Despite the fact that we have only really just breached March, the weather appears to be changing. The sun is shining, the mercury is rising and that very British tradition of wearing shorts as soon as the temperature gets above thirteen degrees is still very much with us – I even saw someone walking around with their shirt off the other day!
For everyone else however, at least those that clearly don’t need a smack, the transition from autumn/winter to spring/summer is a much more gradual process; knitwear becomes thinner, outerwear gets lighter, cloth changes weave and boots are once again relegated to the back of the wardrobe. But whilst we may lament having to store our chunky knit jumpers and snow beating hiking boots, it does provide us with an opportunity (and the space) to consider in much greater detail our wardrobe for the coming season.
We have already covered a number of spring/summer season appropriate topics: from Matt Allinson’s round up of summer shoes, to Alex Woodhall’s collection of essentials and careful consideration of patterns, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. And before we all start striping off the layers, it would be worth investigating all the options available.
For a large proportion of men, a tailored trouser probably doesn’t conjure up images any more daring than the ubiquitous chino (or simply something that isn’t a pair of jeans) – but they are much more than that.
We saw a move towards a structured, crafted cut of trouser over the recent autumn/winter season, with rise of the wool trousers (and to a certain extent cords.) In the casual sense they represented a much smarter alternative to the oft worn chino or jean and in the formal sense they became very prominent in suits and separates. However, for the coming months, we are obviously looking for something a little lighter.
Whilst the humble chino does deserve its place in our wardrobes, it has become very difficult for you to definitively mark yourself out from the crowd when wearing them, even in the boldest of shades. The tailored trouser is perfectly placed to fill this gap; retaining many of the key features of chinos while adding that formal edge that could just push your look onto its very own fashionable plain.
Not only are they the perfect replacement to chinos in weight, suitability and shape, they are also hugely versatile. It is surprisingly easy to wear a pair of tailored trousers with a simple polo a shirt or even a carefully chosen tee. The possibilities are virtually endless and to top it all off, in true capsule wardrobe style, you can just utilise your current suit trousers.
Being so versatile, easy to wear and readily available, tailored trousers are definitely a worthwhile investment and worthy of a little experimentation. It is worth mentioning that you will – regardless of what else you wear – be creating a very much formal or more refined aesthetic. However, you are still wearing them in a casual sense, so there is room for playfulness.
This will be one of my personal staple looks this summer. It is without a doubt one of the easiest and elegant ways of wearing tailored trousers; clean, simple and well cut.
With such a stripped back look, fit is everything. The shirt and trousers have to look like they are made for you, so shop around to find the clothes that fit the best – and then take them to the tailors It really is worth the extra effort getting this absolutely spot on.
Outside of the fit, this look is entirely interchangeable. Switch the white shirt for almost any plain colour you fancy (feel free to get a bit daring, perhaps a burgundy shirt with grey trousers?) and do the same for the trousers. I find it works even better when you go sockless and roll up the hem a couple of times, it makes your shoes pop and helps to bring the whole look down a formal notch or two.
For those of you looking for something a little more ‘out there’, take a leaf out of Alex Woodhall’s book and try wearing a bold patterned shirt.
Make the shirt a statement and give yourself a whole heap of colour versatility by sticking with simple grey trousers. I have always found slim fit is much more flattering, particularly with tailored trousers, as it helps to avoid unnecessary gathering of material.
If you fancy taking an even bigger step into the realms of standout fashion, give formal and casual wear a proper mix up by utilising a short sleeve shirt – you would be surprised at just how much of a difference such a small change can make.
A pair of chunky soled brogues or Derbies and a casual canvas backpack will finish of a great summery, fashion forward look with a formal twist.
Living in Brighton, Mod heritage is all around me, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be anywhere else. A pair of smart trousers, a polo and a good pair of penny loafers or desert boots is a quintessential Mod inspired look.
If you aren’t entirely comfortable going for true formal trousers, there isn’t anything wrong with taking a step back and going for more structured chino styles. These often have a slightly more washed feel, giving your softer lines and a slightly faded colour. They offer a much more casual base to work from, but it’s worth going for something with a soft pleat – just to identify your trousers from the chino clad majority.
Finish off with a pair of socks and perhaps a fine knit cardigan for when the temperature drops.
Remember I said you can use your suit trousers? Well you might as well make use of the suit as well – the concept is still the same – you have your more structured trousers but it is refined even further with the matching jacket.
With the temperature a tad unpredictable, I think it is still a bit too early to be storing your rollneck; so layer that underneath, tuck in your pocket square all dandy and Sprezzatura like and you’ve got yourself a nice alternative to the standard suit for any spring events you might have to attend.
You could even take things further, and control the level of formality, by wearing some statement shoes and staying sockless.
For the ultimate in casual use of tailored trousers, look no further than the humble tee. Using a simple white tee will immediately bring the formal nature of the trouser down to a more acceptable level and is the perfect combination for those long, hot summer days.
A pair of sandals is still something of an outside choice but it can add a quirky edge to any outfit and will almost certainly make you stand out from the sea of Toms and Havaianas that are sure to grace our pavements in the next few weeks.
Finally, keep a simple satchel with you for all your belongings – it keeps your pockets free in order to maintain the clean lines of the trousers.
Whilst you might think that tailored trousers are reserved only for the work place, they can work wonders in any spring/summer wardrobe. Their lightweight design is much more suited to the season than denim and even some chinos. Their refined and structured cut means they can easily be incorporated into looks that need more formality or used in a casual way for an afternoon down the pub. Either way they really shouldn’t be underestimated.
But let’s get your thoughts. What do you think?
Let me know in the comments below and I’ll see you all next week.
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