Updated: Sep 15, 2021
In the olden days, men would just normally be wearing loose-fitting slacks to work. It didn’t matter if the cut is flattering -- anything that is meant for work are meant to be fuss-free with no frills. Today, there are more and more fashionable trousers options for men to wear to work. You can pick and choose between various fabrics and feels, as well as cuttings and lengths to flatter your individual shape. Check out these trousers options that will take you from the office, well into after-work drinks:
1. Wool trousers
Granted that they are a little too warm for the Singapore weather, wool trousers are nonetheless perfect both for styling with other tailored separates or smartening a casual getup. Wool trousers have been a mainstay amongst industry insiders for years -- and their popularity isn’t showing any signs of waning.
While you’ll often see them dressed down with a pair of sneakers by arbiters of cool hanging outside loft offices leisurely puffing on roll-ups, they work just as well-styled in a more traditional way. For inspiration, check out Pitti Uomo where they’re often grounded with a pair of brogues, Derbies or double monks.
2. Twill Chinos
A good piece of workwear puts in a shift if you want to assert your old-school masculine credentials. Cut from heavyweight cotton, woven to create a surface comprising diagonal parallel ridges, twill is a traditional material that, if invested in, will give excellent cost-per-wear calculations thanks to its hardy nature.
Plus, every scuff on a pair of twill chinos tells a story. In twill, the beleaguered chino also breaks out of the realm of ‘Ibiza lads on tour’ into an altogether more grown-up sense of place and tradition. The style is still, strictly speaking, a casual trouser so wear them with an easy-going pair of shoes, a t-shirt or piece of knitwear and top with an overshirt or denim jacket for an effortlessly cool off-duty look.
3. Linen Trousers
Perhaps popularised by European tourists on a beach vacation, linen trousers are as comfortable and smart-casual as they come. Gone are the shapeless cuts, replaced by tapered, modern leg-lines that flatter every body shape. And linen blends make them a lot more practical, less prone to impossible creases -- while still being as breezy as ever. Try them as part of a linen suit for a dapper old-timer vibe, but the more modern way to wear them is cropped, with sneakers and a plain t-shirt.
4. Drawstring Trousers
Until recently, drawstrings and elasticated waistbands were confined to sportswear and generally considered to be a sign that you didn’t care. That’s stupid, of course. What a revelation it’s been to sit down for a large plate of pasta and not feel like your trousers might slice you in half by the meal’s end.
These days, drawstring trousers come tailored and in a lot more materials than jersey. Wool and linen offer the best options at the smarter end of the spectrum. Once you’ve felt how comfortable your dressed-up wardrobe can be, you’ll never go back.
5. Cropped Trousers
Cropped trousers are a great way to spice up what can be a dowdy formal outfit. Disclaimer: by cropped trousers, we mean shorter than your average, displaying a sliver of ankle or sock, not to be mistaken with pantaloons.
In addition to giving your footwear a platform to shine, a precise crop accentuates the line of your trews. However, getting the length right is also crucial. Unless they fit perfectly off-the-peg, go to a tailor and take their advice, but if you’re feeling braver, anything up to three or four inches above the ankle is a safe bet.
Cropped trousers lend themselves well to both formal and off-duty settings. Cropped chinos in a sand colour will work well with a simple white shirt, premium suede bomber and white sports-luxe trainers on the weekend. Meanwhile, for more formal occasions, black cropped trousers worn with a grey blazer, charcoal roll neck and oxblood dress shoes is ideal for a relaxed business-casual office.
6. Cargo Pants
The key to getting cargo trousers right is ensuring that they hit the middle ground between slim and spacious, so think tailored. Sure, you can technically fill their big pockets to the brim, but in this case clean lines trump practicality, so leave them empty.
Standard-issue khaki green pairs well with just about anything in navy so consider an overshirt (another workwear workhorse) for a weekend look that grafts. Meanwhile, if light layers aren’t an option, a pair of contemporary black cargo trousers can be recruited alongside a white Oxford shirt, grey sweatshirt, navy overcoat for a look that passes inspection.
7. High-Waisted Trousers
Despite the mental image they conjure, high-waisted trousers needn’t necessarily look nerdy (think Steve Urkel in ‘Family Matters’). The key to hitting the sweet spot lies in nailing the length and the cut. If you’re going for a wide-leg style a cropped fit ensures you’re not drowning in fabric. Alternatively, if baring your ankles isn’t your thing, a tapered cut will allow the leg openings of the trousers to sit nicely with your chosen footwear.
High-waisted trousers may be tailoring technically speaking, but they’re still super relaxed and the rest of your outfit should follow ‘suit’. Up top, opt for either a fitted polo or a loose t-shirt, tucked into the waistband. You can layer this with a matching unstructured jacket and even a wool overcoat when the mercury plummets. Footwear wise, try mixing things up a bit with a canvas high-top or a suede desert boot.
Lightweight and comfortable, joggers have an athletic appearance and taper in at the leg. Most also tend to have an elastic or drawstring waist and elastic at the ankles. Today, thanks to the booming trends of athleisure and sports luxe, joggers have become a key wardrobe essential. No longer seeming out of place or cheap, joggers are now a cool and contemporary item when styled correctly. While you can still buy the basic sweatpants-style joggers, there are also many more sophisticated and slimline styles available. To make joggers work for the office, dress them up with blazer or a dress shirt. Alternatively, pick a pair with a different fabric, such as twill.
9. Corduroy trousers
With its classic and conservative vibe, corduroy is one of the most underutilised materials in men’s style. If worn correctly, the corduroy pants can make for an indispensable pair of trousers. There’s a 1970s revival going on in menswear, too, so there’s never been a better time to cover your legs in the cord.