Cold-Weather Trouser Alternatives

It’s safe to say that autumn has finally arrived in the UK. Sure, it may have taken a little longer than expected, but all hopes of an Indian summer have well and truly disappeared over the last week. And with the onset of colder weather comes a whole new set of sartorial situations that need to be assessed, addressed and amended.

Chief among these is the issue of what trousers to wear. As pointed out last week on FashionBeans, the majority of men continue to neglect their legwear collection, prioritising that new must-have shirt/blazer/jacket over a pair of trusty trousers, yet it’s imperative you have the right options at your disposal for when temperatures drop.

After all, during spring/summer a man’s options for his bottom half are pretty simple/limited: denim jeans, lightweight chinos or shorts. If the occasion calls for it, you may even require a pair of trousers made from a seasonally-appropriate material like madras, linen or seersucker.

Winter, on the other hand, is a completely different ball game. Although jeans and chinos are still perfectly acceptable, there are now a wealth of cold-weather choices available to the modern gent that are designed to keep you warm and looking stylish.

With that in mind, we’ve decided to bring you a rundown of five alternative trousers styles for AW14 that you may have yet to consider, while offering some ideas on how to wear them.

As always, we’re assuming that you’ve already built a solid capsule wardrobe full of simple, versatile and classic pieces that will benefit from the addition of these items.

So let’s get to it, shall we?

1. Moleskin Chinos

Underrated and underappreciated by the majority of men, these are arguably the ultimate winter trousers.

Moleskin is a heavy duty, durable cotton fabric that has been woven and then sheared soft and short on one side. Renowned for their durability and softness, ensuring comfort in colder climes, some moleskin trousers are woven so densely that they are essentially windproof, making them ideal for the depths of winter and brisk autumn mornings.

They traditionally come in a chino style in earthy tones such as olive, brown and beige – perfect for nailing this season’s military aesthetic – and can be paired with absolutely anything under the sun.

For instance, try combining a slim olive pair with a grey tweed jacket and tan brogues for a heritage-inspired look that oozes British charm. Alternatively, if you want something more contemporary, why not combine your brown moleskins with a dark green military overcoat for an on-trend and masculine everyday look?

Just think of them as more winter-appropriate chinos. Flannel plaid shirts, cord jackets, Oxford cloth button-downs, shawl neck cardigans, crew neck sweaters, military boots and penny loafers are just a few of the pieces that look great combined with moleskins.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Moleskin Trousers Autumn/Winter Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

avva aw14henry cottons aw14digel aw13armani collezioni aw14scapa aw14digel aw14brunello cucinelli aw14simons aw14florentino aw14
Key Pieces
  • Blue Harbour New Pure Cotton Flat Front Moleskin ChinosBlue Harbour New Pure Cotton Flat Front Moleskin Chinos
  • Burgundy Moleskin Classic Fit 5 Pocket TrouserBurgundy Moleskin Classic Fit 5 Pocket Trouser
  • Blue Harbour Moleskin TrousersBlue Harbour Moleskin Trousers
  • Austin Reed Viyella Neutral Moleskin TrousersAustin Reed Viyella Neutral Moleskin Trousers
  • Austin Reed Viyella Navy Moleskin TrousersAustin Reed Viyella Navy Moleskin Trousers
  • Reiss Barrington Moleskin Trousers StoneReiss Barrington Moleskin Trousers Stone
  • Reiss Barrington Moleskin Trousers BlackReiss Barrington Moleskin Trousers Black
  • John Lewis Moleskin Trousers NaturalJohn Lewis Moleskin Trousers Natural
  • Incotex Slim-fit Moleskin TrousersIncotex Slim-fit Moleskin Trousers
2. Cargo Trousers

Not to be confused with cargo shorts, which are never OK. Cargo trousers have been making something of a comeback over the last couple of years, largely thanks to Michael Bastian and his collaborations with Gant.

But if you ask us, they’ve never really been gone. The trick is to make sure you pick a pair of cargos that are simple and streamlined – that includes everything from the cut to the size and number of pockets. One or two slim pockets around the thigh area is all you need, and remember to only use them to hold small items such as tickets or card holders. You want to avoid the bulging cargo pocket look at all times.

They’re now available at every price point and in every colour imaginable, but if you’re going to invest in just one pair then we would go for the classic olive version. Not only is this style as timeless as you’re going to get, but shades of military green just happen to be trending this year too. Win win.

Make sure to pair them with similar worker wear-inspired pieces such as heavy duty denim shirts, Henley tops, corduroy overshirts and aviator/bomber jackets. Red buffalo plaid also combines extremely well with the colour green and is currently experiencing a renaissance after being applied to everything from flannel shirts to quilted shackets on the AW14 runways.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Slim-cut Cargo Trousers Autumn/Winter Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

he by mango aw14Baldessarini aw14tommy hilfiger tailored aw14he by mango winter 2014ti for men aw14florentino aw14florentino aw14armani collezioni aw14massimo dutti nyc 5th avenue aw14
Key Pieces
  • Selected Slim Fit Cargo TrousersSelected Slim Fit Cargo Trousers
  • J. Crew Slim Garment-dyed Cargo PantJ. Crew Slim Garment-dyed Cargo Pant
  • He By Mango Garment-dyed Cargo TrousersHe By Mango Garment-dyed Cargo Trousers
  • He By Mango Garment-dyed Cargo TrousersHe By Mango Garment-dyed Cargo Trousers
  • Incotex Slim-fit Moleskin Cargo TrousersIncotex Slim-fit Moleskin Cargo Trousers
  • Incotex Cotton And Linen-blend Slim-fit Cargo TrousersIncotex Cotton And Linen-blend Slim-fit Cargo Trousers
  • M&s Collection Pure Cotton Utility Cargo TrousersM&s Collection Pure Cotton Utility Cargo Trousers
  • Uniqlo Men Slim Fit Cargo TrousersUniqlo Men Slim Fit Cargo Trousers
  • Stone Island Tapered-leg Cargo Pants 214525Stone Island Tapered-leg Cargo Pants 214525
3. Corduroys

No longer associated with geography teachers and university professors, corduroy is now sought-after by stylish gentleman the world over due to its durability, versatility and insulating qualities.

As mentioned in our essential autumn/winter fabrics guide, you should be looking for ‘needlecord’ or ‘pincord’ (16+ wale count) designs if you desire a smarter, more contemporary aesthetic, or standard/wider wale trousers for those that prioritise practicality and comfort.

Again, they come in a myriad of different hues, but why not use them as an opportunity to inject some colour into your outfit? Opt for a pair in rich autumnal shade such as burgundy, mustard or sunburnt orange and use them to breathe life into any of your current off-duty ensembles.

Just remember to keep the rest of your outfit neutral to help anchor the look and let the trousers do the talking. Team them with other casual pieces like chambray shirts, lambswool jumpers, denim jackets and deserts boots for the best effect.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Corduroy Trousers Autumn/Winter Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

simons aw14scapa aw14Several aw14massimo dutti october 2014john lewis aw14unknowntommy hilfiger sportswear aw14lbm 1911 aw13m&s best of british aw14m&s aw13massimo dutti nyc 5th avenue aw14
Key Pieces
  • Topman Navy Corduroy Ultra Skinny TrousersTopman Navy Corduroy Ultra Skinny Trousers
  • Asos Slim Fit Smart Trousers In CordAsos Slim Fit Smart Trousers In Cord
  • Gap Tailored Cord Pant Slim FitGap Tailored Cord Pant Slim Fit
  • He By Mango Slim-fit Corduroy ChinosHe By Mango Slim-fit Corduroy Chinos
  • He By Mango Slim-fit 5 Pocket Corduroy TrousersHe By Mango Slim-fit 5 Pocket Corduroy Trousers
  • Uniqlo Men Slim Fit Corduroy JeansUniqlo Men Slim Fit Corduroy Jeans
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Hudson Slim-fit Corduroy TrousersPolo Ralph Lauren Hudson Slim-fit Corduroy Trousers
  • Michael Bastian Regular-fit Corduroy TrousersMichael Bastian Regular-fit Corduroy Trousers
  • Beams Plus Slim-fit Corduroy TrousersBeams Plus Slim-fit Corduroy Trousers
4. Tweed Suit Trousers

Arguably the most versatile style of all, tweed trousers can be worn casually to the pub on a Saturday afternoon with a tee and shawl neck cardigan, or dressed up formally with a matching blazer and dress shirt for a business occasion during the week.

And thanks to the durable nature of the fabric, you could wear them every day during winter (trust us, they’re ridiculously comfortable) and they would only get better as they develop their own unique characteristics.

For maximum versatility, opt for a pair in navy or grey – then dress them down with other similarly rugged pieces like rugby tops, flannel shirts, sweatshirts, boots and even M65 flight jackets.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Tweed Trousers Autumn/Winter Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

florentino aw14henry cottons aw14ami aw12hugo boss sports aw14primark aw14digel aw14windsor aw14windsor aw14windsor aw14de fursac aw12David Naman aw14debenhams hammond & co aw14
Key Pieces
  • Topman Navy Tweed Suit TrousersTopman Navy Tweed Suit Trousers
  • J. Crew Wallace & Barnes Suit Pant In Herringbone English Wool TweedJ. Crew Wallace & Barnes Suit Pant In Herringbone English Wool Tweed
  • J. Crew Ludlow Suit Pant In English Donegal TweedJ. Crew Ludlow Suit Pant In English Donegal Tweed
  • Ben Sherman Tailoring Slim Fit British Tweed Suit Trousers BlueBen Sherman Tailoring Slim Fit British Tweed Suit Trousers Blue
  • Toast Harris Tweed TrouserToast Harris Tweed Trouser
  • Toast Harris Tweed TrouserToast Harris Tweed Trouser
  • Incotex Donegal-tweed Slim-leg Trousers 212085Incotex Donegal-tweed Slim-leg Trousers 212085
  • Toast Donegal Tweed TrouserToast Donegal Tweed Trouser
  • J.crew Bowery Slim-fit Tweed TrousersJ.crew Bowery Slim-fit Tweed Trousers
5. Checked/Tartan Trousers

While our previous picks have focused on the varieties of fabrics that can be used for alternative trouser options, why not consider something in a pattern this AW14?

Over the past couple years, checked tailoring has developed into a running autumn/winter trend, and we can’t see it falling out of favour anytime soon. Checks are a classic and masculine motif that all men are already comfortable sporting, whether in the form of a flannel shirt, tweed blazer or, now, a pair of trousers.

The great thing about checked tailoring being a ‘trend’ is that there are so many different fabrics, check sizes/types and colour palettes now on the market, meaning you can make as much or as little of a statement as you like.

For refined and timeless dressers, try a pair of grey/navy pure wool suit trousers in a classic Prince of Wales check. Offering a subtle differential that will set your professional looks apart from the rest of the workforce, they’re also extremely versatile – dress them up with a blazer, shirt and tie for the working week and combine with minimal trainers and a cable knit jumper at the weekend.

Alternatively, why not fully embrace the season with a rich and bold pair of trousers in Black Watch tartan or an autumnal check such as burgundy and navy? Ideal for winter nights out, when you want to make an impression and stand out from the crowd, team them with neutral wardrobe staples to really let them take centre stage.

Oxford shirts, knitted polos, leather bombers, roll necks, textured blazers and heritage knitwear all look superb with this style of legwear.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Checked/Tartan Trousers Autumn/Winter Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

mauro grifoni pre aw14avva aw14Todd Snyder aw14peuterey aw14henry cottons aw14tommy hilfiger sportswear aw14hugo boss sports aw14hugo boss aw13ami ss14lbm 1911 aw13David Naman aw14ted baker aw14
Key Pieces
  • Selected Tartan Cropped Trousers In Skinny FitSelected Tartan Cropped Trousers In Skinny Fit
  • Topman Light Grey And Burgundy Check Suit TrousersTopman Light Grey And Burgundy Check Suit Trousers
  • Selected Check Suit Trousers In Skinny FitSelected Check Suit Trousers In Skinny Fit
  • Sisley Slim Fit Suit Trousers In CheckSisley Slim Fit Suit Trousers In Check
  • Noose & Monkey Check Suit Trousers In Skinny FitNoose & Monkey Check Suit Trousers In Skinny Fit
  • He By Mango Check Wool Suit TrousersHe By Mango Check Wool Suit Trousers
  • Alexander Mcqueen Check Wool-twill Trousers 204265Alexander Mcqueen Check Wool-twill Trousers 204265
  • Austin Reed Viyella Tartan Wool TrousersAustin Reed Viyella Tartan Wool Trousers
  • Etro Slim-fit Check Wool TrousersEtro Slim-fit Check Wool Trousers
Final Word

Finally, remember that fit is king – if you don’t nail that first then it won’t make a difference what style you pick, as your whole look will be off.

So what do you make of the five alternative trouser styles showcased today? Will any of these be replacing your trusty jeans and chinos for AW14?

Let us know in the comments section below…