Upgrade Your Jeans: The Casual Trouser

September 18th, 2014

As you may have read on Articles of Style in the past, I almost never wear denim in the summer. Denim is a thick and rigid fabric that is not meant for hot days.

As the weather in NYC gradually begins to cool down, however, I’ve been dusting off my selvedge and getting reacquainted with some of my favorite jeans.

It’s usually around this time of year that I’m reminded of why I much prefer trousers to jeans. I find that jeans are usually tight and restrictive (especially around the hips and upper thighs), they sit too low on the hips (especially when seated) and the fabric is stiff and sweaty. Not to mention the front pocket space is impossibly tight (I have some pairs that I can barely fit my hands into).

I don’t get it, really. How denim has become the de-facto “comfortable” pant for so many guys. I find trousers to be significantly more comfortable. They sit at the natural waist, they drape away from the body, the pockets are much more convenient (I also have coin pockets sewn into all my trousers), and most trouser fabrics feel softer and breathe easier than traditional denim. Not to mention trousers are much more malleable, as a tailor can take them in or let them out as needed (jeans cannot be let-out).

Most importantly, though, in a world where the majority of guys are wearing jeans day-in and day-out, a well-tailored trouser worn in a casual context can immediately set a man apart. A casual tailored trouser creates a sharp, smart, and gentlemanly look.

With all that said, I pulled together a few looks from the Articles of Style archives that easily could have been styled with jeans, but the trousers were used to amp up the elegance of the overall look.


All four of the trousers in this story are part of a suit, as well. Which means they can be worn as a suit, as separates with a patterned blazer, or simply as day-to-day pants…making them more versatile than denim.



Gold Plated hand-engraved shades by Matsuda, Navy wool cardigan by Uniqlo, White t-shirt by Alexander Wang, Burgundy paisley silk scarf Vintage, Camel hopsack suit trousers by Michael Andrews Bespoke (Cloth by Ariston AR A917/9)Watch by Montblanc Timewalker Automatic, Brown alligator watch band by Montblanc, Burgundy socks by Marcoliani, Leather/suede double monkstrap shoes by Scarpe di Bianco, Brown leather duffle by Frank Clegg Leatherworks


Jeans here would have made for a much more casual look. The tailored hopsack trouser gives this vintage military trench a slightly more “upscale” feel. It’s a $30 coat from the east village (that I had tailored) but combined with the sharp trouser and a beautiful boot, it looks more like something sold on fifth avenue.



Black/Grey shades by Matsuda Eyewear, Black woven belt by KMart, Cashmere block stripe henley by John Varvatos, Necklaces from NYC Street Artist, Watch by Montblanc Timewalker Automatic, Nato Striped grosgrain watch strap by Corvus, Military surplus trench coat (tailored) Vintage, Grey hopsack pants by MAB by Dan Trepanier, Black pebbled leather kilted chukka boots by J. FitzPatrick


Again, easily could have went with a pair of jeans here, but the soft flannel trouser adds the perfect texture to offset the sheepy shearling (another vintage beauty) and anchor down the weight of the waffle turtleneck.



Vintage shearling bomber jacket, Burgundy waffle turtleneck by Club MonacoWatch by Montblanc Timewalker Automatic, Suede watch strap by Alpha Bravo Straps (etsy), Grey flannel suit trousers by Michael Andrews Bespoke, Brown wool blend socks by JCrew, Burgundy tassel loafers by Johnston & Murphy


These olive cotton trousers are probably the most casual of the bunch. These are part of a suit, but easily transition as a go-to chino. They also have a little bit of stretch (2% elastane), making them one of the most comfortable pants in my wardrobe.


Gold Plated hand-engraved shades by Matsuda, Brown leather jacket Vintage, Olive/Brown henley Guess by Marciano, Slim brown leather belt Vintage, Olive cotton chinos by Michael Andrews Bespoke by Dan Trepanier, Suede chukka boots by Scarpe di Bianco, Brass railroad spike ring by Giles & Brother, “Stella” Watch by Brera Orologi


Thanks, as always, for reading. Major upgrades coming soon to Articles of Style!

Yours in style,

Articles of Style


Photography by Alex Crawford.  

  • Zane

    I absolutely love this article. For months, I have been trying to explain to my friends that trousers, because of it’s availability in different pattern/material, are so much more comfortable and versatile than denim jeans. This article justified my point further and I can’t wait to link this to them. With that being said though, during the winter, your selvedge jeans are life saviours. Also, owning personalized selvedge jeans makes the whole menswear experience more enjoyable. Thanks for the great read!

  • http://www.lucidlingo.com.au/ Gazman

    I agree with your points regarding jeans in summer. Where I am summers are long, hot and humid and the last thing you want on is a pair of denims that weigh you down and add to the sweat level. That said, apart from chinos, it isn’t easy to find good looking casual pants. I find I have to go to the suit section of a store and typically what you can get are pants made from sleek worsted wool or a wool/poly blend – both unsuited to wearing in a casual manner and not good for the weather. I read so much about hopsack on these pages but finding pants made from hopsack is mission impossible in my neck of the woods. In fact I’ve yet to find a store assistant who even knows what hopsack is.

    • pyrokeet

      agree! I live in central London and it’s nowhere that I’ve found. I’ve not tried asking the expensive Saville Row tailors of course, but I’ve never seen it in any of the shops for the ‘rest of us’. Shame, as I’d like to try it out!

    • TO

      Agree with you Gazman. Even having experienced working in a suit shop, no one I spoke to was in agreement with what I thought to be hopsack. They had a different name for it or a different concept, or didn’t use the term at all.

  • ChrisD

    As much as I love denim (and wear it almost everyday), I agree that putting on a pair of trousers feels freeing. Comfort in every direction. And those camel ones in the first picture are seriously beautiful.

    However, due to the ubiquity of jeans, most men’s closets are full of clothing that looks good with jeans. It’s a vicious cycle that took me some time to escape. Also: If you up your pant game, you have to up your shoe game! (i hate proper trousers with sneakers.. sorry)

    Now I’m in an ultra-casual office environment everyday and if I wore suit trousers I would stand out like a sore thumb next to khaki shorts and “dad jeans”. So denim lets me fit in with my peers (sometimes fitting in is more important than standing out) and I focus on the details like that 4th dimension you get from a well-worn pair of raws.

    Someday I’ll graduate to more classic menswear :)

  • The Other TO

    For what it’s worth, this is why Rogue Territory’s RK’s are my favorite trousers. They come in denim (and other fabrics), but are cut like casual trousers. All the benefits of jeans (easily dressed up/down, wipeable, etc) with the slant pockets and perks of a trouser. And made in Los Angeles, too! #winwinwin

  • fanovaohsmuts

    I think denim has become the de facto fabric for a lot just because it’s sold everywhere and often times at very cheap prices. Same reason why people wear gym shorts/cargo shorts/sweatpants/track pants/etc. as casual wear outside: because it’s usually cheaper than the more stylish options.

    However, playing devil’s advocate, am I correct in assuming that denim can also come in different weights? If so, wouldn’t a lighter weight denim be sufficient for some? Also, since you’re athletically built, wouldn’t that preclude you from the majority of non-athletic folk, who probably can fit into denim without much of an issue? Just food for thought.

    Although, on a side note, was browsing Youtube, stumbled upon Townsend and Alex on a video. Apparently ya’ll hipsters.


    It’s at 0:10. The rest of the video sucks.

    • JoeFromTexas

      “Apparently y’all hipsters” LOL

  • JoeFromTexas

    You know, I’ve never really understood the whole dress clothes must be uncomfortable thing. A pair of pants, denim or otherwise, are comfortable or not based largely on the fit. The most comfortable pair of pants I own are a pair of flannel trousers (and in this case the flannel material certainly helps its case). They’re about as close to pajama pants as societal norms allow. But I don’t think my jeans are uncomfortable if they fit well (and it’s not too warm out).

  • Daniel

    If you can barely fit your hands into your jean pockets, that pair of jeans is probably too tight. That’s a point against that specific pair, not jeans generally. As others have said, jeans take a beating better than more formal pants, and often look better for it.

  • TO

    I really like this story. I can see both sides of it at the moment- I snagged a hole in a pair of suit trousers I was wearing casually the other day on my bike frame (probably wouldn’t have happened w/ jeans) but I just got some fall/winter trousers I can’t wait to start wearing and like for many of the reasons in the article.
    As an example, I grabbed white 5-pocket cords the other day that I love. Does anybody else rock these? I thought it was a cool twist instead of white jeans.

  • Jack

    being dressed up sometimes makes me feel stiff, and afraid of wrinkles. with Jeans I can fling myself on the couch, or wash the dishes without worrying about stains/water/etc.

    Just my .02

    • tommyjohn_45

      Good point.. They are also next to impossible to wrinkle which make them easy to throw on in a rush…

  • KL

    Do you have a place to recommend to clean/recondition shearling leather jackets in NYC?

  • Shawn

    Guilty of wearing denim way too often these days! Mines are super confortable! Plus, I’m not babying them like my more tailored clothing!

  • Miguel

    I think this summer I only wore a pair of jeans once, I’ve been shopping for trousers more and more. However now that the winter is coming (I’m in Jersery) those jeans are coming out, the snow don’t play in this area.

    • http://www.TSBmen.com/ Dan Trepanier

      Get yourself some flannels my G.

      • Miguel

        Thanks Dan.

  • mattjolsen

    Great looks!

    When it comes to being casual and comfortable, worry-free is key. Frankly, I’m always a bit concerned about things when I’m wearing trousers — watching out for stains, snags, etc.

    Jeans are more durable, I can wipe my hands on them, they don’t show stains, and I would argue aren’t uncomfortable (unless you’re wearing them super tight). Jeans are the ultimate in versatility too and can be dressed up or down with almost anything.

    All of that being said, for a smart-casual look for the right occasions, your trouser examples nail it.

    • http://www.TSBmen.com/ Dan Trepanier

      Great point. +1 for denim on durability and stain-wipeabiity :)

      Cheers Matt!

    • Jack

      +1. I should read the comments before commenting.

    • Sukrit Aggarwal

      I think bespoke denim trousers might be a mid-way approach. That way, you get casual feel, durability and stain-wipe ability of denim with comfort, ease and smartness of trousers.

  • http://www.themodestman.com/ Brock

    Love that last look. Awesome aged jacket. The sleeves fit so well. Did you have them shortened and/or tapered? I’ve never tried to get a leather jacket sleeve tapered… just wondering if it’s possible.

  • Josh

    I’ve been in the same boat a lot lately, transitioning from a more casual job to a more professional one combined with the season change has made me really appreciate all of the seasonal tailoring I’ve managed to collect.

    • Pierce

      Nothing beats a broken in pair of apc petite stardards.