Fashion

Denim Alternatives

March 5, 2014

There comes a time in every man’s life when he must graduate from jeans and broaden his horizons with a mélange of trousers. This is not to suggest that you should give up jeans altogether, they are a beloved classic and a staple in every man’s wardrobe. But the time comes, usually after collegiate life, when the same three pairs of jeans won’t cut it on a daily basis. Whether you’ve put your degree to good use in getting hired at a business-casual company or you simply need to dress it up for the Catalina Wine Mixer, you’ll need to broaden your pants collection beyond denim. Afraid to face these uncharted waters? You’re not alone. Below are some trouser options to get the ball rolling in this new phase of your life.

Chinos

Slim-fitting chinos are a must-have when upping your trouser game. You can wear them with a cardigan or blazer, and they always add a bit of effortless class. A high-rise, cuffed hem is definitely the look these days, and you can get cotton or linen Chinos to suit your fancy. Show a little ankle and slip on some sandals for a beach outing. Or wear some leather Oxford shoes for the 9 to 5. You can find Chinos at almost any menswear store, but Bonobos and J. Crew carry some quality, affordable styles. If you do invest in some high-rise chinos, be sure that you are outfitted with some adequately fancy socks. You can go bare ankle, but the rolled cuff also presents an opportunity to add a little dash of color or a cool pattern to round out your outfit. Colorful socks can add a personal edge to make you stand out from the crowd.  

Cargos

These are not the baggy, oversized cargo pants of the 90s. Cargos have been reclaimed from the Birdwatchers of the world and have found their place on the runways of the world’s top fashion shows. Thanks to the efforts of designers like Michael Bastian, the cargos of today offer a slimmer, more tailored fit that allows versatility to match any outfit. You can wear slim cargos with a tailored vest or blazer for an upscale urban look, or rock them with some boots and an Oxford shirt for you Tinder date. They come in a variety of colors from black to olive green to khaki, so add some pairs that will improve your pants color palette. Keep in mind, the cargo pockets may be there, but they’re for show. Please don’t stuff them full of goods, or people will start to wonder what’s clanking around in your pants. Ralph Lauren, Michael Bastian, and Dockers all carry cargo pants, and you would be wise to snatch a pair soon.

Khakis

Every guy has owned a pair of khakis in his lifetime. Whether they were part of your Sunday School outfit or a Christmas gift from your aunt, they probably sat in the back of your closet and were always bypassed in favor of jeans. That doesn’t have to be the case anymore, as khakis can provide a comfortable, stylish option when jeans don’t suffice. One rule: please do not wear pleated khakis. Go flat front, slim or straight fit. This will provide a classy silhouette that prevents you looking dorky. Pair this with a nice sweater and some Jack Purcell shoes, and you’ll have a casually classy look that any girl would be proud to bring home to her parents. This probably doesn’t need to be said, but don’t wear more than one khaki-colored item at a time or you’ll look like you’re leading a Safari expedition. 

Please feel free to contact Ella Gray at ella.l.gray@gmail.com with any questions.

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