Matching a sport coat with pants
October 21, 2014 12:09 PM   Subscribe

How do you match a sport coat worn with a dress shirt (without a tie) to pants (not jeans)?

I usually wear a dress shirt with tie and slacks, but I'm looking for something more relaxed and to get rid of the tie. I'd like to dry wearing a sport coat and dress shirt without the tie. I'm looking for something looking on the younger side, but still a little dressy. But a lot of the looks I see with this tend to look older and more like a professor or "preppy rich guy" (especially those with sweaters). I can't seem to figure out what are the right kind of pants to wear with this look. Khakis seem a little too casual (jeans are way too casual), but slacks seems to old. Can you share any rule of thumb or guideline that you use?
posted by roaring beast to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: There's not a lot to it, though I think when matching a sport coat with pants you have to go for some level of contrast so it doesn't look like you're trying to make a "suit" out of separates. It's had to screw up blazer + dress shirt + pants even if the pants are dark. And, of course, blazers will have brass buttons, so it's clearly not going to look like a faux suit than say, an all-black wool sports coat. (I have one and would wear it only with gray pants.)

And (no judgments) people don't really say "slacks" any more, which makes me think it might be worthwhile to mention that pleated front trousers are very, very out these days, and hopefully will never return. If you're shopping around, just flat front pants in a few reserved colors should pair with most any sports coat (within reason!).
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:21 PM on October 21, 2014

Best answer: Gray pants, especially with some sort of extremely subtle pattern or texture, are kind of the sweet spot between I AM SLACKS and casual pants. They never look like they're trying too hard.

Flat front and fitted.
posted by phunniemee at 12:23 PM on October 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you've eliminated jeans, khakis, and "slacks," I think you're starting to limit your options.

Not all sports coats are created equal. I personally don't like wearing any of the sports coats I have with any pants that are more casual than wool-blend dress pants. But a more casual jacket, such as corduroy or some kind of woolly/nubby blend, will lend itself to khakis or even jeans.

Patterns seem more casual than solids to me, agreed. But then I'm wearing pants with pleats today, so what do I know? :-)

Also agreed on color contrast. I don't want to wear a blue jacket and blue pants. Then it looks (to me) like I'm attempting to wear a suit and something went wrong.
posted by randomkeystrike at 12:26 PM on October 21, 2014

Seconding gray pants.

Part of your problem may be that I'm not sure it's possible to wear a sport coat and pants without risk of looking a little preppy. But different color combinations that don't seem straight out of Dead Poets Society or the NBC Page uniform can help, like more brown or gray coats and darker pants.
posted by AndrewInDC at 12:32 PM on October 21, 2014

Best answer: Reddit's MaleFashionAdvice forum has a guide here.
posted by jabes at 1:24 PM on October 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

My brother, who is in his mid 30's, rocks this look most of the time. He usually wears a "loud" shirt with checks or something, a neutral pair of pair of pants (flat-front, slim fit) in grey, black, or dark brown, and a black, navy, or grey blazer. Which, importantly, is also fitted. And he never wears, say, a black blazer with black pants. He also wears loud shoes, which I think adds to the youth of the look. He repeats this look in the summer with lighter colors. Pale chinos/khakis, light beige jackets, white or pale blue shirts. He also does a lot of layering. Last Thanksgiving I recall him wearing a charcoal blazer, checked shirt, lighter grey vest, and black, skinny-fit cotton chinos. He always looks nice.
posted by xyzzy at 1:43 PM on October 21, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. Great advice so far. I like the points about contrasting colors, using dark colors and textures.

To elaborate on my thoughts a little - I think these look a little too old, these look too preppy. These are a little closer to the younger look that I'm thinking of, but maybe a little hard to pull off. But I do observe they reflect a lot of points made with the use of colors and textures.

Admiral - I wasn't aware that slacks suggests pleated. I think I meant to just refer to dress pants. I'm not that fashionable, but even I know that pleats are terrible. :)
posted by roaring beast at 2:07 PM on October 21, 2014

The BR looks are right. Just steer away from the velvet style ones. If you can wear that look you already know it.
posted by saradarlin at 3:05 PM on October 21, 2014

I definitely think you're on the right track with your links--and your assessments of the links. You got this. (And to clear the record, I didn't mean slacks were necessarily pleated, but just that the term is a bit out of style itself, and if you ask for "slacks" in a store, they may interpret it as suggesting you too are a little out of date and steer you to a less fashionable selection than if you just asked for "flat front fitted pants in a light gray".) happy shopping!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 5:46 PM on October 21, 2014

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