Wearing Great Pants: How to Dress Appropriately

When it comes to fashion, most men have one of two concerns: they either want to fit in and make sure they’re appropriately dressed…or they want to do the opposite and ensure that they don’t look like anyone else. But what if we told you there was a third option?

Fitting in and dressing appropriately and being a little bit fashion-forward don’t have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, if you play your cards right, you can wear great-looking, well-fitting pants that aren’t exactly what all your friends are wearing, either. Here’s our brief guide to pulling off that fashion-forward, tasteful look:  

Step One: Get the fit right.

You can get away with a heck of a lot in fashion if you get the fit right. Consider the difference between a man wearing a suit two sizes too large and a man wearing a tailored polka-dot suit. Naturally, the polka-dot suit opens itself up more readily to criticism, but when the clothes fit, everything else about the outfit looks intentional. There’s nothing intentional about clothes that don’t fit, no matter how conservative the color or the fabric may be.

So make fit a priority. Figure out your size with a brand like Vintage 1946 so you can order the same sizes online in other items and know exactly what you’re getting. And when in doubt, look at your favorite pair of pants and read the label to better understand which size looks and feels the best on you.

Step Two: Experiment with color.

You can buy a traditional pair of pants in an untraditional color. Sure, it’s one thing if you’re wearing striped pajama pants out and about…but if you wear an interesting color on a pair of Military Twill chino pants, that’s a different prospect entirely. The trick is to pick flattering and tasteful colors. Get the colors that you know your friends probably don’t own, including:

Naturally, “stone” is more conservative than the others—but when you’re the only one in your crew not wearing khaki or denim, you’ll find that it does separate you from the herd. And it provides a great canvas upon which you can add interesting accessories like colorful canvas belts.

Step Three: Put it all together.

A good rule of thumb is to wear one interesting, “out-there” item in any given outfit. It might be a colorful canvas belt, as mentioned above, worn over a conservative pair of pants. Or I might be a more interesting color like Charleston Brick with conservative shoes. The key? Balance. You want to look like you put your outfit together intentionally—and that you gave thought to the combination of colors especially.

Avoid mixing blacks with browns, going “all white,” and make sure that you don’t only opt for the traditional color combinations like navy and khaki. If you want to pull off a great pair of pants without looking like everyone else, you’re going to have to take the time when putting together an outfit that no one else will take.