Insights: My Wardrobe – Dress Trousers

Insights: My Wardrobe – Dress Trousers

Trousers in my Wardrobe

trousers, dress trousers, flannel, tweed, menswear, my wardrobe

Overall, the trousers in my closet are probably the weakest category of clothing. In the past, I have not seen them as exciting to buy as a sport coat or a tie. For the last couple of years, my collection has surrounded two core pairs – a light grey pair and a medium grey pair in sharkskin. I like the texture and colour variation. Following a similar learning and acquisition pattern to my expanding sport coat collection, I’ve recently become acutely aware of the benefits of a seasonal rotation. I put some effort in last fall, and made some seasonal purchases. Now I’m looking at my warm-weather options, and realizing I don’t have much. This is a bit of a challenge considering most of my outfits are centred around sport coats and not suits.

Itemizing my Trousers

Anyways, before getting too deep into any analysis, let’s have a look at what’s hanging in my closet:

  • Navy houndstooth (brushed wool)
  • Burgundy flannels
  • Dark brown checked worsted
  • Medium brown merino tweed
  • Camel flannels
  • Light brown flannels
  • Cream cotton-linen
  • Medium grey sharkskin
  • Light grey sharkskin

Organizing my Trousers

I wish I could have my wardrobe organized by season – I’d have a number of options for cool weather, and three for warm weather. So, I organize from left to right based on darkness, and grouped by colour. I’ve outlined the order they hang in the bullet-points above. I use these hangers that clamp onto the hem, and have a rubber grip to prevent slippage. I’m not sure if this is against any #menswear rules, but it lets them hang at full length, and it makes it easy to give them a quick steam to get rid of any wrinkles that hadn’t fallen out on their own. I don’t even need to take them off the hanger!

Sometime soon I will be preparing my Fall/Winter stuff for storage, which means I will have to face the limited Spring/Summer options I have. This will involve a steam, a press and hanging the trousers on a more traditional hanger, and putting away in a garment bag.

Trouser Seasonality

trousers, dress trousers, sondrio, cotton linen, spier and mackay,

As mentioned, my Sping/Summer is lacking. The only true dedicated pair I have is my new cotton-linen blend – a beautiful fabric from Sondrio – made up by Spier & Mackay. The cream colour is perfect. Not too yellow, just a warm beige. I wrote about them in my Spring/Summer wants post, and bought them very soon after writing. I had originally got both the cream and the off-white, but decided that one pair would do. Now, I’m not so sure. I think the off-white is a great colour for warm weather. Wearing the trousers for the first time, I am quite impressed with the fabric. They don’t wrinkle too much, considering the composition. They are breathable, and they drape really well. A light blue would be a great option; not too powdery blue, and not overly saturated. Sadly, that’s not available. I’d also like a sage green pair.

flannel, trousers, flannel trousers, dress trousers, camel, light brown, VBC, vitale barberis canonico, spier and mackay

For Fall/Winter I have a few pairs of flannels – light brown (cream), camel (tan) and burgundy. Maybe this year I will add at least one pair of grey flannels, though a light grey, mid grey and charcoal would be ideal. A surprising standout for me from last year was the merino tweed from Abraham Moon & Sons that Spier & Mackay offered. I picked up the light brown, which is a medium brown to me. I shouldn’t have slept on the grey. The last pair is a brushed wool navy houndstooth fabric. Purchased before I truly understood the difficulty ascribed to pairing navy trousers, I was enamored with the softness and pattern of the pants. Every now and then I force myself to wear them, but I always feel a little bit like it’s never the ideal choice.

All season wearing pairs in my wardrobe are the two grey sharkskin, and the checked brown.

sharkskin, trousers, grey, mid grey, light grey, dress trousers

To Cuff or not to Cuff

A year or so ago, I’d have said I was against cuffs on trousers. It’s old fashioned, it’s an affected styling choice, it’s… cuffs. Learning about fabric and cut, and how some fabric behaves and drapes, I started to think that maybe there was some sense to this whole cuffing thing. I started to like the images I saw on Instagram and Styleforum. A big influence was @stylejournaldaily and all his awesome shoe shots – that include a nice-sized cuff. So when I bought my burgundy flannels, I decided to jump in with both feet (get it? a pants pun!) and go for 2″ cuffs. Well, turns out I like them. The extra weight helps with drape, and looks great. Every pair since that one (tweed, light brown flannel, cream cotton-linen) have had 2″ cuffs. I even took those navy houndstooth ones back to the tailor to be re-hemmed. At this point, half my trousers are cuffed, half are not. A little variety is nice.

Colours and Patterns

trousers, dress trousers, houndstooth, checked, my wardrobe,

Textured solids are the foundation of my wardrobe, be it sport coats, ties or trousers. I do own a couple of pairs with a pattern; the navy houndstooth, which resolve to a solid from a couple of feet away, and the brown checked pair which have a little more definition to the pattern. Every now and then I may wear the glen plaid trousers from my Spier & Mackay Neapolitan suit with my navy hopsack sport coat. I was drawn to the tweed and the flannels that provide visual interest without being distracting.

And we've reached the hem...

Looking to the future, I’ve mentioned a couple of wants: Off-white cotton-linen, a light blue, and a sage green. Do you think I’ve missed anything? Let me know!


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