In the world of go-to, no-fail garments, perhaps nothing is more indispensable than a pair of men's casual pants. Think about it: They can be worn just about anywhere, they're available in numerous styles and they can even look dressy in some circumstances. You can't go wrong with a pair of these versatile pants.
The Art of Casual
Going casual is something of a fine art. Though it's quite easy to throw on a T-shirt and slip into a pair of baggy shorts, that look doesn't suit every situation. On the other hand, a pair of casual pants can transition nicely from the workday to a relaxed evening date. They are just as practical wear on a shopping excursion as they are to a meeting.
Of course, what you wear with those pants can make a huge difference. You'll need to style them right if you want to pull them off in a more refined setting. The first order of business, though, is choosing the right pair of pants!
Styles of Men's Casual Pants
Just like just about every other piece of clothing in the world, there are innumerable styles of men's casual pants. Truthfully, if they aren't jeans or dress pants, they can almost all be described as casual. A crisp pair of trousers can even be considered casual. Styles include:
- Utility pants: Ideal for the active male, the utility, or cargo, pant is typically slightly baggy, with a few pockets to hold outdoor essentials. Some styles even offer protection from harmful ultraviolet rays and may be water repellent, too.
- Lounge pants: They tend to resemble pajamas, and with good reason - these are definitely the types of pants you could potentially wear to bed! Expect to find drawstring or elasticized waists, loose fits and cotton blends, usually in a range of colors and prints. Avoid the temptation to wear these out and about. There are other loose, casual pants better suited for that purpose!
- Cotton trousers: These are probably your best bet if you're interested in wearing casual pants to a more formal affair. Don't think they'll pass muster at a black tie event (not a chance), but they will work nicely at dinner meetings and evening events that might require a more pulled together - yet not necessarily swanky or polished - appearance. Opt for black or a dark brown for best results.
- Linen pants: Cool, loose, lightweight…linen pants are ideal for just about any easygoing summer day. Pair them with a breezy top or a fitted T-shirt for a look that says you're ready for the beach - even if you're only hanging out in your hometown.
- Jogging pants: By virtue of their name, you can probably figure out what these are best used for! Though jogging pants (or "joggers") are traditionally worn while working out, they can be worn for a quick errand run, too. They're better suited for that purpose than, say, a pair of lounge pants. Track pants also fall under this label.
- Golf pants: Stay stylish on the links with a pair of pressed golf pants. They're distinctly more refined in cut and appearance than just about any other type of casual pant, and look perfect paired with a polo shirt.
- Khaki pants: Essentially the ultimate casual pant, a baggy pair of khakis does the job nicely in almost any situation. Try not to go too baggy, though - you want to look relaxed, not sloppy. Cinch your pants with a belt and loosely tuck in a top. For a much more casual approach, just throw on a T-shirt of your choice and slip into a pair of well-worn sneakers.
- Sweatpants: A pair of ubiquitous sweatpants is easily a favorite of college students the world over. Let's face it, though: Even the most casual of casual pants is still dressier than a pair of sweatpants. Therein lies their inherent beauty, though - sometimes all you need is extreme comfort. You'll find it in sweats and a loose T-shirt.
Where to Shop
Men's casual pants are available just about anywhere menswear is sold. If your budget is limited, visit bargain stores like Marshalls, Loehmann's and Filene's Basement for decent selections at reasonable price points. Department stores may offer a bit more variety across the board, but expect to pay a bit more there.