Dress Pants Intro
Dress pants don’t stand out as much as some other wardrobe staples. However, there are still a couple of rules, trends and fits that are important to keep in mind.
Current trends are slimmer fitting dress pants with flat fronts and no break (showing off the socks or lack thereof).
Match your socks with your pant color (conservative) or another color elsewhere on your outfit (for those bold socks). Or don’t match it with anything at all!
Recommended to Start
Flat front, slimmer fit, 100% wool dress pants. You can’t go wrong.
Slimmer fit does not mean skin tight.
Less break is probably better, but this will depend on where you work and your personal style. Avoid the big breaks (this just looks like the pant isn’t tailored at all).
A pair of navy blue, black, dark gray and tan is a great starting selection. From there, pick up a check pattern and maybe some other colors (brown, burgundy, light blue). Pin stripe pants are often associated with suit pants, so be cautious.
Don’t double your suit pants as every day, go to work pants. You will regret this once they start discoloring and can’t be worn with your suit jacket anymore.
Style and Fit
Today, the most aggressive (and trendy) pant length is no break at all. This shows more of the sock and is shorter in length (stopping at the top of the shoe). What’s break? Break is the amount of pant material that lie below your ankle. The bigger the break, the longer the pant and more the pant sits on top of your shoe. A mid to small break would be more conservative. The big, ‘gambler’ breaks used to be the trendy back in the day.
Dress pants also can be regular fit or slim fit. Most are regular fit. For athletic or thin men, it’s worth shopping around for a slim fit brand.
Pleats and cuffed dressed pants generally go hand-in-hand. Pleats are the ‘pinches’ of fabric at the top of the pant that creates ripples in the pant leg vertically. Cuffed dressed pants are not really common with flat front pants.
Avoid cuffs and pleats for now… I’m sure they’ll be back in style at some point.
100% wool is the way to go. Polyester blends will wear quicker and the fabric doesn’t breathe as well. Hence, the blends are normally cheaper.
Rise is really important with dress pants, although most are just a mid-rise. Rise is the amount of room in the crotch area of the pant. Slimmer fitting pants usually have less rise, corresponding with less room near your groin.
Brooks Brothers - Dress Pants
When having the waist of the pants taken in, for any reason, make sure the tailor leaves an inch of fabric on each side allowing for change in weight (i.e. getting fat in the winter).
Same thought applies to length. The tailor should leave enough fabric to have a longer break on your pant should you want a different style.
Taking in the waist too much on the pant can completely change the structure of the pant. If a dress pant waist is shortened more than a couple of inches then the pant legs will pull in and ride up your crotch when walking (not very comfortable and doesn’t look good). Just save these pants for when you pack the pounds back on.
Brands and Price Points
Pants won’t be the most noticeable wardrobe piece, unless you are wearing a pair of awesome pants ! Macy’s carries a Ralph Lauren, Lauren brand dress pant that goes on sale for around $60.00 which is a pretty good deal. Beyond that, you’re looking at about $80-$100 for a pair of dress pants on sale from Brooks Brothers or Nordstrom (sometimes even up to $120).
Jos A Banks might be your best bet if you are looking to get a couple of pairs for your job and they fit you well.
Costco actually has some really nice Kirkland brand dress pants that are $40. Unfortunately for some, they don’t make a slimmer fit version that I have found.
***All Photos and Content By Dapper Professional