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    Business Casual Dress Pants?

    I have previously rotated between 3 pairs of poly-blend Kenneth Cole Reaction dress pants (black, black-striped, and grey), but have been looking to upgrade while upgrading my entire wardrobe.

    I've looked at other threads suggesting to have 3 pairs of wool and maybe 2 pairs of cotton, but when I look at dress pants at Bonobos, Banana Republic, and J Crew Factory (all three places I am considering buying from with Banana Republic being the most likely) the bulk of pants are in cotton.

    What do I absolutely need? I'm assuming wool pants are dressier, but do I need them or is cotton the way to go, and then what colors do I really need to replace and better round out my wardrobe?

    Edit: I should also note beyond just generally wanting some great new pants, I would love to coordinate with the new blazers I have bought since stumbling on this site:
    BR Tailored Navy Birdeye
    BR Tailored Taube
    JCP Wool
    JCrew Ludlow Italian Wool Tween in Dark Charcoal (on the way)
    Last edited by robert2; February 11, 2013, 05:47 PM.

    #2
    Business casual is a broad term subject to your office's interpretation, but cotton dress pants or chinos are generally fine in most any business casual context. Personally, I don't have any wool dress pants for the time being and while I likely will purchase a pair or two soon enough, it's more out of want than necessity. I prefer the look of chinos to cotton dress pants as I find cotton dress pants have a sheen to them which is not to my liking.

    As far as colors go, stick to the classics: navy, mid-grey, khaki, charcoal, tan and so on. If you should go the wool route, a mid-grey flannel trouser in a multi-season wool is generally regarded as the most versatile option.

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      #3
      I guess I should note that I am an attorney, but with my area of practice, and working in the outlying suburbs of Chicago, things are much more laid back. While I wear a suit when I do have court, some attorneys wear dress pants and a blazer in court.

      I sometimes feel that chinos still feel slightly too casual but it may be due to the styles I currently have. Outside of jeans, I really only have Mossimo 5 Pocket Twill pants (which I will wear on a Saturday even to work but do feel are too casual for Monday-Friday), and Lands End Comer Straight Fits, which I love the fit, but always feel unsure if they are too casual. I guess cotton dress pants are the middle ground, right?

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        #4
        I will take this chance to whore out my new favorite wool dress pants, the Stafford Brown Wool in slim fit.

        http://www.jcpenney.com/dotcom//men/...at+front+pants

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          #5
          I've had good experiences with BR's Tailored Fit wool pants (I have these and a taupe-ish check pair). They fit nice and slim in the thigh but they could be just a bit slimmer past the knee. Both cotton and wool are good, though I prefer wool. Personally, start with gray (both dark and mid/light) and navy, then khaki. After that, start adding patterns: chalk stripe, herringbone, glen plaid, etc.

          I've got my eye on these from BR:
          http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse...&pid=235839002
          http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse...&pid=323088002
          http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse...&pid=429095002
          http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse...&pid=905687002

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            #6
            I think wool pants used to be essential to a business casual wardrobe, but not anymore. I don't know your office environment or culture, but from what it sounds like, I would stay away from chinos and stick to dressier trousers. I'm not a big fan of black dress pants and a button up. I think it can work, but so many guys do it wrong.

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              #7
              Originally posted by TomasR View Post
              As far as colors go, stick to the classics: navy, mid-grey, khaki, charcoal, tan and so on. If you should go the wool route, a mid-grey flannel trouser in a multi-season wool is generally regarded as the most versatile option.
              Personally I think flannel trousers in a multi-season wool is contradictory as flannels are usually warmer winter wear. But I do agree that a mid-light grey is a great color.

              I disagree with the colors as well. I would say focus on a few grey pants before you venture into other colors. I think brown would be a great next choice. Personally I think tan/khaki should be reserved for cotton chinos. But I do have a pair of light brown cotton moleskin pants that I love. Grey's, brown, and maybe a navy would serve as a great base. I would pick up those first before venturing out into other colors.

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                #8
                Originally posted by Gump View Post
                Personally I think flannel trousers in a multi-season wool is contradictory as flannels are usually warmer winter wear. But I do agree that a mid-light grey is a great color.

                I disagree with the colors as well. I would say focus on a few grey pants before you venture into other colors. I think brown would be a great next choice. Personally I think tan/khaki should be reserved for cotton chinos. But I do have a pair of light brown cotton moleskin pants that I love. Grey's, brown, and maybe a navy would serve as a great base. I would pick up those first before venturing out into other colors.
                Good advice. Greys should be the starting point. Then brown. Odd navy trousers are surprisingly hard to wear well, in part because you can't pair them w/ a navy sports coat. The more sports coats you have the more you'll appreciate grey's versatility. Mid-grey, light grey and dark grey should all be in your wardrobe.

                My own thought is that if you're new to this you might want to consider sticking exclusively to chinos to start. I personally prefer wool trousers, but chinos are cheaper and less formal, which means you can afford more of them at the outset and wear them in contexts outside work. It'll also make your mistakes less expensive as you figure out what you like and don't like. And it might just be me, but in a 3 trouser/ 3 chino wardrobe, it'd annoy me to have certain colors only in certain fabrics and other colors only in other fabrics.

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by Gump View Post
                  Personally I think flannel trousers in a multi-season wool is contradictory as flannels are usually warmer winter wear. But I do agree that a mid-light grey is a great color.

                  I disagree with the colors as well. I would say focus on a few grey pants before you venture into other colors. I think brown would be a great next choice. Personally I think tan/khaki should be reserved for cotton chinos. But I do have a pair of light brown cotton moleskin pants that I love. Grey's, brown, and maybe a navy would serve as a great base. I would pick up those first before venturing out into other colors.
                  Re: Flannel. Actually, it depends on the type of wool weave (worsted or woolen) and the weight of the wool. Flannel has become a misunderstood term due to the variety of fabrics and styles in which it is now applied. A pair of worsted flannel trousers in a mid-weight wool is actually the classic 3-season trouser. A thick, spongy woolen weave flannel trouser is what you're referring to when you think of flannels as being for winter wear. The two weaves and the weight of the wool typically used for them gives two very different types of trousers. It should also be noted that while the weave of woolen flannel trousers is what we visually associate with a winter style of flannel, worsteds are actually far more durable.

                  As for colors, my initial advice on colors was for the chinos. Navy, mid-grey, khaki, charcoal and tan would give anyone a versatile stable of chinos. I do disagree on tan/khaki being reserved for cotton chinos. Tan is actually a classic and traditional color for wool trousers. An example being this pair from Howard Yount: http://www.howardyount.com/collectio...nnel-pants-tan

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by Idle_Hands View Post
                    Odd navy trousers are surprisingly hard to wear well, in part because you can't pair them w/ a navy sports coat.
                    I disagree. I've got two gray blazers (herringbone and dark houndstooth) and several gray sweaters. I love navy pants with those. I also like navy when I'm wearing a neutrally colored shirt (black gingham, tattersall, etc.).

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                      #11
                      With navy trousers you merely don't wear a navy top. Simple enough. I think they're a great option.

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                        #12
                        Can anyone compare the LandsEnd Year Rounder Wool Trousers or Banana Republic Wool Trousers with more expensive pairs such as Epaulet or Howard Yount? I want to know if it's worth it to save up and pay for the difference in quality.

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                          #13
                          Can't compare to Epaulet or HY but just comparing between LE and BR, IMO there's a big difference (enough there acronyms for ya?). The rise on LE Year Rounders is too high for me, I get pocket flare when I wear them where I like wearing my dress pants. In contrast, BR pants can be quite nice and trim, at least if you've got more muscular legs like I do. Honestly I've thrifted several pairs of BR monogram trousers that got separated from suits and they are really great.

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