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Best Casual Pants for Men: 8 Options That Go Beyond Jeans

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Updated May 26, 2024

Men’s clothing can feel depressingly limited at times—just look at the size of most stores’ men’s departments compared to the women’s section. Casual pants are a prime example, seemingly relegated to just the same old jeans and chinos. But look a little deeper, and you’ll find there are more options available than you first thought. We’ve rounded up some of our favorites in this collection of the best casual pants for men.

What to consider when buying casual pants for men

“First and foremost, you want comfort–casual pants should be comfortable!” says Patrick Burch, co-owner of Cave + Post Trading Co. men’s boutique. “Second, you want versatility, meaning something you can wear on the couch watching a football game, but also something you would wear to the office if you aren’t dressing up. Something that looks sharp or stylish but is also comfortable will check all of these boxes.”

With this in mind, CEO, style expert, interior designer, and brand ambassador Chantelle Hartman Malarkey suggests considering the following:

Fabric

“When shopping for casual pants, prioritize those made of quality cotton, linen or wool blend materials, as these provide comfort, breathability, and longevity.”

Fit

“Select a style with an ideal cut for your body type, without being overly tight or too loose. There are a few fits you can choose from, such as straight leg pants, slim fit or relaxed fit. What you choose is based on personal taste and what feels best on your body.”

Price

“You should be mindful of your budget, but I always suggest prioritizing quality over quantity when purchasing pants. Though investing in well-made pairs might cost more initially, their increased durability provides better long-term value and will prove to be a worthwhile investment over time.”

Our top picks for the best casual pants for men

Best chino casual pants for men: Hiroshi Kato The Axe Denit

If you’re looking for the best chinos for men, look no further. “These almost feel like sweatpants with their soft, stretchy cotton, but the fit makes you look fantastic,” says Burch. “Roll them up with some flip-flops for a casual day out, or wear them with a pair of Oliver Cabbell sneakers for a classy look at the office. It’s a common pant that a guy will buy in every color once he slips a pair on.”

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 29-38, 40 inch waist
  • Fabric: 71% cotton, 21% polyester, 8% polyurethane
  • Colors: 13
  • Price on publish: $219

Pros:

  • Almost denim-like appearance
  • Comfortable
  • Lots of color options

Cons:

  • Only available in one length and may require hemming

The bottom line: 

A good-looking, comfortable chino, available in a rainbow of colors.

Best chino casual pants for men
Hiroshi Kato The Axe Denit

Hiroshi Kato The Axe Denit

Best performance casual pants for men: Lululemon ABC Slim-Fit Warpstreme

While it might sound counterintuitive, performance pants are actually a good option for casual wear, especially if your idea of casual involves hectic days and nights out and about. You may be surprised that the brand behind some of the best leggings for women also has great choices for men. “Lululemon is known for providing performance pants that offer moisture wicking properties, stretchability, and ultimate comfort for active individuals,” says Malarkey. 

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 26, 28-36, 38, 40, 42, 44, 46 inch waist
  • Fabric: Warpstreme fabric (a mix of lycra and sweat-wicking yarns)
  • Colors: 12
  • Price on publish: $128

Pros:

  • Lots of color options
  • Quick-drying
  • Wrinkle-resistant

Cons:

  • A handful of customer reviews complain they’re a little too baggy for slim fit pants

The bottom line: 

Comfortable and fitted, these pants will handle just about anything that you can throw at them.

Best performance casual pants for men
ABC Slim-Fit 5 Pocket Pants 32"L Warpstreme

ABC Slim-Fit 5 Pocket Pants 32"L Warpstreme

Best khakis casual pants for men: Freenote Cloth The Deck Pant

It seems like so many khaki pants out there are just various milquetoast shades of light beige, which is a shame–—the word has its origins in meaning “soil-colored,” but those deeper shades are all too often lost. For khakis that retain a richer tone, try these Deck Pants from Freenote Cloth. “They have amazing detailing, a killer workwear-inspired look, are extremely versatile, and will last a lifetime,” enthuses Burch. 

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 30-36 inch waist
  • Fabric: 100% cotton
  • Colors: Navy, khaki, stripe
  • Price on publish: $280

Pros:

  • Classic fit
  • Roomy
  • Durable

Cons:

  • Expensive

The bottom line: 

A classic-looking, rugged khaki with a deep, rich tone.

Best khakis casual pants for men
Freenote Cloth The Deck Pant

Freenote Cloth The Deck Pant

Best jeans casual pants for men: Duer Performance Denim Slim

There are an insane number of options out there when hunting for the best jeans for men, and everyone’s taste in denim will vary. That said, we’ve been impressed with Duer’s offerings, especially their slim performance jeans, which have enough stretch to be relaxed and comfortable, but enough structure to look smart when the time comes to dress them up, especially the darker washes. Pair them with tennis shoes or Chelsea boots, and you’re halfway to a go-to outfit. 

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 28-34, 36, 38, 40 inch waist, 30, 32, 34 inch leg
  • Fabric: 70% organic cotton, 28% Coolmax all season polyester, 2% Lycra spandex
  • Colors: 7
  • Price on publish: $139

Pros:

  • Moisture-wicking
  • Anti-bacterial to help prevent odors
  • Also available in relaxed or athletic straight fit
  • Three length options

Cons:

  • Not the softest material on first wear, but quickly breaks in

The bottom line: 

Feature-stuffed and comfortable, these jeans will work for just about any occasion.

Best jeans casual pants for men
Duer Performance Denim Slim

Duer Performance Denim Slim

Best smart casual pants for men: Vuori Meta Pants

There are few words that inspire anxiety in men like “smart casual.” The phrase can mean virtually anything (although not, as we discovered, pajamas with a cummerbund), so having a reliable pair of pants to build an outfit around is a good start. Malarkey’s preference is Vuori’s Meta Pants, which she says are, “Built for adventure and movement, and perfect to take you from the office straight to dinner out or a date.” Vuori also made our list of the best joggers for men and the best hoodies for men.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 28, 30-32, 34, 36, 38 inch waist, 30, 32, 34 inch leg
  • Fabric: 100% polyester
  • Colors: 9
  • Price on publish: $128

Pros:

  • Lots of color options
  • Quick-drying
  • Anti-odor tech
  • Three length options

Cons:

  • A small number of customer reviews say that sizing is inconsistent between pairs

The bottom line: 

The ideal smart-casual pants, easily dressed up with a shirt, or dressed down with a tee or sweater.

Best smart casual pants for men
Vuori Meta Pants | Black | 34

Vuori Meta Pants | Black | 34

Best technical pants: Jack Archer Jetsetter Pants

“I love these pants!” says Malarkey. “They feel like you’re wearing sweats, but they’re great go-to pants for everything. The best part is, they will never shrink or lose their shape, and they stay wrinkle free.” Ideal for travel—especially, say, having to go straight from the airport to a work meeting or dinner with the in-laws—they’re designed to stand up to weather, washing, and whatever else you get up to.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 29-36, 38, 40 inch waist, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36 inch leg
  • Fabric: 100% PTT polyester fibers
  • Colors: Charcoal gray, deep blue, space black, stone, olive green
  • Price on publish: $99

Pros:

  • Wrinkle-free
  • Stain-repellent
  • Anti-odor
  • Anti-pilling

Cons:

  • A small minority of customer reviews complain that they run a little short

The bottom line: 

Comfortable and durable, while retaining their smart shape, this is the ideal pair of travel pants.

Best technical pants
Jack Archer Jetsetter Pants

Jack Archer Jetsetter Pants

Best work casual pants for men: Freenote Cloth Workers Chino

You might not want to work too hard in a pair of pants that cost close to $300, but if you do, you’ll certainly look good. And being heavyweight and durable, the pants themselves will hold up better than you might expect. “The detailing on these is second to none,” says Burch. “The fabrics are out of this world, and the fit and styling will make you look hip and in fashion, even while swinging a hammer.”

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 29-36, 38 inch waist
  • Fabric: 100% cotton
  • Colors: Bark, tan, army green
  • Price on publish: $280

Pros:

  • Tough
  • Classic style

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Only available in one length and may require hemming

The bottom line: 

Rugged work pants with a great blend of style and utility.

Best work casual pants for men
Freenote Cloth Workers Chino

Freenote Cloth Workers Chino

Best cargo casual pants for men: Patagonia Men’s Iron Forge Hemp Canvas Cargo Pants

Nineties nostalgia continues with the return of cargo pants as a style choice, rather than just a convenient way to store a backpack’s worth of stuff in your trousers. Patagonia, which made our list of the best men’s clothing brands, delivers a pair that split the difference between fashion and function. “For stylish yet functional cargo pants, brands such as Patagonia provide fashionable solutions featuring numerous pockets and technical features,” says Malarkey. “These pants are great for the outdoors and super durable and reliable over time.”

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 28-36, 38, 40, 42, 44 inch waist
  • Fabric: 55% industrial hemp, 27% recycled polyester, 18% organic cotton
  • Colors: Coriander brown, ink black
  • Price on publish: $89

Pros:

  • Made in a Fair Trade certified factory 
  • Practical
  • Durable

Cons:

  • A minority of customer reviews say they run a little small, especially in the waist
  • Only two color options

The bottom line: 

A tough, super-practical pair of pants that’s starting to creep back into fashion.

Best cargo casual pants for men
Patagonia Men’s Iron Forge Hemp Canvas Cargo Pants

Patagonia Men’s Iron Forge Hemp Canvas Cargo Pants

How we selected the best casual pants for men

I turned to our panel of menswear experts for advice when making the selections, but  also conducted my own thorough research, scouring customer reviews to find only those that scored highly for comfort, fit, longevity, and style.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What are casual pants?

“Casual pants used to mean those that you might wear on a ‘dress-down-Friday’ at the office,” says Burch. “Today, in the post-Covid world, casual pants pretty much refer to ‘the pants you wear all the time except when you’re forced to dress up.’ From joggers to denim, to cuffing both jeans and chinos, to boxier workwear-inspired looks, casual pants have become the norm in everyday life, even at the office.”

What pants do men wear casually?

“Jeans, chinos, and joggers,” says Burch. “These are the go-to for men. Jeans are no longer what you wear on a Saturday, they’re a fashion statement. A well-fitting pair of selvedge jeans with a flashy cuff can be as much of a fashion statement as a thousand-dollar suit (and can cost a pretty penny, too). But they last forever and look better with age.”

“Joggers and chinos are also still a go-to casual pant: Chinos with a vintage, workwear-inspired fit are back in style, and even a high-waisted cut with a cinch-back buckle have made a re-entry into menswear,” Burch continues. “Throw them on with a newsboy cap, a pair of cap-toe work boots, and a well-fitting t-shirt and you have a great look that will be the envy of the more conservative dressers. A pair of slimmer, cotton joggers or stretch chinos are also a great look with a good-looking fashion sneaker. All of these looks are now front and center for both work and play.”

What pants are the best for business casual?

“Chino pants make for great business casual wear,” says Melony Huber, co-founder of ethical lifestyle collection La Peony. “Their tailored appearance combines style and comfort into one. I would invest in all the basic colors, so you can have Chino pants as the base of outfits and switch out shirts for occasions and days. I would look for sustainable brands offering eco-chinos made of organic cotton or recycled materials, with modern tailored fits that come in various colors for different styles and occasions.”

How to style casual pants

“When styling casual pants, pairing them with complementary pieces that color-match is key for creating a put together but relaxed aesthetic,” advises Huber. “Chinos look best worn with an appropriate button-down shirt, blazer or nice shirt. I would also go for neutral tones such as navy, khaki or black, so you have staples in your closet that go as a base to your rotating tops based on occasion.”

“A slimmer pair of chinos with or without a rolled cuff and a pair of sneakers (Oliver Cabbell, Heritage Diadora, etc.) with a polo is a great way to go to the office,” says Burch. “Put on a pair of flip flops and a t-shirt with the same pair of pants and now you can grab a beer at the bar for weekend football watching, or hang around the house with friends and look put together but comfortable.”

What pants are always in style?

“Classic and timeless options such as tailored dark-wash jeans, well-fitted chinos, and solid colored dress pants never go out of fashion and can easily be dressed up or down to fit various occasions,” says Huber. “Investing in these pants will give you outfits for years to come.”

What pants go with any shirt?

“Dark-wash jeans or chinos in neutral colors such as navy, black or gray can easily match almost any shirt style,” says Malarkey. “They provide the ideal base color and look so that different shirt designs can be rotated for different occasions. From casual t-shirts to button-downs, these style staples are easy for matching.”

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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