Men’s Fashion Mistakes: Five Faux Pas Men Make with Trousers

Is it enough to buy a high-quality pair of trousers and call it a day? Not if you want to present your fashionable side to the world. Here are the mistakes you’ll want to avoid if you want to look your best.

Mistaking Comfortable for Proper Fit

We’re not going to tell you that a proper fit is uncomfortable. But many men are used to their clothes fitting a size bigger than they really need to be. This skews your perception of what clothes really “fit,” leading to outfits that can look disheveled and baggy.

Too tight isn’t comfortable, either, which is why you should aim for “snug, with some give.” If you remember our guide on buying pants that fit, then you’ll see just how easy it is to find trousers that meet this criteria. Don’t go a size up or a size down. Instead, get used to the comfort of looking and feeling good.

Overdressing and Underdressing

You might know all there is to know about over/unders with football, but overdressing and underdressing are completely different stories. While overdressing will never seem quite as inappropriate as underdressing, both should be avoided for the man with supreme fashion sense.

To build an outfit that suits the occasion, simply:

  • Stick to three basic levels. Super-casual, business-casual, and formal. Once you get a sense of the occasion, building your outfit will fall seamlessly into place.
  • Err on the side of overdressing. It’s usually better to overdress a little than underdress, so don’t be afraid to be the only guy at the barbecue wearing a pair of flat front khakis rather than jeans.

Cargo Pants

Cargo pants might be convenient with all that pocket space, but that doesn’t mean they’re occasion-appropriate. They fall under “super-casual” in the categories listed above, which means they’re generally unfit for anything except lounging around the house. Don’t blame us. We didn’t make the style rules.

Same goes for cargo shorts. This isn’t to say that all shorts are unwelcome. Just go for a modern, sleek look with minimal pocketing: a pair of basic khaki shorts will do the trick.

Failing to Match Trousers with Shoes

Business-casual khakis and gym sneakers? Jeans and oxford shoes? Brown slacks and black tennis shoes? These are just a few examples of the most incongruous possible combinations. Believe us, there are many more.

You should match your shoes, like your trousers, to the occasion. But you should also pay attention to basic color matching. Here are some good combinations to keep in mind:

  • Black shoes, navy trousers
  • Brown shoes, green trousers
  • Brown shoes, navy trousers
  • Black shoes, black trousers (formal)

For a more in-depth guide to specific color pairings, refer to

Adhering Rigorously to Style Rules

You’ve heard them all before. Always match your belt to your shoes. Always wear a belt if you tuck in your shirt. And while these guidelines are great rules of thumb to help you fashion new outfits, they’re not necessarily rigid or set in stone.

Once you get the basics of putting an outfit together, don’t be afraid to make a few of your own rules. One thing’s for sure though. It’s hard to go wrong with a high quality pair of men’s trousers.