Building business wardrobe: Pants

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by djs5150, Aug 11, 2015.

  1. johng70

    johng70 Senior member

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    Nonsense. Black wool pants look great too. There is an unnatural thought process here at styleforum that the rest of the real world does not subscribe to regarding black. Black wool pants look just fine. It doesn't mean the OP needs to wear them. But, if he likes them, the phobia regarding them here on SF isn't shared by the rest of the real world (much like black shoes).
     
  2. YRR92

    YRR92 Senior member

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    I don't fuck with black dress pants. Because I'm not a theater usher anymore.

    But, seriously, black trousers are too dark for the palette of much menswear (above the waist, it can work well on those with black hair, or white hair and a darker skin tone). It makes a saturated top half look more vibrant (perhaps too vibrant), and a light top half seems to cut the wearer in half, visually, drawing the eye to the waist in a way which is rather unflattering for many people. I find black pants only look great in a tailored look with a mid-gray top half, or, rarely in a slightly dated look with a camel color. A rich, deep color can work in a sweater or a casual shirt, but they often work better with gray or navy. Black cloth is also often dyed in such a way that it fades to a greenish color, or looks slightly greenish under some lights.

    I think a very dark gray is a better choice that fills the same role, while also working with navy and brown (two staple colors) in a way that black doesn't. The right navy can also work well, though it's less of a pure neutral than gray, and I find it harder to combine with a sport coat than gray.
     
  3. SirReveller

    SirReveller Senior member

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    Yah...I had it at pant #5. I mean, grab cream linen for summer before black wool for winter. Still good tho
     
  4. philosophe

    philosophe Senior member

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    Charcoal gray is easier to wear than black.
     
  5. Academic2

    Academic2 Senior member

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    I wonder whether those who are promoting black trousers have forgotten the title of the thread (“Building Business Wardrobe”) or the opening of the original post (“I am just starting off on building a business wardrobe”).

    This is a question about business dress. Not streetwear. Not jeans.

    In that context saying “no” to black trousers isn’t an SF thing; it’s just an established principle and has been for quite a long time. Black is for eveningwear. If your business requires a tux, then black is fine. But in most cases not.

    As philosophe indicated, charcoal is fine for daytime business dress. (Though for trousers the OP would still need to grapple with the problem I mentioned upthread, namely pairing dark trousers with a lighter jacket. Ditto for navy.)

    Cheers

    Ac
     
  6. YRR92

    YRR92 Senior member

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    This is more of a problem on SF than elsewhere. Charcoal gray trousers look fine with all manner of coats that resolve to a light or mid-gray, plus most sweaters (given compatible textures). Navy trousers (not too dark) are fine any time one is without a tie (some would say they don't work with a tailored jacket at all, but I'm not convinced).
     
  7. SirReveller

    SirReveller Senior member

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    True. Doesn't preclude black ownership tho.

    "Unless you going for the Dior homme or Prada type of looks, not business."

    That look is cool and totally business friendly, unless you work for Disney or something.

    Also I can't think of any org that would go "your black pants and white shirt are '''evening wear''' please go home and change." That's SF nonsense stuff absolutely noone in the real (office) world observes.

    Boss' take
    Q1 is this guy wearing jeans? N? Good.
    Q2 does he look professional? Y? Good.

    Done.
     
  8. djs5150

    djs5150 Active Member

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    Hey guys, thanks so much for all the input. Seems like there's a general consensus about color and it definitely seems like I'm on the same page there. I guess most of my questions in regards to pants are what kinds to buy (and in what color of those particular kind/fabric). Anyway, here's what I'm thinking (please feel free to add suggestions):

    2-3 Pairs of Brooks Brothers Advantage Chinos or Bills Khakis: Khaki, Stone, Navy
    2-3 Wool Trousers: Charcoal, Lighter Grey, Navy
     
  9. philosophe

    philosophe Senior member

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    Just two suggested refinements:

    1. Navy cotton pants often don't keep their color well. Not a problem with wool. Maybe swap in a dark tan for the navy, or just accept that the lifespan of navy cotton pants will be short.

    2. As noted above, it's easier to pair lighter trousers with a darker jacket than vice versa. That's probably why so many of us have so many pants in various shades of medium gray. If your office is more business casual, and you don't have to wear a jacket, your calculations may be different.

    And a last piece of advice: Don't buy your whole business wardrobe all at once. Buy a small selection to get started, and see how the pieces wear over the first month or two. Sometimes the quirks of clothing appear only after a few long days at work.

    Good luck!
     
  10. djs5150

    djs5150 Active Member

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    Thank you! I'm a school teacher and couldn't buy my whole business wardrobe at once if I wanted ha! We are generally "business casual" whatever that means anymore. It seems in the world of education it means over sized dockers, a polo, and some of the worst "dress" shoes I've ever seen.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2015
  11. philosophe

    philosophe Senior member

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    Thanks for doing the good work! Which grade(s)? And watch out for those damned whiteboard markers on your decent clothes.
     
  12. djs5150

    djs5150 Active Member

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    Thank you, I do appreciate it! I teach 6th-8th. Those whiteboard markers will definitely get you. I've had to invest in those stain pens for that exact reason.
     
  13. johng70

    johng70 Senior member

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    I will again second the advice that dark color cottons fade through washing. If you're going to mix: some pants wool, some cotton - make the wool your darker colors.
     
  14. super1flavor

    super1flavor Senior member

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    I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. There are occasionally good things about SF, but this is the typical thread that leaves me scratching my head drinking my morning coffee. That said, after many years of fighting the urge to own a pair of black pants, I recently made the plunge and bought a really nice 100% cotton (Caruso) pair and they have worked beautifully in my wardrobe. They actually work best for casual wear, which I know is a complete contradiction to the formality of black. They look awesome with a t-shirt and sneakers and were exactly what I needed to offset the jeans days (dark jeans). I don't wear green, or really anything other than grey's and navy. Never ever khaki. I have two pairs of casual cotton navy pants, one pair a 5 pocket type (J Brand) and a pair of Canali navy blue chinos, but every time I wear the navy blue, I feel like the postal worker and despite people saying black shoes work with navy, it looks terrible with the chinos (only my higher quality wool navy suits). As someone else stated in this thread, blue washes weird and with some fading actually do not look good at all. Even though the Canali navy are high quality cotton (and dye) they still look worn out. Navy is my favorite color, but for whatever reason, navy chinos just aren't something I like anymore. I guess the color pallet depends on your geography. Living in NYC you need a pair of black pants, preferably chinos or for others, black jeans to offset the formality of, well, everything. New York City is an inherently formal environment. It's also the same place that you can wind up in a meeting uptown and then in a bar in the LES. Navy chinos work ok uptown (barely), but look terrible in a bar on the LES or a gallery in Chelsea. This goes back to my comment on a dark navy suit and grey suit for NYC theory which I wrote in another thread, but the point is pants on here. Black chinos worn casually look good in both a "downtown" professional setting as well as throwing on a grey sport coat for the evening.

    Edit: Would I do a black suit? Never!
    Edit Edit: Another SF approved look, which I feel is entirely absurd is navy and grey. I did the "SF approved security guard look" and it was dumb. Even with the nicest stuff, perfectly tailored, wearing a navy blazer and grey trousers (and vice versa) looked dumb. Rather just wear the whole navy or grey suit, you know. The point is, navy pants really don't go with much, wear as, I am already finding the black trousers pair well with the three different grey jackets/blazers I own. Something about it looks more cohesive.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2015
  15. SirReveller

    SirReveller Senior member

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    More people should wholeheartedly agree w me :p

    I have 14 suits..two are black. One HB plain ol'black and one Canali with lighter pinstriping. Would they look better "at night"? Yeah I guess, but during winter it's dark at 8am and dark at 4pm. Do they look cool with a white shirt or any BB blue w/e pattern? Def. (If you think you look like a waiter...well...cant help ya there. Maybe you need a new watch or shades or black shoes or something.)

    Personally I think dudes like navy or charcoal + brown shoes so much this is basically what you see alllll the time. Sure this is a pleasing color combo and I also do it a ton but it's pretty damn ubiquitous at this point. Nice to switch it up a bit from time to time.
     

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