Headed to the office this summer? You’re not alone. And if you’re wondering what to wear to the office every day to keep dressing well without repeating the same outfit day in and day out…well, you’re not alone there, either. Fortunately, you don’t have to break the bank for a new pair of pants for each weekday. If you do it right, you can squeeze maximum potential out of just two work essentials this summer. Here’s what you’ll need.
#1: A Casual, Versatile Pair of Khakis
First, you’ll need a pair of pants that can handle a range of environments, from business casual to business smart. Here’s what you should look for in your khakis:
- They should be comfortable. The smallest-known variable that makes versatility truly versatile? How often you can actually wear it. If your khakis aren’t comfortable, you’re not going to wear them that often—you’ll treat them like dress pants, only brought out for the most extravagant occasions. That’s not what a good pair of casual khakis is about. Look for cotton or cotton blends in your khakis to ensure maximum comfort and
- They should be flat front. We offer both flat front and pleated options here at Berle, but when it comes to a casual look—the look you’ll want to have when standing around a backyard barbecue, for example—flat front is the way to go. It’s minimal and it’s sleek. And it’s easier to move around in, which is essential if you’re wearing a pair of casual trousers.
- The color should play well with others. It’s good to have a lighter khaki color for maximum versatility—in the summer, you can pair this with other light colors and in spring and autumn you can contrast it with more earth tones, and it will never miss a beat. Navy is another option here simply because it’s such a versatile color that pairs well with just about anything on the visible spectrum.
We went digging through our own inventory and selected these Charleston Khakis Cotton/Tancel Flat Front. They meet all of the criteria—though for the summer, you’ll definitely want to opt for “stone” over “black” for your trouser color.
#2: A Tailored, Pleated Pair of Dress Pants
You’ll also occasionally have to dress up, which means you’ll need a contrasting pair of pants that’s more meeting-appropriate:
- They should be pleated. Why pleated: pleating gives your silhouette a tighter look while sitting down, which is what you tend to do in “dressier” situations from family baptisms to board room meetings. A lot of the time, the less casual events of your life come while sitting down, which is why pleating is so important for maximum comfort and an effective silhouette.
- A range of materials is just fine. Cotton, wool, polyester—when it comes to dress pants, you can afford to be a little less discerning about comfort and more conscious about the ultimate look and texture of your dress pants. This isn’t to say that dress pants should be uncomfortable. They should simply be well-constructed. Our recommendation below is a wool selection that’s no less comfortable than a cotton option.
Our recommendation: Super 100s Gabardine Pleated. Yes, they’re wool, which might not sound like “summer job” material—but generally, if you’re wearing these, you’re headed somewhere indoors. And well-constructed wool can be surprisingly light even in the summertime.
The trick? Combine these two pants with a few different shirts and blazers and you’ll have enough to wear all summer long.