"I have nothing to wear.”
Admit it, men: although you like to tease other people with full closets for uttering this very cliche, you’ve occasionally muttered the exact same thing to yourself—oftentimes, when looking at your own full closet.
The truth is, “I have nothing to wear” is usually code for: “I don’t see anything I want to wear.” What’s more, the complaint tends to mean that you don’t have enough casual items in your wardrobe. You’re looking for versatile yet dressy pants, for example, and when you look in your dresser, you don’t see them.
Let’s fix that.
Know What Makes “Casual” Pants Casual
Although most men think of jeans as casual pants, the truth is that jeans aren’t as dressy as you’d like to think. Jeans might work for a casual trip to the grocery store…but if you’re headed to an office party and you want to look sharp, they’re not always going to pass muster.
Think about “casual” the way your boss might think about casual: office—appropriate, yet comfortable enough to wear out on the town. Formal enough to go somewhere glitzy and glamorous, yet not so stuffy that you can’t wear them at an outdoors barbecue.
If that seems like a tall order for any pair of trousers to accomplish, let’s consider an example. Better yet, let’s consider three:
Inspiration: the 8 Wale Luxury Corduroy Flat Front pant.
Corduroy is warm, comfortable, and perfect for the chilly temperatures of fall and winter. It’s a little more “rustic” than most casual pants, but that’s a good thing when the temperature drops—just pair it with a sharp belt and a button-down shirt and you’ll be office-ready in no time. Or pair them with a crewneck sweater for a dinner party. The truth is, it’s hard to go wrong with corduroy when the temperature drops—and that versatility is the key difference between ordinary and casual. These pants are the latter.
Inspiration: Basic Khakis, Flat Front.
Khaki pants, also called chinos, are the perfect casual item. You can dress them up with a navy blazer or dress them down with a crewneck sweatshirt and you won’t look out of place in either scenario. Make sure to stick with the flat front for a more casual look; for a dressier look, opt for pleated.
Inspiration: Dress Denim, Flat Front.
Yeah, we might have bad-talked the versatility of denim earlier on, but that’s because we had an ace up our sleeves. Consider dress denim as the result of a marriage between denim and dress pants; they look a little like denim but give off the aura of a touch more formality. That gets us into “casual” mode pretty quickly, particularly if you pair these pants with a brown belt, a button-down shirt, and a smart pair of shoes like desert boots.
Dressing “casually” doesn’t have to mean looking sloppy; if you wear the right pants and pair them with the right top, you can look like you fit in just about anywhere short of a wedding. If that’s not the definition of men’s casual pants, we don’t know what is.