7 Types of Pants Every Man Should Own (+3 That Are Hilariously Terrible)

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by  William Barton | Last Updated: 

Tired of reaching for the same old pair of jeans every day? 

I get the feeling. 

Maybe you want to boost your wardrobe, but you’re not sure where to start. Trust me, there’s a lot more out there than just jeans, and stacking your closet with a variety of pants is one of the best ways to develop a distinguished style that turns heads. 

I listed out the most stylish and classic types of pants I think every guy should own, plus I’ve made a recommendation for my favorite brand for each type. 

And if you’re not sure where to start, I made the list in descending order from most important to least (styles six and seven aren’t mandatory, but they look amazing on guys bold enough to try them). 

7 Types of Pants for Men Who Want Impeccable Style

1. Chinos

What goes with green pants Man wearing green chinos with white sneakers and black crew sweatshirt

Yep, I’m putting chinos above jeans. My reasoning? Most guys still just wear jeans (or they’ve given up and only wear activewear). 

Chinos aren’t formal by any stretch of the imagination, but they’re a step up in sophistication over jeans. 

Plus, chinos are much more versatile than you’d think. Pair them with a polo for a preppy style, or give them a cuff at the bottom and rock them with a t-shirt for a laid-back casual look. 

Or, you can wear an oxford cloth button down and leave it untucked for a casual style that’s effortless but still looks sharp. 

model sitting wearing L Estrange blue oxford and grey chinos

There are several types of chinos available, from the standard cotton to more modern technical fabric choices. 

Cotton has a classic look to it, but many technical fabric versions are incredibly comfortable. I recommend trying a non-cotton version—a good brand makes chinos that look just like regular chinos but have a lot of stretch so you can move freely. 

My Favorite Chinos: Mizzen+Main Helmsman Chino Pant

The Helmsman from Mizzen+Main sits at the top of my list for the best chinos for guys. I’m an active guy, and I’ve been known to spontaneously go on adventures, whether that’s finding a rental bike on the side of the road and taking off, or climbing over rocks if the mood strikes. 

As such, I need durable pants that also don’t restrict my movement. Plus I want to look good. To me, these bad boys cover all the bases I need, so they’re my top recommendation for an everyday pant. 

Mizzen+Main Helmsman Chino Pant

These bad boys sit at the top of my list of the best chinos for men. Why? They're durable but don't restrict my movement and they look and fit great. It's not that I'm easy to please, but moreso that chinos that tick all of these boxes are super tough to find.

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2. Jeans

model wearing boots and liverpool jeans

OK, I know I suggested earlier that jeans are kinda boring and that everyone wears them. 

But you should absolutely own a great pair, and there’s a certain way to shop for new jeans to make sure you’re getting something fantastic that adds that little somethin’ somethin’ to your style rather than getting just another forgettable, generic pair of jeans. 

First, if you don’t already own a crisp, deep indigo pair of jeans without any sort of pre-faded wash, start there. 

Mott and Bow Review Jeans

Crisp, unwashed, slim fit jeans are a style staple and work just as well for a Friday date night as they do Saturday afternoon. 

Truthfully, I don’t think you need anything more than that. If you’re really in love with jeans, you can try out some lighter washes and looser fits. 

But if I could only wear one type of denim for the rest of my life, it’d be slim fit dark indigo jeans. 

And if you take care of them well, they’ll last for years and develop a fade that’s unique to you. Pretty soon you’re looking like a modern day James Dean.

My Favorite Jeans: Mott & Bow Oliver

The Mott & Bow Oliver is at the top of my list for the best value jeans a dude can get. They’re available in Skinny, Slim, and Straight fit, though I recommend the Slim. 

They’re interesting in that there isn’t a lot of taper below the knee like other slim fit jeans. This means they pair really well with bulkier boots. 

Beware though, because these will shrink a lot if you wash them and dry them. I recommend washing your jeans in cold water, inside out, and then just hang drying them. Once they go in the dryer, they’ll never fit you the same (plus you hold on to that deep indigo color).  

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Mott & Bow are our go-to for slim fit jeans in the sub $150 category. The sturdy 13oz denim of the Oliver, paired with its slim profile, makes for a clean and comfortable design that feels like it should be much more expensive than it really is.

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3. Joggers

best joggers for men

There are few feelings finer than hitting your favorite cafe on Sunday morning and wearing your comfies out and about. 

But it’s important that your comfies don’t look ragged. 

For lazy afternoons, I love wearing joggers. They’re the pinnacle of comfort, but because they have taper below the knee, they look much better than regular sweats. 

jogger outfits for men

Be careful not to be one of those guys who only wears joggers. Chicks dig a pair of joggers, but not if it’s the only thing in your closet. 

As a rule of thumb, you should only be wearing joggers as part of your main outfit maximum twice a week. Maybe three times if it’s deep in summer and it’s too hot to wear anything else. 

My Favorite Joggers: Public Rec All Day Every Day Joggers

A while back, I made it a personal mission to find the absolute best joggers for men. And I think I did. It’s the Public Rec All Day Every Day Joggers

They’re versatile because the fabric is relatively thick so they look clean (and don’t get that crinkled, bunched look). They’re comfortable and have plenty of zippered pockets so you don’t have to stress about where your wallet is. 

Joggers are casual, obviously, but there are a lot of interesting ways to style them, too. 

4. 5 Pocket Pants

model walking down steps wearing olivers pants with sneakers

Jeans are technically 5 pocket pants, but I also recommend owning a pair of non-denim pants. I really like olive green for this style.

Sometimes this type of pant is called a “twill pant,” but that really refers to the fabric.

model in rhone commuter pants grey slim

While you can opt for a neutral (like I do), I also see guys crush it out there with more bold choices like pastel purple, reds, and yellows. 

I wouldn’t load my wardrobe with every color in the rainbow, but having one interesting pair of pants that isn’t a pair of jeans but still has that laid back cut is a great idea. 

My Favorite 5 Pocket Pants: Mizzen+Main Helmsman 5-Pocket Pant

I recently picked up the Mizzen+Main Helmsman 5-Pocket and I’ve been loving how much stretch they have. While they look like regular ol’ pants, they feel closer to joggers. I never have one of those moments where I think, hey, did I forget to wear pants? But they’re comfortable enough that I’d understand if you had a moment like that. 

I picked my pair in Mizzen+Main’s Deep Sage color, though their Light Grey option is also a phenomenal choice: the key with this style of pant is to get a color that’s a little (or a lot) outside the norm compared to jeans and chinos. 

Mizzen+Main Helmsman 5-Pocket Pant

Wrinkle-free pants that are classy enough for the office, but comfortable enough to run a 100 yard dash in.

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5. Dress Pants

State and Liberty 11

You don’t need a formal event to snag yourself a pair of dress pants. And here’s a piece of advice: it’s never bad to be the best dressed in the room. 

Even if you’re a little hesitant to step up your style game (because, after all, if you look incredible, people will notice you), high quality clothes will give you a confidence boost.

Brooks Brothers suit trousers

The most common type of dress pants are wool and wool flannel. I recommend sticking with natural fibers for your dress pants because they won’t snag as easily and they’ll pair well with blazers and dress shirts. 

My Favorite Dress Pants: Brooks Brothers Milano

Brooks Brothers is an absolute icon, especially for their more formal wear. I’m a fan of their suits, but I also rock a pair of their Milano (slim fit) Wool Trousers when the occasion calls for something a little upscale. 

The biggest downside to dress pants is that they need to be dry cleaned. That said, you’re not wearing them all day every day, so they don’t need to be cleaned often. 

Brooks Brothers Milano Fit Wool Flannel Trousers

Brooks Brothers is an absolute icon, especially for their more formal wear. I’m a fan of their suits, but I also rock a pair of these Milano (slim fit) Wool Trousers when the occasion calls for something a little upscale.

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6. Pleated Pants

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Pleated pants are more of a style-statement—I said this up top and I’ll say it again: pleated pants and the next entry, cropped trousers aren’t fashion-musts. They’re more “nice-to-have” than anything. 

But if you feel ready to pull it off, one of the coolest looks in summer is the pleated pant with a tucked in Cuban collar short sleeve shirt. 

My Favorite Pleated Pants: Suitsupply

Suitsupply has a fairly quick turnover for their specific styles—they stay current and fashionable. That’s not always a good thing, but for pleated pants, the style is timeless, so even though they’re in right now, investing in a great quality pair is always a solid idea. 

Suitsupply does their pleated trousers in the Italian style, with many having a draw tab at the sides. They’re a little more “fashion-adventurous,” but that’s exactly what you want. Grab a pair that’s a good fit for the season. Lighter linen options are ideal for spring and summer, while wool is the go-to for fall and winter. 

Suitsupply Light Grey Pleated Vigo Trousers

Suitsupply does their pleated trousers in the Italian style, with many having a draw tab at the sides. They’re a little more “fashion-adventurous,” but that’s exactly what you want for this style of pant. Lighter linen options are ideal for spring and summer, while wool is the go-to for fall and winter.

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7. Cropped Trousers

Goodlife Clothing twill pants

Cropped trousers are trendy. And like many trendy styles, they may go out of style in a few years. So I put these at the bottom of my list because everything above has basically been “in-style” for decades. They’re not going anywhere.

Still, cropped trousers are relaxed, casual, and a great excuse to rock a deluxe pair of sneakers

What is a cropped trouser? It’s basically a short pant. Get ready to give those ankles some air: if you’re a 32 inseam (length of your pants), a cropped trouser may have a 28 inseam instead. 

Goodlife Clothing outfit

I don’t recommend cropped trousers for heavier guys or guys shorter than 5’8”. They tend to make you look a little shorter and wider. Plus, you should really only get them in a slim fit (to offset the “squat-factor”) .

But if you’re feeling like you’re up for a fashion challenge, cropped trousers are a really cool and unique way to rock a pair of pants. 

My Favorite Cropped Trousers: Goodlife Essential Twill Pants

Goodlife Essential Twill Pant 1

For cropped trousers, there’s two ways to go: embrace the casual with a more relaxed cut, or blend high and low with a more classic dress pant fabric and cut (slimmer fit and thicker fabric). 

I like the more casual look, so I like the Goodlife Essential Twill Pants. They have a wider, more relaxed fit through the thighs, which makes them a go-to in summer when the weather is too hot to even want to live. 

Essential Twill Pant from Goodlife

The Essential Twill Pant feels a lot like chinos, but the construction is similar to what you’d get with a pair of linen pants. The waist is elastic with a drawstring in the front, which gives these a distinctly relaxed vibe.

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3 Types of Pants That Are a Style Disaster

If you own these, it’s fine. Just don’t wear them outside. 

Zip Knee Pants

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The only way to make zip knee pants look good is to stuff a bunch of tater-tots in your pockets. 

I can’t completely knock pants that turn into shorts. I think they’re actually ok for hiking. And I’m sure there are enthusiasts who will sing their praises. But if you’re interested in pants that make you look like an adult, avoid zip knee pants.

Baggy Sweats

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The allure of baggy sweats is strong. It can be tempting to go to the store in them. But have some self-respect, man!

If you’re the kind of guy who wears sweats out, then at least grab a high quality pair of joggers and wear those instead. They feel just as comfortable, but look so much better. 

And if comfort is your number one priority, something like the Mizzen+Main 5-Pocket Pant will surprise you. They look like normal human pants, but have so much stretch that you can forget you’re wearing them. 

Drop Crotch Harem Pants

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The only situation in which a pair of harem pants makes sense is if you have a harem. In that case, it’s a work uniform, so proceed with your diaper pants all you want. 

But for the rest of us (including those who aspire to have a harem), stay away. I don’t care if you own a neon Grateful Dead poster and a Bob Marley tapestry. No amount of skunky smoke is going to make drop crotch harem pants a thing. 

Pants: Like a Shirt, But For Your Legs

For whatever reason, most guys don’t think about the different pants available to them. You might own twelve different types of shirts, but only wear jeans day in and day out. 

There’s more out in the world for you, my friend. 

While I encourage you to experiment with your shirts and try something different than the humble and steadfast t-shirt, it’s also equally important to get some variety in your pants selection.

Most Versatile
Mizzen+Main Helmsman Chino Pant

These bad boys sit at the top of my list of the best chinos for men. Why? They're durable but don't restrict my movement and they look and fit great. It's not that I'm easy to please, but moreso that chinos that tick all of these boxes are super tough to find.

Check Best Price
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Wondering where to start? Pick up a pair of chinos (I recommend the Mizzen+Main Helmsman Chino), a pair of jeans, and a pair of joggers.

Afterward, you can work your way through the rest of my list as you get more and more adventurous with your personal style. 

FAQs

What pants are best for men?

Chinos, jeans, joggers, and dress pants are the best types of pants a guy can start with. More adventurous styles like pleated pants and colorful 5-pocket pants are a great choice once you’ve covered the basics.

Are chinos dress pants?

Chinos are casual pants, but you can wear them in more upscale situations than jeans. Still, if you’re going to a formal event, a pair of wool trousers is a better choice.

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