We subscribe to the ethos that pants are the true foundation of any good outfit. They are the glue that brings together a look, placed between the top half of your outfit and your all-important footwear.
In fact, trousers are so powerful they have spawned subcultures, ignited outrage, and even triggered state sanctions. Pants have come a long way from their humble origins and while there are many different pants trends and silhouettes to be considered, the best pants for men shouldn’t require an exhausting amount of research.
Below, we’ve put together a primer on the most important pant shapes in modern menswear, from pocket-heavy cargo pants to the long-mistreated likes of the wide-leg and technical. And we’ve picked looked at some of the best men’s pants trends across the fashion landscape this year.
Shop the best pants for men in 2023
The most classic of the lot, straight-leg trousers are a staple silhouette that has strong links to workwear. Worn by railroad workers and cowboys, unlike its skinny relative which will be covered later in this article, straight-leg trousers are simply a practical and comfortable option. From quintessential jeans to high fashion collabs, check out some of our favorites below.
Dormant for quite some time in menswear, we can credit the return of the wide-leg pant to two key phenomena. High fashion’s obsession with the ’70s and its wide-bottomed trousers — see Gucci and its muse Harry Styles — being one. The other is the major influence of Japan, via Yohji Yamamoto, Rei Kawakubo, Junya Watanabe, and younger labels like FACETASM or Tokyo’s Auralee and NULABEL, which favor the pantaloon wide leg — wide kneed and cropped.
First seen on the legs of the British and US military way back in the 1930s and ’40s, the cargo has ridden a pretty consistent wave of reappropriation since they were picked up by hip-hop artists and rave-goers in the ’90s. Modern menswear still can’t put them down — and it’s probably the fact they’re so damn functional that’s to blame. Good for carrying snacks and other vital essentials.
Cigarette pants, skinny jeans, drainpipes — whatever you call them, you’ve likely got an opinion on this silhouette. Undoubtedly the world’s most divisive pant shape, the skinny trouser has been worn by The Beatles and banned in North Korea by Kim Jong-un. Even so, a new generation of artists who dip into punk and goth styles, such as Playboi Carti and Lancey Foux, still defy supreme style leaders.
A trouser style that has come to prominence along with the rise of gorpcore, wearing a pair of waterproof, pocket-heavy technical trousers is no longer just a practical decision but a style-based one. Sure, the pairs we picked below might not be the best suited for a hike, but they are high fashion’s take on the gorp phenomenon.
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