8 Key Summer Trouser Styles (And How To Wear Them)

Legwear is stressful at this time of year. Can you get away with shorts at the office? Can you get away with shorts at all? And, if the answer is no and you decide to retreat to the psychological comfort of your trustiest trousers, don’t bet on any physical comfort to go with it. Have you ever worn slim black jeans when it’s 30 degrees outside? It’s grim.

So what makes for a good pair summer trousers? It isn’t just a question of comfort (or, err, moisture). The right pair should flatter you whatever the weather and fit, fabric and style all play a part. So we’ve rounded up the best styles of trousers to step into until autumn comes and you can live in denim for another six months.

Wide-Leg Trousers

Arket

Arket

If there’s one thing that can be learnt from binge-watching martial arts films, it’s that the guy in the wide-leg trousers always wins. And while we’re not suggesting you go all Crouching Tiger, Hidden Drop Crotch on your wardrobe, there are few better times to become a master of looser shapes than in the height of summer.

Aside from the added aeration (bye bye, skinny jean swamp crotch), generously cut trousers have the benefit of being comfortable and suited to a wide range of body shapes, provided some thought goes into their styling.

To look put-together and thrown-together at the same time, wear capacious kecks with a top tucked or half-tucked in. Wether it’s a T-shirt, Cuban collar shirt or summer knitwear, this small styling hack will add some shape to your waist and stop the whole look from looking like a sack of shiitake.

– Luke Todd, deputy editor

Pleated Trousers

Zara

Zara

Pleated trousers returned to popularity a few years ago with the mid-century clothing revival, and are now a permanent fixture with many of the coolest menswear brands, alongside knitted polos and Cuban collar shirts.

They tend to sit slightly higher on the waist, which is necessary for the pleats to hang cleanly – the idea being that they offer more room in the thigh. As such, pleated trousers are often wide-legged, so look for a pair with a tapered leg or take the to your local alterations tailor.

A tapered hem will give them a more contemporary feel and means you can wear them over a pair of slick trainers for a welcome mix of formal and casual style. Pair the look with an oversized polo shirt and classic sunglasses and you’re good to go.

– Charlie Thomas, senior editor

Patterned Trousers

Zara

Zara

Patterned trousers get you noticed, that much isn’t up for debate. For the right reasons, though? That’s a different matter altogether. Whether you choose check, stripes or camouflage, statement leg coverers can instantly deliver you from the tantalising clutches of the sad and samey beige chino crew.

Being one of those ‘bold looks’ that you’re probably instinctively terrified of, you’ll need to exercise a dollop styling savvy when getting dressed. Luckily, we’re in the business of doling that out, so the number one rule to abide by is to keep things simple elsewhere. Whichever pattern you pick, it’s block colour everywhere else. No ifs, no buts.

In practice, that means that a pair of patterned trousers will sit handsomely with a cream or black polo shirt, black sandals or white minimal sneakers and some classic shades. The aim is to make people almost forget that you’re wearing them, almost.

– Luke Sampson, associate editor

Summer-Ready Denim

River Island

River Island

The jury may be out on whether lighter colours do indeed reflect heat rather than absorb it. But even if that is just a mere tale conjured up by old wives and pseudo-fashion scientists, one thing is for certain: light wash jeans never fail to look good during the warmer months.

Of course, summer-ready jeans go beyond their shade. To avoid overheating, it’s also wise to opt for a lighter weight denim (ideally below 12oz, instead of the standard 15oz), or on the high street look for styles made from organic cotton, which is generally more breathable.

To add balance to your look, contrast the light wash with a darker top half but keep the retro vibes going with a pair of ’90s-tinged sneakers below, shown off with a cheeky pin roll.

– Richard Jones, staff writer

Tailored Trousers

Reiss

Reiss

There’s a good case to be made for wearing tailored trousers all summer long. For starters, if you’re going to any weddings, you may have bought a summer-weight suit, so get the maximum wear from the trousers. Second, unlike jeans or chinos, tailored trousers come in a blessedly wide range of summer-friendly fabrics. Stop slow-roasting your nether regions in heavy wool or poly blends and try some linen, linen-cotton blends or seersucker. It will change your life.

For styling, keep it simple and dress the trousers down on those days you’re not toasting a Mr and Mrs. Wear a short-sleeve shirt, tucked or untucked, and if the trousers are plain (you’ll get more wear if they are), try a light print or pattern. Slip a vest underneath and loosen a couple of extra buttons for ’50s vibes and if it’s really sweltering, eschew the loafers for some smart sandals. The Romans knew what they were doing.

– Ian Taylor, editor-in-chief

Chinos

Mango Man

Mango Man

There comes a point, usually sometime in July, when it becomes too warm to wear a full suit. Especially if what’s hanging in your wardrobe is more suited to the cooler months. Keep control of your internal thermostat by subbing in a pair of stone-coloured chinos, which will give your usually formal some breathing room.

For more casual looks, channel the seaside with a striped Breton tee. When day inevitably turns to nice, throw a navy chore jacket over the top with a pair of crisp white sneakers for a look that’s still casual but uniform. Summer? Sorted.

Cropped Trousers

Zara

Zara

It’s not hard to remember a time — much of the 1990s, actually — when ‘ankle swingers’ fell under the same cripplingly uncool umbrella as carrying a backpack on both shoulders or having your mum cut your hair.

These days, however, what’s cooler than being cool? Being uncool, of course. Because along with just about everything else from the decade style seemingly forgot (and then remembered), cropped trousers are having a moment in menswear.

A heightened hem will give the illusion of height, so guys at the beanpole end of the scale should approach with caution, but for everyone else (or lanky guys who simply DGAF) roll your existing trousers, have a tailor take them up or let a brand do the legwork for you.

– Luke Todd, deputy editor

– Richard Jones, staff writer

Cargo Trousers

Brunello Cucinelli

Brunello Cucinelli

After making it big in the ‘90s, seen on the legs of anyone with, well, legs, cargo trousers had a massive fall from grace. The wait in sartorial Siberia, however, is now over.

No longer a distant, cringe-inducing memory, these practical trousers have been given a slimmed-down cut (excluding the retro pockets that could fit small children in), meaning you can nod to the utility trend without going full deer hunter.

As with any once-troublesome trews, wearing cargo trousers requires some subtly. We’re all for a pattern (camouflage, for example, works great here) but go for a more subdued version. Up top, you can rock a streetwear-inspired oversized T-shirt, but look for something that’s all about cut and fabric rather than a wearable billboard for the latest hype brand. With your shoes, you’ll want to avoid anything too smart, so try luxury suede slip-ons for a sophisticated look that’ll stay on the right side of history.

– Luke Sampson, associate editor

via fashionbeans

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