Everyday Chic

for those of us who can't afford couture, but still seek to look gorgeous every day... strategies for investing in your wardrobe by maximizing its dollar-to-chic ratio

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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

How to Wear: Grey Dress Pants

Winter chill means trading in linens and chinos for wools and tweeds. And while the sky turns greyer, so do the pants. Since the autumn equinox, I’ve seen countless women walking around in grey dress pants that might as well be sweatpants, because I can’t tell the difference in the material. I’m only able to tell that they are actually meant to be dress pants based on the context of the outfit, because I pray to god that no one would wear black leather boots and a blazer with sweats.

So I thought it would be appropriate to have a little instructive lesson on how to choose grey pants that look like wool (or another dress pant appropriate fabric) and not a cotton/polyester blend (which is fine for the gym).

Were These Pants Separated at Birth?
As a rule, don’t buy dress pants in “heathered grey” – the standard color for sweatpants in heather grey (the grey with little white flecks in it), and so why would you want your expensive dress pants to simulate your ratty gym sweatpants? You don’t - just look at the similarities of the pants below.

The pants here not only resemble the color of sweats, but also the style, from their loose fit to their undefined bottom cuffs of the legs. To avoid looking sweatpantsy, grey pants should be tailored to fit snugly with straight-cut legs, with crisp edges and fine detail work.

True Grey Dress Pants
Another rule: for pants, daker colors are dressier, this applies to grey pants as well as jeans, etc. These dark grey melange pants below-left (Banana Republic, $78) are much like the pants above (on the right), but the darker color gives them much more definition and elegance. The straight leg cut also gives them dressy character.
The twill cuffed pale grey pants above-right (Banana Republic, $88) work because of their rich, two-toned twill weave texture and the wide belt loops on the waistband and the prominent cuffs on the legs of the pants.


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