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Sources of trouser inspiration: pale chinos

Boggis

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I'm trying to up my trouser game with respect to casual wear. Essentially for casual wear I basically wear jeans and I'm looking to broaden my horizons. I've earmarked a pair of olive green chinos which I think would work great with a blue oxford shirt.
However beyond that I think a paler colour pair of chinos (beige / sandy / stone) would add some diversity to my wardrobe.

Can anyone suggest sources of inspiration as to holistic casual outfits I could pair with lighter coloured trousers? I dunno where people typically look for this sort of inspiration.
 

breakaway01

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Color-wise, you can wear almost anything with stone or tan/beige chinos. Hard actually to imagine something that definitely would not work.
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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Beige chinos are pretty much the backbone of business casual, no? It's the tofu of pants -- it goes with anything, but can also be kind of bland tasting.

If you're going to buy tan chinos, it helps to pay attention to the details. Knockaround chinos are the sort you find at J. Crew. They often have puckered side seams and a lower waist. Sort of this vibe

tumblr_m9sko3vGdh1qa2j8co2_r1_500.jpg




There are also workwear chinos, which are typically made from a heavier fabric and may come with some repro workwear details. Can be worn with workwear -- chambray work shirts, trucker jackets, work boots, etc.

tumblr_m9sko3vGdh1qa2j8co6_r2_500.jpg




Then there are tailored chinos, which are made from cotton, but have cleaner single needle seams and a higher waist. Good for tailored jackets, but need to be dry cleaned because of the construction and styling.

tumblr_m9sko3vGdh1qa2j8co4_540.jpg



Personally think it's better if you start with an aesthetic you like and work towards that -- Americana, prep, workwear, contemporary, avant garde, etc. Rather than start with an item and think about how to style it.
 

Boggis

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Personally think it's better if you start with an aesthetic you like and work towards that -- Americana, prep, workwear, contemporary, avant garde, etc. Rather than start with an item and think about how to style it.
That's a helpful view thanks. In terms of aesthetic I guess I know what I don't want, but don't have a firm vision of what I'm after. For example I'm trying to avoid looking like an American office worker I.e. this:
B3-BE977_ODBS41_574RV_20180723181508.jpg


Of the example photos you provided, the first two are certainly worth considering as styles to ponder. The tailored look in the third photo is far smarter than what I'm after though.
Any suggestions on where to look for more photos for inspiration of the first two styles?
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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That's a helpful view thanks. In terms of aesthetic I guess I know what I don't want, but don't have a firm vision of what I'm after. For example I'm trying to avoid looking like an American office worker I.e. this:
View attachment 1571489

Of the example photos you provided, the first two are certainly worth considering as styles to ponder. The tailored look in the third photo is far smarter than what I'm after though.
Any suggestions on where to look for more photos for inspiration of the first two styles?
I agree, that office worker look is not great.

Personally, once you leave the world of tailored jackets -- suits and sport coats -- I find a lot of CM styled casualwear kind of bland and boring. A lot of it is basically adjacent to that office worker look. This is the problem with CM -- without a tailored jacket, it's business casual, and business casual is not very satisfying to wear. I find that a lot of guys end up in the same "tailored" safari jackets, Gurkha trousers, Belgian shoes type stuff. It's very "internet sartorial." Or they wear Brooks Brothers/ Zegna type casualwear, which is to say v-neck sweaters with chinos and loafers.

Normally don't like posting stuff I've written because it seems gross and self-promotional, but it's easier for me to post these links than rewrite the posts. You may find these helpful




Without a tailored jacket, I would explore some more distinctive casualwear wardrobes, what some here would describe as "SWD" (the other side of this forum). There are some CM casual looks that I think work, but it's limited.

Simon at Permanent Style also once wrote a post about casualwear, but I'm tepid on many of the looks like American prep and "Italian smooth." To me, this is just the casualwear you see at Brooks Brothers, which is ... basically not that far off from that office drone look.

 

Boggis

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Those articles were interesting @dieworkwear , thanks. Certainly helping to crystallize more what I'm after.

I guess my casual wardrobe currently resembles the "basic bastard" and I'm fine with that, but want to expand horizons a bit. While I like elements of workwear, I think it's not a "look" I'm willing to buy into completely. Similarly, there's elements of what you've called "Reworked Classic Casualwear" and "Refined Casualwear" that do appeal to me, but I'm unlikely to buy into either as a complete look.

The American preppy look doesn't appeal to me, but funnily enough I'm more comfortable with the Italian smooth look Simon refers to. I wonder if these two looks are just subtly different regional variants of the same overall vibe? The preppy look doesnt appeal because, being based in Europe, I would stand out, whereas the smooth Italian look feels more natural to me. I can see the dangers of falling into the office worker look, but that at least gives me something to work on I.e. make a list of things that push it too far in the office direction (gilet, check pattern shirt) and avoid like the plague! I'm not sure smooth Italian is a commonly used term though, so I guess I'll just need to look up the brands he's mentioned for inspiration photos.

The English country look in Simon's article is a big nono for me. For me that look is only acceptable if you live rurally, putting that on as a city dweller is costumey in my book.

I do have an interest in adding a tailored jacket to the casual wardrobe at some stage soon, but there's a minefield to walk there in terms of regional prejudices to that type of garment I.e. definitely want to avoid the "friendly and eccentric but slightly racist old guy" vibe and also the "middle age gammon" vibe that can often be associated with a tailored jacket around these parts.

4862D68A00000578-5315281-image-a-11_1516952347483.jpg
 

breakaway01

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I know I've said this a lot, but if you're starting out, you have to go out and try stuff on in person. You will make many mistakes buying online at first, and with casualwear especially it can be difficult to go off measurements. Some things look better slightly oversized/slouchy - how much is 'just right' can be difficult to tell without trying them on and comparing sizes in person. There are details that sometimes can be hard to discern from online pictures (in the case of chinos -- fabric weight, seams, washing) that set the garment apart from officewear. How the fabric feels and behaves is very very important, and again these can only be appreciated when you have the garment in hand.
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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Those articles were interesting @dieworkwear , thanks. Certainly helping to crystallize more what I'm after.

I guess my casual wardrobe currently resembles the "basic bastard" and I'm fine with that, but want to expand horizons a bit. While I like elements of workwear, I think it's not a "look" I'm willing to buy into completely. Similarly, there's elements of what you've called "Reworked Classic Casualwear" and "Refined Casualwear" that do appeal to me, but I'm unlikely to buy into either as a complete look.

The American preppy look doesn't appeal to me, but funnily enough I'm more comfortable with the Italian smooth look Simon refers to. I wonder if these two looks are just subtly different regional variants of the same overall vibe? The preppy look doesnt appeal because, being based in Europe, I would stand out, whereas the smooth Italian look feels more natural to me. I can see the dangers of falling into the office worker look, but that at least gives me something to work on I.e. make a list of things that push it too far in the office direction (gilet, check pattern shirt) and avoid like the plague! I'm not sure smooth Italian is a commonly used term though, so I guess I'll just need to look up the brands he's mentioned for inspiration photos.

The English country look in Simon's article is a big nono for me. For me that look is only acceptable if you live rurally, putting that on as a city dweller is costumey in my book.

I do have an interest in adding a tailored jacket to the casual wardrobe at some stage soon, but there's a minefield to walk there in terms of regional prejudices to that type of garment I.e. definitely want to avoid the "friendly and eccentric but slightly racist old guy" vibe and also the "middle age gammon" vibe that can often be associated with a tailored jacket around these parts.
My feeling is that you can avoid the worst associations with certain styles by just being a good person. I think we each bring our own personalities, backgrounds, behaviors, etc to what we wear, and that changes the meaning of how we look.

I think that "Italian smooth" look (terrible term, but I suppose ... works), is proabbly the easiest for a lot of guys because it's somewhat aspirational (I mean, it's "Italian smoooooth"). But it's also common enough to not stick out. I would just caution that one should be realistic about that looks. I think some guys buy that stuff thinking they look like a smooth Italian, but they just end up looking like every other office drone in the city.

My suggestion is to buy some basics that can serve as a foundation of springboard. And then use that platform to play around with different looks. See what makes you feel good and comfortable; dabble here and there. Don't start out with a vision of how your wardrobe will look in totality, let it be a sort of dabbling. Some things are very useful -- jeans, chinos, grey flannel trousers, white sneakers, plain navy Shetland sweater, etc -- and they can stay with you even as your style changes and evolves. You don't have to set out a goal for yourself in terms of a wardrobe and move towards that without veering. It can be a growing process. So maybe buy some things in that "Basic Bastard" look and let your style evolve as you dabble.
 

Boggis

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I know I've said this a lot, but if you're starting out, you have to go out and try stuff on in person. You will make many mistakes buying online at first, and with casualwear especially it can be difficult to go off measurements. Some things look better slightly oversized/slouchy - how much is 'just right' can be difficult to tell without trying them on and comparing sizes in person. There are details that sometimes can be hard to discern from online pictures (in the case of chinos -- fabric weight, seams, washing) that set the garment apart from officewear. How the fabric feels and behaves is very very important, and again these can only be appreciated when you have the garment in hand.
I wish this wasn't true as the shops are still closed (COVID) and I hate shopping anyway... but I suspect you're right. Particularly with regards to chino's where it seems very subtle differences can land me in office territory.

Formal wear is just so much easier to navigate, but I almost never have occasions to wear a suit these days!
 

TheIronDandy

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My feeling is that you can avoid the worst associations with certain styles by just being a good person. I think we each bring our own personalities, backgrounds, behaviors, etc to what we wear, and that changes the meaning of how we look.
This.

Also, I think most looks, even the dreaded "Italian office drone" look, can look decent if it's put together using well fitting, high quality clothes with attention to detail. What really makes "smart casual" so horrible is that it's usually neither of those things. It's mostly worn by people who know nothing about how to dress, but who have been deprived of guidance by more formal dress codes. Chinos that are too long or too short. "Contemporary" fits that only look wearable on 21yo models (and barely even then), or clothes so baggy it could be used as a tent if needed. Shoddy constructions made in sweatshops.

Getting your chinos hemmed and taken in (or out) so they actually fit, getting OCBDs in quality fabric (and wearing them until they go from cardboard stiff to buttery smooth), and combining it with a v-neck or cardigan in quality cashmere instead of low-grade, fast-fashion wool, makes a world of difference.

I think this approach also reduces the risk of looking like a gammon. The "old racist bastard" look associated with sport coats usually involves wearing a too short, too tight jacket.
 

Panama

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I don't think it's very difficult to achieve your own look. You can wear a nice pair of Chinos with an OCBD or a fine dress shirt. You can layer it with a wool or cotton waist coat or slipover under a jacket or nice sweater. I generally wear coloured Oxfords but you can go for more casual Chukkas. In the country my tan brogues come out.
 

Panama

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This.

Also, I think most looks, even the dreaded "Italian office drone" look, can look decent if it's put together using well fitting, high quality clothes with attention to detail. What really makes "smart casual" so horrible is that it's usually neither of those things. It's mostly worn by people who know nothing about how to dress, but who have been deprived of guidance by more formal dress codes. Chinos that are too long or too short. "Contemporary" fits that only look wearable on 21yo models (and barely even then), or clothes so baggy it could be used as a tent if needed. Shoddy constructions made in sweatshops.

Getting your chinos hemmed and taken in (or out) so they actually fit, getting OCBDs in quality fabric (and wearing them until they go from cardboard stiff to buttery smooth), and combining it with a v-neck or cardigan in quality cashmere instead of low-grade, fast-fashion wool, makes a world of difference.

I think this approach also reduces the risk of looking like a gammon. The "old racist bastard" look associated with sport coats usually involves wearing a too short, too tight jacket.
Only pathetic people use the G word. Grow up and join the grown ups.
 

Panama

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Those articles were interesting @dieworkwear , thanks. Certainly helping to crystallize more what I'm after.

I guess my casual wardrobe currently resembles the "basic bastard" and I'm fine with that, but want to expand horizons a bit. While I like elements of workwear, I think it's not a "look" I'm willing to buy into completely. Similarly, there's elements of what you've called "Reworked Classic Casualwear" and "Refined Casualwear" that do appeal to me, but I'm unlikely to buy into either as a complete look.

The American preppy look doesn't appeal to me, but funnily enough I'm more comfortable with the Italian smooth look Simon refers to. I wonder if these two looks are just subtly different regional variants of the same overall vibe? The preppy look doesnt appeal because, being based in Europe, I would stand out, whereas the smooth Italian look feels more natural to me. I can see the dangers of falling into the office worker look, but that at least gives me something to work on I.e. make a list of things that push it too far in the office direction (gilet, check pattern shirt) and avoid like the plague! I'm not sure smooth Italian is a commonly used term though, so I guess I'll just need to look up the brands he's mentioned for inspiration photos.

The English country look in Simon's article is a big nono for me. For me that look is only acceptable if you live rurally, putting that on as a city dweller is costumey in my book.

I do have an interest in adding a tailored jacket to the casual wardrobe at some stage soon, but there's a minefield to walk there in terms of regional prejudices to that type of garment I.e. definitely want to avoid the "friendly and eccentric but slightly racist old guy" vibe and also the "middle age gammon" vibe that can often be associated with a tailored jacket around these parts.

View attachment 1571897
Seriously? A minefield, it's just clothing. Does wearing a denim shirt imply he's been out lynching? What's this alleged racism connotation?
 

Boggis

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Seriously? A minefield, it's just clothing. Does wearing a denim shirt imply he's been out lynching? What's this alleged racism connotation?
Am I being serious? Honestly, not really. Just trying to articulate a look that doesn't appeal to me, because I don't think it looks good. I don't genuinely think there's any correlation between sports coats and racism... and I quite fancy a denim shirt myself.

As you say, it's just clothes.
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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I don't think it's very difficult to achieve your own look. You can wear a nice pair of Chinos with an OCBD or a fine dress shirt. You can layer it with a wool or cotton waist coat or slipover under a jacket or nice sweater. I generally wear coloured Oxfords but you can go for more casual Chukkas. In the country my tan brogues come out.
I will fall on my sword on this forum repeating that people should not wear oxfords outside of suits. Please, for the love of all that is holy. Stop wearing oxfords outside of suits. It looks so terrible.

Also, don't know what "colored oxfords" means, but if your leather shoes are any color except brown or black, please stop wearing those too. This includes tan.
 

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