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The Best Dress Pants for Work, Weddings and Everywhere Else

Picking the right pant isn't rocket science.

the best dress pants for work, weddings and everywhere else

Dress pants is a broad category. Unlike chinos or jeans, there is no singular definition dictating what they look like, how they fit, how they're made or what they're made of. In fact, the only thing tying the spectrum of options within the dress pants category together is their appropriateness at a wedding or at work or at any other formal get-together.

What Are Dress Pants?

Like I said, there isn't a single definition for this style. At the bare minimum, they're a step above basic blue jeans or chinos, but separate from suit and tuxedo pants, which are designed to match your chosen jacket. Dress pants, on the other hand, are meant to worn with a dress shirt and dress shoes — two more styles that, although loosely defined as well, are easy to spot when you see them. Together, this outfit works in traditional work environments, at church services, country clubs, conferences, parent-teacher catchups, school concerts, job interviews and so on and so forth.

How Should They Fit?

Although trends will rise and fall around them, your dress pants should never change. They should be properly tailored, not too short but not too long and made from a material that'll never be considered out of style. That means no adornments like branded patterns, drastic pleats or distressing, but they should not be too slim-fitting or too wide.

What Color Should They Be?

Because you probably won't be matching them with a suit jacket — but maybe a blazer or a sport coat, which are different things, folks — they can be whatever color you'd like, as long as they complement the tops and shoes you already own.

What Should I Wear Them With?

The most traditional way to wear dress pants is with a dress shirt, a tie and dress shoes. But, you could also pull them off with a simple T-shirt, perhaps a polo or even a soft sweater. Since dress pants aren't tied to a matching jacket, what you wear up top is really up to you — and the dress code of the event (or office you're in).

The Best Dress Pants for Men

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    Best Overall Dress Pants
    Bonobos Weekday Warrior Dress Pant

    For its Weekday Warrior Dress Pants, Bonobos mixes the best features from a stretchy adventure bottoms and standard suit pants. This formula yields a pre-creased dress pant that's perfectly plain, and looks far more formal than it feels. A wide array of colors to choose from helps you match them to the shirts you already own, and several fit options help offer personalized sizing.

    Best upgrade dress pants
    Drake's Grey Herringbone Trouser

    If you look back at what men wore in the 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s, you'd be hard pressed to find skinny-fit pants. They were all what we now call regular-fit or even wide-fit — or sometimes called straight-fit. They had room in the thighs, tapered down toward the ankle and had pleats that raised the fabric up off the skin. Drake's Herringbone Trousers, seen here in grey, are a lot like these older pants. They're perfectly retro, if you will. Made in Italy from 100 percent wool, these pants are super durable yet plenty luxe.

    Best budget dress pants
    Uniqlo Smart 2-Way Stretch Pants

    Uniqlo's softer approach to classic slacks results in a pair of dress pants with two-way stretch, so you'll never feel constricted. There's an elastic waistband, creases on both the front and back and the pants are cropped at the ankle, creating a more modern silhouette.

    Best dress pants for a casual office
    Everlane The Athletic Fit Performance Chino

    In most offices, chinos are OK. But some folks feel khakis are too casual. In place, try Everlane's everyday pant, The Athletic Fit Performance Chino. It's essentially a chino, but it's made with enough elastane to give it a dressy edge. Plus, it comes in a half-dozen colors and three fits, athletic, slim and other.

    Best dress pants for commuters
    Rhone Commuter Pant

    Do you ride your bike to work each morning? What about a 2.5 mile walk instead? Have you tried scootering? No matter your method, if you're a commuter, these are the dress pants you should wear to work. While, yes, being seen wearing wool dress pants on a vintage cruiser would be cool, wearing something more functional is the way to go. Rhone's Commuter Pants look modern, come in over a dozen colors and are made from the brand's proprietary fabric, FlexKnit, which stretches in four ways. Plus, there's a zipper pocket so your valuables aren't lost on your way in.

    Best stretch dress pants
    Wills Stretch Wool Trouser

    Although I argued that dress pants should be purchased without consideration of a jacket to match, Wills' Stretch Wool Trousers do have a matching top half. Made from a 60-40 mix of wool and polyester, these pants aren't lackluster on their own. In fact, they're a refreshing deviation from all of the deep charcoal and dark blue dress pants out there. Pair them with a black sweater or a white polo.

    Best fashion dress pants
    Noah Twill Double-Pleat Pant

    Available in five colors, Noah's Cotton Twill Double-Pleat Pants are fashionably old-fashioned. They have pronounced pleats and cropped hems and run wide.

    Best Dress Pants for Summer
    Todd Snyder Italian Linen Soft Sutton Suit Trouser

    If you're going to dress up in the summer, you need to consider the fabrics you're wearing. Linen is incredibly lightweight, and better at breathing. Some linen can be kind of scratchy, though. Todd Snyder's Sutton Suit Trousers are not. They're soft, tailored and finished with a tab closure.

    Tapered Pleated Peached-Cotton Trousers
    Best dress pants for wedding guests
    Canali Flat Front Wool Trousers

    At a semi-casual wedding, you never want to outshine the groom, but you do want to stand out still. Do it in a pair of flat front wool trousers, like these from classic clothier Canali. They're made in Italy, lined to the knee and 100 percent wool. Be warned: they come un-hemmed, so you'll have to take them to the tailor (or to a handy friend) before the big day.

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