Curious as to all the different types of pants for men. Here’s our list.
Most popular types of mens’ pants (chart)
Common pants are styles worn by both men and women.
=> See unisex pant styles here. Common unisex pants are:
- Hiking pants
- Rain pants
The following are types of pants worn by men (mostly) in alphabetical order.
1. Bell Bottoms
Also known as sailor pants, flares, or flared pants, bell bottoms are strongly associated with 1960s counterculture, especially the counterculture in the U.S. The look is so linked to the decade, you probably think these pants were invented by teenagers in the 1960s. And you’d probably be shocked to learn that actually, these famously rebellious pants were created for the military.
Flared pant styles began in the late 1800s. They were created by sailors in the U.S. Navy. It seems unbelievable now, but there were no strict uniform standards for the Navy at this time and sailors could experiment with different styles, according to the European Fashion Heritage Association.
The flared pants caught on and soon enough, the British Royal Navy was also wearing flared pants. They made the pants an official part of the uniform. The pants were popular because the wide, flared leg bottoms were easy to roll up. This was a needed feature for sailors, who were often getting wet while onboard a ship. They could roll their pants up to keep them dry and be more comfortable when they went below deck.
The pants continued to be in use by sailors into the 1960s when they caught on in popular fashion and soon became the iconic look of the decade.
Bell bottom pants fit closely around the waist, rear end, and thighs, flaring out from the knee down to ankle length. As the style became more popular, variations and changes were made to bell bottoms.
Pants trends have changed over the succeeding decades as new styles have been introduced, but flared pants are still seen. They’ve now reached classic status, which means they’re never actually out of style because they’re cool and retro. In other words, wear at will! Bell bottoms will always be a cool look.
Loon pants were bell bottoms with extremely flared bottoms.
Elephant bells were flared pants that were extra long at the bottom. Platform shoes were popular in the 1970s and the long elegant bell pants style was made to provide extra coverage for those who wore tall shoes. Usually, elephant bells were made of denim.
2. Bootcut Pants
Though the boot cut is most associated with bootcut jeans because it was used in jeans first, all types of pants now use this design. When and how this cut was invented is a little uncertain but one thing is not: this is one of the most popular types of pants and it’s likely you own at least one pair of this style.
Fashion experts give credit to Lee’s, the well-known jeansmaker, for inventing bootcut jeans. it’s agreed that the boot cut was created for cowboys, who needed the fit so they could continue wearing their famous footwear: cowboy boots. However, the date on when the bootcut was invented varies depending on who you ask.
But if you ask Levi’s, the bootcut jean was invented in the 1960s by young people who split the seams of their straight-leg jeans and inserted fabric to make the leg openings wider.
Bootcut pants fit well around the waist down to the knees. From here, they widen slightly all the way to the hems. No matter how they were invented, bootcut pants are here to stay as a standard style choice that is still widely worn today.
Breeches have undergone a style evolution unlike any other type of pants. Today, breeches are popular equestrian attire. However, it took a long time for them to get there.
Breeches date to the 1500s, when they were worn as an undergarment. Eventually, the word “breeches” was used to refer to any type of outer garment worn on the lower half of the body. Sometime after that, breeches became a set of knee-length pants.
Today, breeches are close-fitting, stretchy pants that cover the body from the waist to the ankles. There are some variations of breeches: knee-patch, full seat, and Kentucky. These different types of breeches have padding around the knees and sometimes, elsewhere in the design. This fabric is used to improve saddle grip, according to the Maryland Equestrian.
4. Cargo Pants
They started as military pants but now, cargo pants are pretty much everything pants. You can get them in long versions, short versions, every color and pattern you might want. But it was only through sheer luck that cargo pants made it into popular fashion.
The British military needed to make their British dress uniforms (BDUs) more practical. They added a single patch pocket to the design but they didn’t do it well. The pocket was the wrong size and couldn’t be easily used anyway.
Even so, the U.S. military saw something they liked. The design was adopted and adapted into paratrooper pants, which are more like standard cargo pant styles we all know and wear.
After WWII, cargo pants became a standard issue for almost all military branches, according to GQ. Now, they’re a classic style that remains popular today.
Cargo pants, which are also called tactical pants, have two large storage pockets, one on each leg, and often have additional extra pockets as well.
Cargo pants are great when you want to go hiking or trekking, in part because they are made with sturdy fabrics and are loose and baggy to make them more comfortable. You can move freely in a pair of cargo pants, which is perfect when you’re involved in any type of outdoor activity. In addition, the pockets are great for holding the extra equipment that you often have with you when you’re participating in these types of outdoor activities.
Cargo pants are sometimes called combat pants and their large side pockets set them apart from other types of pants. They are casual, very loose-fitting pants that are popular both with men who participate in a lot of outdoor activities and for those who wish to be both comfortable and fashionable at the same time. They offer many advantages besides comfort and they are made in a variety of colors as well in addition to a range of shorts lengths that are made for warmer weather.
Read our “Are Cargo Pants Out of Style?” article.
5. Carpenter Pants
Carpenter pants are designed for durability and practicality. They are loose and flexible, so you can squat and bend easily while wearing them. Carpenter pants also have tabs, loops and pockets made to hold various tools and pieces of gear that carpenters and other professionals need.
Usually, carpenter pants are also boot cut pants. Since these are work pants, it’s likely you’ll wear them with work boots. Carpenter pants are made for durability, so they are often reinforced with extra stitching and may even have extra materials in the knees and other high-wear areas, according to WiseGeek.This style can always be worn as men’s casual pants.
Chaps aren’t so much a type of pants but a type of pants covering. Chaps are really any piece of leather used to cover up a pair of jeans. And while chaps today are made from all sorts of materials and worn in all kinds of ways, they didn’t begin as a fashion accessory.
Chaps were used by cowboys for completely practical reasons. The leather provides protection for legs while riding on horseback. Bushes, trees, tall grasses, and other vegetation can cause rips and tears in jeans and in the legs underneath. Heavy chaps add safety.
The leather pant coverings also worked well for wranglers and ranchers who routinely managed animals. Kicking calves and horses, for instance, pose a little less threatening when you’ve got an extra layer of protection.
There’s another benefit to wearing chaps: dirt. Chaps help keep jeans cleaner, protecting them from dirt, mud, and debris, according to Pioneer Woman.
Batwing chaps have an open lower leg design that inspired the name of this variation. This allows more air to get to the legs and makes it easier to stay flexible and move around.
Shotgun chaps were very popular in the late 1800s, particularly among working cowboys, according to American Cowboy. Shotgun chaps have a closed leg design with a zipper. This protects the pants and legs under the chaps from snow, rain, and pests.
Woolies are woolen chaps that are usually made with fleece. They’re lined with canvas for durability and moisture-resistance. Woolly chaps are used for warmth and insulation in cold, wet climates.
Related: 10 Leather Pants Styles
Chinos have been a style staple in men’s fashion for more than a century and it doesn’t look like they’re going to stop being trendy anytime soon. Chinos are available in a huge range of colors and patterns. That’s why it may surprise you to learn that actually, chinos were the original khakis.
Sir Harry Lumsden is credited with creating the color khaki. He was stationed in India at the time and didn’t like his white uniform pants. He mixed together several materials that were readily available in India in 1848: coffee, mulberries and curry. He mixed them together and created a new shade of brown that he dubbed khaki. This is the Hindi word for “dust.”
The color was a perfect camouflage in the arid landscape and, as it turns out, highly fashionable besides.
From Khaki to Chino
The khaki color was soon adopted by the U.S. military. Soldiers wore the color while stationed in the Philippines during the Spanish-American war of 1898. They started calling the khaki-colored pants “chinos” because they were made from Chinese twill cotton. The word came from the Spanish for “China,” according to Brooks Brothers.
The pants were still part of the uniform at the end of WWII four decades later. Men returning from war wore the pants, which became a common sight in men’s fashion. The look quickly gained popularity with civilians as well. Soon, chinos were a common sight on men all over the U.S.
After reaching their heyday in the 1960s, chinos faded from popularity as bolder fashions and brighter colors took over the fashion scene in the 1970s and 1980s.
Chinos made a comeback in the 1990s but with a whole new look. The new generation of chinos exploded in an array of colors with a slim fit design. Chinos have remained popular ever since and now they’re a classic fashion choice for any well-dressed man.
Made mostly from synthetic fiber and cotton, these pants offer both a stylish look and great comfort. Although they can be worn in a casual atmosphere, they are most often associated with dressier occasions and are usually worn with a nice dressy shirt or T-shirt. They make a great men’s dress pant style when paired with the right shoes and shirt.
They are similar to khaki pants except that chinos have hidden stitches for a more finished look. They also tend to have a much slimmer cut than khakis, giving them a much dressier and formal look in the end.
Khaki pants are usually made of cotton or cotton twill and are extremely comfortable. One of the biggest advantages of wearing khakis is that they are not only very stylish but they also look great with any type of shirt you wear with them. They can be worn in both casual and more formal settings. Khakis are made in chino styles as well as other pant styles, including pleated trousers.
In fact, many men wear khakis on “casual Friday” at their workplace because they go great with collared shirts and those with company logos on them.
8. Corduroy Pants
Corduroy is a durable fabric made of woven yarns and vertical ribs or wales. It may be piece-dyed or patterned and named according to its number of wales per inch.
Everyone has mixed feelings about corduroy. Some fashionistas say it’s tacky, while others say it’s an absolute must. But the truth is, corduroy has a soft feel and a recognizable look that makes it a style staple everyone hates to love and loves to hate.
Corduroy is one of the oldest styles on this list in some ways. The direct fabric ancestor of corduroy was a material called fustian, which was created in the ancient Egyptian city of Fustat in 200 B.C.E.
The soft fabric became incredibly trendy during the medieval period when Italian merchants brought the fabric to European nobles. They loved the soft, warm fabric. Corduroy quickly became a favorite of King Henry VIII. However, the reputation of the fabric changed when it became associated with British factory workers in the 1700s, who wore it to stay warm on chilly England days.
It wasn’t until academics and beatniks of the 1960s rediscovered corduroy that the material became hot again. They loved corduroy pants as an alternative to denim jeans and chinos, according to Brooks Brothers Magazine.
9. Dickies Pants
Dickies is a brand name, but they have become so synonymous with a certain style of pants it’s impossible not to include them on this list. In fact, the very word “Dickies” can be used to substitute for the word “pants!”
The Dickies company was formed in 1918 as the U.S. Overall Company. Soon, Dickies became the largest manufacturer of workwear in the world. Dickies makes many items of clothing, but the pants are still the most recognizable.
Dickies are recognizable for their straight-leg, pleated style. Dickies pants, sometimes also called work pants, have belt loops, back pockets, and hip pockets. You’ll most frequently see Dickies pants in khaki and navy blue.
Fatigue pants, or simply fatigues, are one of the most recognizable pant styles in fashion. That’s because, for a long time, the U.S. Army used these pants to outfit all their soldiers. So when the look caught on, it really caught on.
The best-known type of fatigue pants in history is probably the OG-107. The “OG” stands for olive green. This style was first created in 1952 and worn by active servicemembers until 1981.
These famous fatigues were lightweight but tough, made in 8.5-ounce cotton material. The design has two large front patch pockets, two rear patch pockets with button flap closures, and adjustment tabs for sizing.
11. Flat Front Pants
Flat-front pants go very well with people who are slim. They work best if you try them on before buying them so that you get the perfect fit and they look good for both casual and more formal occasions. If the pair of pants you purchase has no pleats in them, this is an indication that they are flat-front pants and they come in a wide variety of colors and materials to suit everyone’s preferences and tastes.
Look back at styles from the 1930s, those cool guys with the hats and the swagger, and you’ll see that they’re wearing pleated pants. But in modern times, flat front pants are much more stylish. Pleated looks are now considered old-fashioned.
Any type of pants without pleats is a flat front pant, according to Modern Gentleman Magazine.
Jodhpurs are the classic equestrian pants that everyone imagines when they think of horse riding and other horseback activities. These pants are somewhat baggy around the thighs and more fitted on the legs. This is because they’re often paired with knee-high boots, which is a classic choice for horseback riding.
Jodhpurs were invented in western India. In fact, the pants are named after the city of Jodhpur. The sport of polo, which is played on horseback, originates in India. Equestrian activities are popular here and they were particularly popular in the 1800s, when the pants were invented by the Maharaja of Idar and the Regent of Jodhpur, Sir Pratup Singh, according to the Gentleman’s Gazette.
He traveled to England to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee celebration, bringing his Jodhpur polo team with him. The team was of course wearing his new equestrian breeches design and the British loved the new style. Jodhpurs quickly caught on with equestrians around the globe.
Joggers are also known as jogger pants. However, you probably know them by their more popular name: sweatpants. For a long time, these pants were only for hanging out at home or going to the gym. But more recently, sweatpants have become incredibly chic.
Sweatpants are typically made with soft fabric in a somewhat baggy design with an elastic waistband and elastic at the ankles. In modern men’s fashion, sweatpants are the perfect way to show off another huge style element: basketball shoes, according to Business Insider.
14. Pleated Pants
If you want a classic fit and sophisticated look, pleated pants are the way to go. These pants are very popular with men of all ages and worn for any occasion. So whether you’re just hanging out with a few friends or attending a meeting at your office, pleated pants will help you look good and feel good. The pleats in these pants are only visible at the top part of the pants in the front and the pants can have a single pleat, three pleats, or more.
More often than not, there are two popular types of pleats: forward pleats, which come from an English tailoring background and consist of pleats that open inwards towards the fly seam of the pants; and reverse pleats, which open outwards towards the pants’ pockets and are more associated with an Italian style of tailoring.
If you are heavier than usual or extra stocky, pleated pants can make you look smaller and they tend to be more comfortable when you’re sitting down, which is a big advantage. Because of their flexibility, comfort, and roominess, pleated pants are not likely to lose popularity anytime soon.
Pleated pants were once the stylish pants type that every well-dressed man owned. Pleats are not the same as creases. Pleats are created when the fabric is folded over, while a crease is a sharp line put in clothing with an iron.
Pleated pants were the go-to look in men’s fashion from the 1930s through the 1950s. The look faded from popularity in the 1960s but has since regained some of its fashion creds.
15. Plus Fours
Plus fours started as a variation on knickers but became a popular look on their own and soon, became an iconic style for golfers around the world.
Plus fours are knickers that had four extra inches added to them. The style first appeared in the 1920s and quickly became a hot look. Like knickers, plus fours were fastened with a band at the knee. The extra four inches of fabric created a distinct silhouette. The look quickly caught on with sportsmen, golfers in particular.
After Edward VIII wore plus fours during his trip to the U.S. in 1924, plus fours replaced knickers as the popular style. Golfers embraced the style and soon, plus fours were part of fashion. You’ll still see golfers wearing this distinct style on the fairways and greens of the course.
16. Suit Pants
According to the Gentleman’s Gazette, the man’s suit can trace its origins to Beau Brummell. He lived in England in the 1800s and was, reportedly, the first to wear long pants and a matching coat that had very little ornamentation. The two items were made with the same fabric to create a matched set.
Throughout fashion history, it’s the coat that has been the main style element of the suit. Usually, suit pants are straight-legged and have a crease. Sometimes, they have a cuff at the bottom. They may also be pleated or flat-front. The height of the waistline and the width of the legs of suit pants has changed over time, in keeping with the popular trends of the day. For example, suit pants in the 1930s sat much higher on the waist than suit pants worn by men today. Suit pants may also be called dress pants or dress trousers.
17. Tobi Pants
Tobi pants are traditional in Japan, where they’re extremely popular. These pants have an interesting cultural place in Japan and a unique look that immediately stands out.
Tobi pants are commonly worn by construction workers in Japan. The pants have become popular with Japanese subcultures and they are frequently seen in Tokyo, according to Esquire.
A variation of knickerbockers, Tobi pants are very loose pants that are billowy in the legs and then cinched at the ankle. All the fabric makes it easy to move in them and provides protection.