‘In Between’ Trousers

Most men have in their wardrobe trousers which fall into one of two categories. We have formal trousers, perhaps part of a suit or something that we would wear with a tie if the occasion demanded it, and we have casual trousers. Our casual trousers might be jeans, cargo trousers or jogging bottoms; perhaps, all the above.

However, I suspect that many men have a gap in their wardrobe for ‘in between’ trousers.  I am among them. We might describe these trousers in different ways: smart casual, semi formal, or business casual. Whatever the preferred designation I am talking about trousers which are smarter than a pair of jeans or joggers but are less formal, and more comfortable, than a pair of suit trousers.

It seems to me that smart casual trousers are for many younger men largely a no go area.  If we want to be casual we opt for a pair of jeans, cargoes or joggers.  If we don’t then we get a pair of smart trousers out.  We often don’t bother with ‘in between’ trousers.

I’d like to suggest that you might want to look into it. A smart pair of trousers which are casual enough to be comfortable all day, but smart enough to dress them up if the need arises can be an incredibly useful addition to your wardrobe.

Especially for those who don’t work in an office environment, or if they do, work in a relatively informal office, smart casual trousers are a great idea. Smart casual trousers lift you above the ubiquitous jeans wearing populace and suggest that you might just be a discerning individual with a touch of style.

Plus if you find that you need to go from a casual context to a more formal one, or vice versa, with a few select changes smart casual trousers can be dressed up or dressed down as required. Here are some of my favourites:


Linen trousers are among my favourite, especially in warm weather. They are extremely comfortable, look fresh, and can be combined with a very wide range shirts.  With a polo shirt Summer Linens look incredibly chilled out.  With a smart shirt and tie they are equally at home in formal contexts.


Chinos are typically made from strong cotton fabric and have a history of usage in military uniforms. That background gives some idea of the usefulness of these trousers.

They are sufficiently hardwearing that you don’t mind wearing them in contexts in which you would hesitate to wear suit trousers, but if they can be smart enough for the military, they are definitely smart enough for you. They also happen to be enjoying a surge in popularity at the moment, and so are available in a bewildering array of colours and fits.

Sand & Winter Red chinos, Charles Tyrwhitt


Corduroy trousers, I think, have a certain je ne sais quoi about them.  Viewed by some as the preserve of the older man, cords are undoubtedly useful when the weather turns a little colder.

However, I suggest that cords are appreciated by the older man, not just because they are great for colder weather, but also because there is something quintessentially cool about them.

Cords are particularly suited to autumnal colours; you’ll struggle to get away with chocolate brown trousers in other fabrics but somehow you can pull off a pair of brown cords and still look cool.

A Sauvage Burnt Orange Cords


Moleskin is a woven twill fabric that is extremely soft on one side with a short raised surface. The name simply refers to the similarity between the softness of mole fur and the softness of this cotton fabric, which has a velvety nap that feels similar to suede. It is not made from actual mole skin.

Moleskins, like cords, are great for cooler temperatures.  However, they are also great for introducing some class to your trouser collection.  Like chinos they are durable and comfortable and are easily dressed up or down as required.  Best of all they feel great to the touch.  You might have to restrain yourself from absentmindedly caressing your own legs…

Brown Moleskins, House of Bruar

So if like me your trousers largely fall into one of two categories, casual or formal then you might want to look into some ‘in between’ trousers. Not only do they defy easy classification they add sophistication, flexibility and depth to your wardrobe.

Linens are available for under £7 from TU @ Sainsbury’s current promotion. For low priced chinos try the Debenham’s clearance sale for chinos as low as £10.50. Also try SavileRowCo for chinos from £25.  M&S moleskins start from £35 and Charles Tyrwhitt’s from 49.95.  For cords try M&S from £19.50.

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