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West Coastin’: African Print Pants

September 23rd, 2013

The move from NYC to LA has already got me thinking differently about style.

It’s warm every day here and we’re not far from the beach, so fashion, and life in general, is just a little more laidback. Sure, it can be easy to get lazy, but I find that the weather restrictions and cultural change are only forcing me to be more creative.

Here’s an example. On the corner of 7th avenue and 10th street in NYC’s West Village there’s a small street stand owned by a Senegalese man named Bala. Bala sells cotton shirts, shorts and pants in colorful African prints that his brother ships to him directly from Senegal.

In my eight years living in NYC I’ve probably walked passed Bala dozens of times, not really paying attention to his product. This time however, thanks in part to my homie Niko’s encouragement, his street booth caught my eye.

I’ve been looking for an alternative to tailored trousers that are lightweight, flowly, casual, and fun. These turned out to be perfect, so I bought three pairs ($20/each) when I was in town for Fashion Week.

Here’s how I’ve been rocking them, on the East coast and West coast…

    1. Futuristic Flow


    Bala has hundreds of colorful patterns, but the first one that caught my eye was this black and white geometric print.

    The minimalistic graphic gives these pants a very modern and “high-fashion” feel, making them a perfect complement to this almost-futuristic sans-lapel H&M x Margiela jacket.


    The pants themselves are super simple; just lightweight cotton with a drawstring waist and side pockets.

    They’re basically pajamas, which I’m a huge fan of. I’ve already worn PJs for business and with formal attire.


    I didn’t have them tailored, but I made sure to buy the right size!

    Luckily the inseam was just right since I love the little “split” detail at the hemline.


    • Clear frame sunglasses by Vintage
    • Black collar-less jacket by H&M x Margiela
    • Black cotton/linen v-neck t-shirt by Kenneth Cole
    • Black Cotton print pants from BALA NYC Street Stand – 7th ave & 10th
    • “Stella” Watch by Brera Orologi
    • Brass railroad spike cuff bracelet by Giles & Brother
    • Black leather penny loafers by Bass Weejun

    2. Wild West


    This particular pattern struck me as a little more Native American inspired.

    Being that we’re in the Wild Wild West now, it seemed right to go with a linen henley and rough-up western shirt.


    I think Cowboys and Indians will both be recurring inspirations as I figure out my West Coast style… More on that coming up.


    This pair is a little wider through the leg than the others, so I roll ’em and let ’em flow.

    Shout out to our friend Gagan for the leather slip-ons! I’m getting even more use out of them in LA.


    • Black Cotton print pants from BALA NYC Street Stand – 7th ave & 10th
    • Denim shirt by RRL
    • White linen/silk henley t-shirt by Theory
    • Grey tortoise shades by Matsuda

    3. Après-Beach Party


    What do you wear with loud abstract-patterned pants? A slim white oxford is always a safe choice.

    This one is from Band of Outsiders: you can always tell by the cropped length. Their shirts are designed to be worn untucked, hitting around the waist with only enough room for six front buttons.


    I think I’ll be wearing suits less often on the West coast and getting back to the Articles of Style roots of innovating and experimenting with different styles of menswear…


    Another thing that I didn’t think about as much in NYC: how my feet look.

    I can’t be wearing sandals and chillin at the beach with nasty, calloused-up, ex-bballer feet.

    So, as I shared on the Articles of Style Instagram the other day, it was time to man-up and hit the pedicure spot. My dogs have never felt better…


    • White oxford shirt by Band of Outsiders
    • Watch by Montblanc Timewalker Automatic
    • Oxidized cuff bracelet by Men in Cities
    • Black Cotton print pants from BALA NYC Street Stand – 7th ave & 10th
    • Brown leather strap sandals by Mercanti Forentini

    Thanks, as always, for reading.

    Yours in style,

    Articles of Style


    Photography by Alex Crawford

    • Mrice

      are there any places you could point me to where i could find pants even close to those ones?

    • Louis James

      I am truly fall for those paints. I need a pair in my life lol. Did you get them tailored of did they come finished like that? Oh and keep up the great work… i think i look and follow this web site more then i follow my school work lol.

    • TO

      I like the way you can pull off looking “fashion-y” but still look very grounded in a look, not over the top. I had thought of the no lapel idea and then I saw you had that jacket shortly after…

      Love this post and idea- kinda reminds me a tad about my wool buffalo plaid “Canadian” pants (I think they were orig. supposed to be for snowmobiling? or tree cutting? can’t remember:x)

      Dan- I sent you a email message relating to TSB, subject “TO in TO” just so you don’t think it is my usual BS banter- it is a quick read I promise! haha

    • josh

      there are no words for those shoes. I need them. more info please.

      • josh

        in the second post

    • Oli

      Wow. I was ready to get the #menswear pitchforks, but this blew me away with how well you pulled it off. Seriously challenged my style preconceptions, which is great. I’m inspired (although London isn’t really the right climate for this at the moment…)

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        That’s what we’re here to do. Thx for reading Oli!

    • http://keyboardandcompass.com/ Jeff

      My favourite TSB content continuous to be the posts that involve trans-continental styling (Ishandev and Niyi, for instance.) I travel a lot and always find myself drooling over ethnic prints, etcetera. Sadly, I very rarely end up making a purchase — as a blond-haired, blue-eyed Canadian I’m always worried about looking costumey or, worse, culturally ignorant.

      This post has me changing my mind. Great execution Dan.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Thx Jeff! I agree about the inspiration from traveling and observing other cultures.

        We have some great stuff coming up!


    • Kevin

      Hey Dan, just wondering what size you have for the H&M Margiela jacket? Is it dual vents as well and how often do you wear it for things like hitting the bars/lounges/clubs?

    • Back when

      “I think I’ll be wearing suits less often on the West coast and getting back to the TSB roots of innovating and experimenting with different styles of menswear…”

      Glad to hear it. Let’s get back to learning about new and different articles of clothing (which is what got me hooked on this site in the first place) instead of the million different types of fabrics that can be made into suits that I can’t afford (-yet).

    • Changingman

      Even though I wouldn’t wear those, this posts teaches you to look around and really see whats out there. As they say, inspiration can come from anywhere. What I aspire to is whether Im at a trendy store in Soho, Target, or street vendor, having that discerning eye to find that one perfect item that will make an outfit just right.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        That’s the key! Our goal is to help readers discover and refine that “discerning eye”.

        Well said brother, thx.

    • http://undefined Jeanscuffed

      Just can’t deal with sandals on MY feet but you pull them off. The pants I can DEF f^@k with. Great finds and looks.

    • Jack

      I think I would have liked look two better had that henley been untucked. Just my two cents. Impressive post overall.

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        In fairness, I wanted to style it untucked but this particularly linen henley is all stretched out and very long. I also wanted to show the drawstring waist in the post.

        Cheers mate.

    • John B

      Amazing! While not exactly something I’d try, there are a lot of hints for pulling off bolder pants!
      I’m quite sure you’ve also worn that Band of Outsiders oxford tucked in the past, haven’t you? I should try to find something similar, I hate having way too long shirts to wear untucked!

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        I have, although it’s an awkward length for tucking and often springs out of the pants.

        You could always have your shirts shortened by a tailor…

    • LouCaves

      Less suits? “Say it ain’t so, Joe!” Just kidding. I get it. The west coast is a different feel.

      Looks like you’re fitting in nicely. How are you finding commuting? I imagine LA is a 180 from NY public transit.

      Thanks, TSB.

      • Sergio

        Thought the same thing about the suits part but LA has that effect unfortunately. Being an LA native myself it is a very laid back environment. I hope the suits don’t go away, LA needs more well dressed men.

        • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

          Don’t get me wrong, the suits aren’t going anywhere. 1/2 of our content is shot in NYC anyway…

          I hope all is well Sergio!

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        hah. We’re bicoastal, so we’ll never lose the NYC influence.

        Thankfully we don’t have to travel during rush hour…although Alex and I are both thinking about investing in motorcycles…

        • LouCaves

          As a fan of TSB and someone who has about 100k miles on a motorcycle I say, GO FOR IT!…but a take a safety class.

          Keep the shiny side up.

          Thanks, TSB.

          • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

            What kind of bike would you recommend?

            • LouCaves

              A cruiser. I know they’ll be sport bike proponents out there. But in my opinion, what I think will fit your needs is a cruiser.

              It’s an upright, comfortable riding position and lower seat height. They’re easier to accessorize, such as, attaching saddle bags (for Alex’s camera gear) or a windshield (you’ll get less street grime on those MAB suits) And they’re cheaper — at least in Chicago.

              For your (and Alex’s) body-size and the need for passing power on those LA freeways (in Chi-town they’re called highways), you should look at 900cc, at least.

              Honda has the Shadow line. Kawasaki has the Vulcan line.

              For the record, this is one man’s opinion…and I do like the “fun-as-heck” sport bikes! :)

              Hope this helps.

              • http://profblack.blogspot.kr/ Professor Black

                11 years as a daily rider, I second the cruiser idea, look at the sportster or shadow

    • http://www.theseals.com.au Desmond

      Superb looks all round.
      I’ve gotta find me a linen henley one of these days.

    • B Double

      Probably your best post so far! Supa Fly!

    • Dee

      Talking about laidback, less suits, and airing out toes—wait until you make a trip down to San Diego. Put on a v-neck sweater and you’ll be the best dressed guy in the room :)

    • cam

      i can appreciate your sense of adventure but not sure about this one…joshua kissi yes, he would pull it off well but you, eh..i definitely think rrl will be a good staple for that wild wild west style…all the best

    • JB

      This is why you’re a STYLE ICON!!!

    • Christo


      • Max

        What I love about your site Dan is your writing is as engaging as your style. Please keep it the great work

        • http://undefined Big fan

          Must agree with you Max. The writing keeps your attention.

    • Kien

      Love the various outfits, this is true thinking outside the box combining comfort with style!

      • Dan

        Not many people could pull those pants off Dan but you do so effortlessly. I love how you pair them with a little dressier shoe to tie it all together. You truly are a gift to men’s fashion.

        • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

          Thanks for the kind words Daniel!!

    • Korinne

      wow. when you are in the article its obvious your a pro stylist