The Essentials List is back! I often get asked: what should I buy? What should I invest in? What shouldn’t I wear? What should I throw out? So I decided to create The Essentials List; a list of items every man should have in his wardrobe.
In today’s section, I want to discuss pants. Personally, I have a hard time finding well-fitting pants right off the rack since I have huge soccer quads and a bigger rear end. Neither of these do any good when I’m trying to fit into the latest slim silhouettes, so I have had to resort to buying straight legs and tapering them with the help of my local tailor. Get used to the idea that no one has the exact same measurements that are used to create retail sizes. So having a good relationship with your tailor is the key to sartorial success.
When it comes to the break of a pant, it all depends on the preference of the wearer. I personally don’t like any break in my bottoms as I like to keep my socks and shoes visible and interesting. This is all personal preference though, although try to keep your break to a minimum for a cleaner finish!
Now for my 6 essential pairs of pants!
Slim Black Chinos
Invest in a pair of slim black chinos with a bit of stretch. You’ll thank me later. Before I go into how many ways you can wear this amazing pant, lets first figure out what a chino is. A chino is a 100% cotton pant that comes in a variety of colours and shades. The pant was first created in the 1800s for British and French military uniforms and is great due to its ease in movement and functionality. Nowaday’s chinos are available everywhere you can think of and also come in different blends such as cotton/spandex. I know what you’re thinking right now, chinos are khakis. Well let’s clear something up: khaki is a colour, not a style of pant.
Now that we have that cleared up let me get back to why you’re going to love chinos! Black chinos are one of the only pants that are appropriate for almost anywhere. They’re casual enough that they can be worn in place of denim but clean and slick enough to be worn with a blazer, shirt, and tie. Also, as I briefly mentioned earlier, get a pair with stretch! Stretch can come from lycra, spandex, or most commonly, elastane. There doesn’t have to be much, just 2 or 3 percent is enough, but I promise you, you won’t want to take them off!
Slim Dark Selvedge Denim
There are probably only a handful a few pieces in your wardrobe that get better with age and selvedge denim is definitely one of them! Selvedge denim is a raw, untreated denim that is made entirely from the “selvedge edge”. The word “selvedge” comes from the phrase “self-edge”,which refers to the natural edge of a roll of fabric. Due to the way selvedge denim is manufactured, it is highly desirable for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the denim is made in a way that makes it unable to unravel and for this reason very tough and durable. Secondly, wearing selvedge denim is like wearing a blank canvas. Denim wearers love selvedge because over time it forms and shapes itself to your body. The jean slowly develops whiskers and fades in the area that moves the most, giving your selvedge flexibility and character. Just remember, don’t wash your selvedge denim for at least 6 months so it can fully form to your body.
When buying selvedge denim pants, buy them tight since they will stretch and give over time. Although this denim can be very stiff and uncomfortable when you first purchase a pair, with some time, the results are amazing. So are you going to take the challenge and invest or what?
Neutral Coloured Chinos
We can’t wear black chinos and blue denim every day! Besides, it’s nice to change up your outfit with a shot of colour every once in a while. That’s why it’s important to invest in some neutral colour chinos; chinos in white, beige or khaki. When starting out with chinos, try to avoid primary colors and instead go for colours that look slightly sun dyed or washed out. For example, in the winter try a bordeux or maroon as appose to a bold fire truck red and in spring, why not try a soft salmon or coral.
If you haven’t already, invest in a white, grey and khaki chino. These colours will give your wardrobe the flexibility to match pretty much anything in your closet.
Choose a bold colour or pattern that will make you stand out in a room. A good statement trouser gives your outfit just the right amount of pop and visual interest. My words of advice: don’t be afraid to invest in at least one pair. I can’t tell you the number of times my bright red chinos or camo pants caught the eye of a beautiful woman or helped break the ice in an important meeting.
Slim Grey Dress Trousers
Grey dress pants are always good to have at your disposal as they give you the option for something slightly dressier than a chino but not as formal as a suit. Most guys would say a black dress pant is a must but, in my personal opinion, a grey gives you a lot more options. With a grey dress pant, you can tie in any colour you want, literally any colour. With a black trouser, you really limit your colour combinations. One important detail that is usually overlooked is break. There should be little to no break in a slim dress pant as it will sit just on top of the shoe allowing your amazing socks and shoes to steal the show!
Forget about the extra-large pocket flaps, the studs, or the outdated cut, the washed denim I’m talking about has a much different silhouette. This washed denim is soft, has a slight fade and, most importantly, is slim throughout the leg. Your washed denim should be your go-to piece for really casual dressing and should be something you can throw on without thinking too much. Remember, there are tons of denim brands that accommodate all shapes and sizes so there is no excuse for why you shouldn’t have a well-fitting pair of washed jeans!
Part 3 of The Essentials List coming soon!