Get your own personal stylist to help you find clothes you love. All online, completely free

Sign In

Jeans and trousers

What exactly are: Formal trousers?

What exactly are: Formal trousers?

In a nutshell

Trousers made from suit fabric—for instance, wool, tweed or gabardine—that makes them fit for formal occasions, such as weddings, smarter office meetings and nice dinners out.

Backstory

Matching suits might be today's standard-issue formal attire, but before the 20th century, men aimed not to match their suit jackets and trousers. Formal trousers and contrasting jackets were much preferred to matching suits, which were called "ditto suits" and deemed informal.

How to wear them well

"Formal trousers with a shirt and non-matching blazer makes the perfect wedding outfit when you're sick of your suits," says Thread senior stylist Sophie Gaten. Two caveats: 1. This only works with blazers, so you should never wear a suit jacket without its matching trousers, and 2. Make sure the trousers and blazer are noticeably different colours. If they’re too similar, they'll look like a poorly matched suit.

Photographed: Peter Werth formal trousers (£89), Gant white shirt (£85), Grenson oxblood Derby shoes (£200)