coating to help resist wrinkles. This can be helpful if you’re traveling or don’t have time to iron your pants before wearing them.
  • Stain Resistant: Another type of treatment that can be applied to dress pants is a stain repellant. This can help keep your pants looking clean and new, even if you spill something on them.

Your Honest Tailor Says: While pleats and cuffs can add a touch of refinement to your look, they’re not always the most flattering. For example, if you’re on the shorter side, cuffs can make your legs look even shorter. And if you’re carrying a few extra pounds, pleats can add unwanted bulk to your midsection. 

Occasion

Dress pants can be worn for both casual and formal occasions. However, some styles are better suited for specific events. For casual days, try a pair of chinos or corduroys. If you need something more formal, reach for a pair of wool trousers.

We also recommend pairing dress pants with a blazer for a put-together look that can work for both casual and formal events.

Color

Most dress pants come in neutral colors like black, navy, and gray. However, you can also find them in brighter shades like red, green, and blue. And don’t forget about patterned options like plaid and stripes.

When choosing a color, it’s best to stick with neutrals for formal occasions. For more fun and casual look, go for a brighter shade or pattern.

Common Questions

What’s the difference between dress pants and chinos?

Dress pants are typically made from wool, linen, or synthetic fabrics like polyester. They can be worn for both casual and formal occasions. On the other hand, Chinos are usually made from thick cotton fabric. They’re more casual pants that are typically worn for everyday activities.

How many dress pants should a man own?

It’s good to have at least two pairs of dress pants in your wardrobe. This way, you’ll always have a clean pair to wear. We also recommend have them in two different colors so you can mix and match them with different shirts and jackets.

Should dress pants match the blazer?

Not necessarily. Trying to match colors between two fabrics is nearly impossible. Therefore, it’s best to wear a blazer in a complementary color. For example, you could wear a navy blazer with gray dress pants.

What’s the difference between dress pants and khakis?

Khakis are a type of dress pants that is made from a lightweight cotton fabric. They typically come in neutral colors like beige, brown, and tan. Khakis are more casual than other dress pants and are usually worn for everyday activities.

Do men still wear pegged pants?

Not as much as they used to. Pegged pants were popular in the 1970s and 1980s, but they’ve since fallen out of favor. They’re characterized by their baggy and tapered leg. These days, most men prefer more fitted pants.

About Adam

As the lead editor of Tools of Men, Adam is an expert in all things men's grooming and style. When you don't find him reading up on the latest style trends, he likes to go jogging, attempt to distinguish the differences between IPAs, and play sports with his kids.

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