Men, get the right trousers this winter

Bad weather, last minute Christmas shopping and escalating heating bills are some of winter’s main annoyances.

But whilst we can’t control gas prices, we can give advice on what to wear when it’s chucking it down and freezing cold.

So swot up on which mens trousers to wear this winter, and you’ll have one less thing to worry about.

Thermal trousers

cj_cotton chinos_graphite portrait large
Trust us, they’re thermal
Staying warm is a certainty with thermal trousers. Some options even have a windproof fleece lining, while others feature a lining designed to capture warm air.

Staying warm needn’t mean your trouser choice has to change either. Mens thermal trousers are available in many styles including jeans, suit trousers and chinos.

For some, thermal trousers can be too warm. But for lovers of the outdoors, particularly walkers, they are a winter staple.

Waterproof trousers

Bear Grylls filming Man Vs. Wild. Patagonia, Argentina
If Bear Grylls wears them, so should youFlickr
Green fingered folk know that a garden still needs attention in the winter. Waterproof trousers allow you to tend to your garden in the colder months, so preparing for the spring can be done without soggy legs.

Any type of trouser can be worn underneath waterproofs, but ideally wear a pair that have a high cotton or wool content. Trousers made with man made fabrics won’t breathe as well, making you hot and sweaty.

Cord trousers

Needle Cords Stack Colourful
So bright, you can save on your lighting
Corduroy is made with a high concentration of cotton yarn stitched onto a backer. Due to this extra fabric, cord trousers are a hardwearing option that can cope with the winter.

The dullness of winter can often get people down, in fact some poor folk get SAD. But with mens cord trousers, there are bright myriad shades available. Plum, claret or vibrant emerald will stop the dark days from being dull.

As well as being colourful and hard wearing, cord trousers are highly breathable because of their high cotton content.

Moleskin trousers

James Bond moleskin trousers
So hardwearing, Bond wears them
Easy and Elegant Life
Just like cord, moleskin trousers are hard-wearing, breathable and come in an array of colours.

Unlike cord however, they do not have the signature ridges, but instead a brush like texture akin to suede. And don’t worry, moleskin fabric is made without harming any cute soil dwelling critters.

Moleskin is so durable and hard-wearing, that the West German Army used it for their uniforms for over thirty years. And if it was good enough for marching through the Cold War then it is good enough for winter.

Whatever trousers you choose for the winter, just remember that cotton is breathable and waterproof trousers let you wear almost anything! But if you’re still worried about the heating bill, then add thermal trousers to your last minute shopping list.

Should you wear red trousers?

In a recent survey, participants were shown a man in red trousers and were asked to say the first thing that came to mind.

The results highlighted their controversial status and raised the question: should a mean ever wear red trousers.

Lots of men in red trousers landscape
All the red trousers
Source: Lost at E Minor
But with cool hipsters and society’s “elite” championing the questionable hue, we wonder if there a case to be made for red trousers?

Why shouldn’t you wear red trousers?

justin_bieber_red_vest_red_trousers
Oh baby you look like a moron!
Source: Posh 24

Because the survey said so! 46% of those questioned in the YouGov survey, didn’t like red gents trousers. 120 people said “red” on seeing a picture, which doesn’t show a lot. But the third most used word was “idiot” (44) and “prat” (27) wasn’t far behind.

But if it’s your fear of being labelled posh that stops you donning your red trousers, fear no more! Whilst you might [italics]think[italics] people associate red trousers with posh folk playing golf, you’re wrong. Posh was only the 35th most submitted word

What is certain, however, is many find red too bright for the world of muted menswear.Lisa Armstrong, fashion editor of the Daily Telegraph says, “It’s very hard to wear them and not look like a giant chilli pepper.”

Why should you wear red trousers?

will-smith-premiere-after-earth- red suit
Will Smith looking fresh in red
Source: Ace Showbiz
Hipsters are often the source of experimental fashion trends, so for them, red trousers are just a stylish staple. But what about the rest of us?

You’re never too old to have fun with fashion, so we think everyone should try the red trouser trend. It’s a refreshingly bold change from the usual grey, black and navy menswear offerings and will help spice up your winter wardrobe. But if red is too bold for you, go for orange instead – a surefire hit for AW13.

If you needed further proof that red trousers can be fashionable, then look at this Pinterest board.

Red trousers you can wear

Red chinos
The soft casual red trouser look
Chinos are the number one option for red trouser wearers, and are surprisingly versatile. For a day in the country, wear with a tweed jacket and a checked shirt. And if people see that as “elite” then remind them that the survey proved red trousers aren’t just for posh people.

Slim fit red chinos work with a t-shirt for general casual wear. But for those that don’t like slim fitting clothes, wear straight leg chinos, with a casual tucked in shirt.

Red trousers are undoubtedly divisive. Like Marmite you either love them or hate them. Hipsters love them, 46% of the UK hate them. But if you ask us, red trousers look great, as long as you’re name isn’t Justin Bieber.

Why do postmen always wear shorts?

The rain has come, the chill is upon us and the shorts have been packed away. Unless, of course, you are a postman.

Rain, hail and even snow cannot deter the hardiest of postmen from wearing their shorts.

Bierley_Newport_Road_post_box_snow
The famous frosty postbox
Source: Wikimedia
So why does the posty keep showing off his knobbly knees, even when the rest of us are shivering away in thermal long johns?

The history of the uniform

Postman's knock portrait
The famous “knock”
Source: The British Postal Museum and Archive
Postmen haven’t always worn shorts. Traditionally, delivery workers, wore trousers. Just like today, red hues dominated the uniform, but things were a bit more formal back in 1973 and posties had to wear a scarlet tailcoat every day!

The first instance of lighter attire for postal workers wasn’t until 1896, when they were given a summer hat. Shorts were still nowhere to be seen.

In humid India, postal workers did wear khaki, but in 2004 opted for red and blue, like UK postal workers. But unlike UK postal workers of today, who have worn shorts since the 1940s, Indian postmen wear trousers.

Comfort

Postman_in_shorts by van
An unnamed shareholder in shorts
Source: Ashton-Under-Lyne
Walking 10 miles over 6 ½ hours is thirsty work, and would make even the fittest athlete sweat. To stop getting so hot on their rounds, postmen wear shorts. And while mens trousers with a high cotton content are breathable, they still aren’t as airy as shorts.

Postman have to walk those 10 miles even in the winter, so they still get hot from all that exercise. Even if it’s sub zero and snowing!

Safety trousers

ice treads
Essential for the British weather
Men like to compete to show how tough they are, but the big bosses don’t seem to think their postmen are that tough at all. Well at least not as tough as these people.

In Cheltenham, postal workers were banned from wearing shorts, after one slipped in icy conditions and grazed his leg. A pair of mens cord trousers may well have limited the damage, but better ice and snow treads would be even better.

The postmen in question were not happy with the attempt to ban trousers. Luckily the “ban” was lifted when the snow and ice thawed.

From the posty’s mouth

Postman Pat in named chair
Ready for your interview Mr Pat?
Source: Tennant News
To find out why postmen always wear shorts, we spoke to Leicestershire postman, Lewis Morrish.

He said “It’s not for a bet or any macho reason, but I just prefer it. When it rains I don’t have wet trousers chafing my legs, and I put on waterproof leggings if the forecast is bad.”

Shorts wearer yes, but trousers aren’t a complete no-go-area for Lewis, “I only really wear long trousers if it turns icy and slippery after snow – I don’t want to fall over and cut my knees!”

So like in Cheltenham there is a risk of injury, but is there any reason not to wear shorts? Well Lewis said, “There is nothing showing in my original contract BUT shorts are available as a catalogue item so by a logical conclusion, shorts can be worn and it doesn’t stipulate that these can only be worn on suitable occasions.”

“Basically, we have a choice!”

The Royal Mail has come a long way since 1793, when summer hats were revolutionary. And though its slightly more perilous to wear shorts in the winter, it seems that posties just find it comfier. And if you believe our postman, then there is no competition aspect to it…honest.

Give me a break – the length of men’s trousers

Michael Jackson was famous for wearing trousers that showed his socks. You might think the half masted look is a little odd, but for the moon-walking superstar, peculiar was normal.

But how should mens trousers be worn? Full break, half break or no break at all? Let’s find out.

What are breaks?

Primer trouser breaks
Because life is hard, and sometimes trousers need a break
Source: Primer Magazine
The break is where the bottom of your trouser meets your shoe, creating a fold in the cloth. A quarter break, or a half break is where there is less of a fold, but still a noticeable kink.

Longer trousers mean more than one fold or break. Go too long and your trousers will look like they don’t fit.

When there is no break, the bottom of the trouser sits perfectly at the top of the shoe around the ankle.

Suit trousers

medium Break
Suiting simplicity
Source: Effortless Gent
If it’s time for that business meeting, then you need to make sure your suit trousers touch the top of your shoes. A full break is fine, but a half or quarter break looks better.

To make sure they are the right length, look at the back of the shoe. This will take some flexibility, a mirror, or a friend. The leg of the trouser should stop just over half way down the back of the shoe.

One man famous for his socks, hasn’t quite got his break options correct. Channel 4 news reader, Jon Snow has taken the ‘no break’ thing to new levels.

on Snow socks for help the heroes
Breaking the rules for Help the Heroes
Source: Brand Rapport

Chino

Chinos with one break
Anyone afraid of red trousers?
Chinos are a versatile classic, perfect for a stroll at the weekend, and similarly suitable for the boardroom

For formal occasions, chinos should be worn with no break. As they have a loose fit, a full break will ruin the line of the trousers and deter from the smartening effect of formal shoes.

When keeping things casual with standard fit chinos, a full break will help exude relaxed vibes. To really show the shape of slim fitting chinos, wear with no break at all.

Jeans

Light Stonewash Thermal Jeans
I bet you can’t tell they are thermal jeans?
Most of us wear jeans for casual occasions, whether traditional denim, the alternative of moleskin, or lightweight cotton options. But though there are several different fabric to choose from, it’s important to get the break correct.

With no break your socks are always on show, so make sure they aren’t embarrassing ones. The safer option is to go for a half break – suitably casual, without looking too long.

When jeans are too long, with more than one break, you run the risk of soggy, frayed, disheveled hems.

Cords

Green cords with a break
Booting in the cords
Cords are hardwearing and come in an abundance of colours, but it’s important to know how to wear them.

Mens cord trousers are often worn as part of a casual country outfit. A full break is too casual for the heritage look. A simple half break will sit perfectly with a pair of comfy winter boots and similarly well with country brogues.

Cords and brogues
Kicking it in the brogues
Source: Ask Andy About Clothes

Michael Jackson was able to get away without a break, but for the rest of us, there are rules to follow. First, learn the breaks and then learn which one you need for your trousers. Get this wrong and you will look a bit peculiar, but get it right, and you’ll be the most stylish gent around.

Mens trousers you should never wear

So, you’ve got some jeans and some smart trousers and maybe a pair of jogging bottoms or two — but it feels like there’s room for something new in your wardrobe.

Somebody might have inspired you to go for something a bit alternative and daring, but this is where you need to pull back and go easy. There are some men’s trousers you should never wear.

Chaps

Chaps: Only if your Clint Eastwood
Chaps: Only if your Clint Eastwood
Source: IOPhoto

Clint Eastwood and John Wayne are two of the toughest, meanest cowboys to grace our screens and it’s hard not to be inspired by the gun-swirling, horse-riding outlaws in their chaps.

But hold it right there, Mister!

Step down from the horse, which you don’t own, get back in your house, which isn’t in the Western Frontier and take off those chaps unless you’re a cowboy.

If you walk around 21st Century Britain in chaps, people will simply think you’re on a gay fancy dress outing (which you might be, in which case: enjoy!).

PVC

Iggy Pop
Image source: Northfoto BP
Iggy Pop

Bare-chested and clad in tight and transparent PVC trousers, Iggy Pop is the Peter Pan of the rock world. With his trademark Lust for Life, he continues to fire out the hits and moves.

But before you listen to his CD and recall how good he looks (in a man to man kind of way) in those transparent PVC trousers: just don’t go there.

Iggy Pop is not a man who can be imitated. You would probably turn heads, but not in a good way.

Lycra

After the 2012 London Olympics, once-fringe sports like cycling and gymnastics have suddenly become mainstream. Armchair fans have been inspired to have a go — their first stop being to buy some sporty men’s trousers.

But slow down there.

Lycra trousers may look good on toned athletes like Louis Smith and Mark Cavendish, but they’re the professionals. Just beware of how tight you go with your trousers — tightness may protect you against physical injury, but not massive embarrassment.

Imagine if your boss or your dad saw you doing squat thrusts in the park…

Skin-tight red jeans

Since One Direction first appeared on the X Factor, a boy band renaissance has been sweeping the UK music scene. These young men own quite an impressive range of men’s trousers.

Their skin-tight jeans in shades of bright red are proving very popular with fans.

But before you go raiding your sister’s wardrobe for tiny jeans and start to cut off the blood supply to your legs, you’ll need to know something:

If you’re a teenager and in a boy band, you can get away with wearing most things. If you’re not, you will end up looking stupid and struggling to walk.

Snakeskin

Men of the desert, bounty hunters and eccentric poker players are the type of men that wear snakeskin trousers.

These men could track a guinea pig through the bush faster than it takes you to make a microwave dinner.

Cork-dangling headwear and snakeskin trousers is not a good look in the middle of Wigan. You’re much better off playing it safe when shopping for new men’s trousers.

The Wrong Trousers

As Wallace and Grommit discovered, wearing the ‘wrong trousers’ can be more than a fashion faux pas. But it appears young men continue to ignore this cautionary trouser tale.

Mens trousers have come on leaps and bounds, and we’re eager to embrace coloured chinos and skinnier fits with open arms (or rather, legs). We do, however, draw the line at some of these…

Red trousers
Image source: TK Link
Trousers bad enough to start a riot
Tartan trousers
Image source: James Creegan
Fashion icon
Skiing
Image source: Ruth Hartnup
I don’t care if you’re skiing, there’s never an excuse for these…
Oh dear
Image source: Scott Davies
Spotted on the streets of Perth… oh… dear…