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A Guideline for Dress and Casual Pants
When shopping for pants to enhance your business or casual attire, it is important to understand the differences between dress pants and casual pants. We hope the following information will help you decide which pant is right for you.
Fitting the Occasion
When attending a business or semi-formal occasion, you will want to wear dress pants or a suit. Dress pants are more versatile than you may think. For a dressy look, match your dress pants with a blazer, dress shirt and tie. As cooler weather approaches, you can pair dress pants with a sweater vest layered over a dress shirt and tie.
Casual pants play more of an everyday role and tend to be the go-to option for business casual and weekend wear. Khakis are the quintessential pant for both business and weekend casual. For a classic business casual look, pair khakis with a sportshirt, topped off with a sportcoat.
Weekend casual allows for a range of options including khakis, corduroys and denim. Casual pants matched with a short or long-sleeve polo and a nice pair of shoes will deliver a relaxed, yet polished appearance.
Dressing appropriately for the season requires knowledge of commonly used fabrics and their respective properties. Wool is currently the most popular pant fabric, available in light or heavyweight. Men interested in a more elegant version of wool should consider gabardine. This durable fabric has a smoother feel than traditional wool and offers classic versatility for any wardrobe. A popular alternative to wool is cotton and it's available in a variety of weaves such as corduroy, twill or tencel. Seersucker is gaining fashion popularity and will give you a distinct look during the warmer seasons/climates. Performance fabrics, including wrinkle and stain resistance, are great year-round options with incredible durability. Silk, while prone to wrinkling, is perhaps the most luxurious of the all the options.
Fit and Sizing
A great pair of pants will compliment your overall look. Avoid loose or excessive fabric and ensure the material does not bunch around the thighs. When you find a pair of pants that fit well, make sure you have enough room for comfortable movement. However, too much room will result in the fabric ballooning around the legs and crotch.
Dress and casual pants are available in standard and tailored styles. Tailored Fit pants offer a slightly closer-fitting silhouette, which provides a modern look. Standard fit pants are slightly roomier and offer more flexibility/comfort.
Height is a big factor in choosing the right pants, but this goes beyond the pant's length. Understanding measurements like "rise" (the distance between the waist and the crotch of the pants) will help you select the most comfortable pants available. This is especially true when shopping online without the benefit of being able to try on the pants before you make the purchase. Rise is identified by regular, short and long. The taller you are the longer your rise will need to be.
Pleated front pants are perhaps the most common you'll see being worn today. Traditional pleated pants should be cuffed as this will weigh down the pleats and make the crease more defined. Pleated pants offer additional room and comfort.
Plain or flat-front pants have become more popular over the years. While pleats are more of a timeless look, plain front pants are widely considered modern and stylish. This style is especially beneficial for men with a slimmer build.
After purchasing dress or casual pants you may wish to have the waist, cuffs or hems adjusted for a better fit. Cuffs are only necessary if you are wearing pleated pants. Otherwise, it is a matter of personal style. If you are a shorter gentleman you will want to avoid cuffs and go with a look that makes your legs appear longer. Having cuffs removed from a pair of pants is not advised. This alteration will significantly change the look of the pants.
Permanent crease, also known as a Traveler's Crease, is another popular alteration. A Traveler's Crease will stay sharp and defined through washing, rough weather and dry cleaning.
The differences between dress and casual pants are subtle, but each has their purpose. If you are attending a business function or a formal ceremony, dress pants will be your garment of choice. Casual pants are appropriate for when you wish to dress down or desire a comfortable relaxed look. Choosing the right fabric, style, and fit will make a huge difference in your appearance and most importantly, your comfort.