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The Suit Is Dead, Long Live the Trouser

One man’s journey to his wardrobe staple.

Illustration of Skylar Bergl wearing trousers next to Illustration by The Fuffologist

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Up until a few years ago, I wanted to wear suits every single day. As a kid, my imaginary closet was lined with enough suits that, had I worked with American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman, he probably would have murdered me in a jealous rage because my gray suits were somehow more gray than his. Since then, my dreamboard has veered in a slightly different direction, though the initial vision hasn’t been abandoned completely.

In high school, I was required to wear a daily uniform of itchy khaki-colored wool pants, a white or blue short-sleeved oxford shirt, and a navy and red striped tie. The pants often had creases ironed into them, depending on how much we (or really, our mothers) cared.

In college, I was the student who tried too hard to look presentable for 8 a.m. class. I spent my free time hunting down discounted Boglioli and L.B.M. 1911 blazers on eBay and Yoox. For a solid year or so after graduation, I was the 23-year-old blazer-trouser-dress-shoe-wearing magazine intern. For all intents and purposes, I was Tumblr #menswear come to life — except much more broke than anything else in your feed.

It took me awhile, but I eventually realized that no one who worked outside of Wall Street funds and law firms actually wore suits to work. So I quickly pawned off my tailored garments to younger versions of myself — naive twentysomething guys who didn’t yet realize they wouldn’t need them either.

With casual office dress codes and athleisure evolving into a full-on thing, it seems safe to say that suits probably aren’t returning to everyday prominence anytime soon. But one essential piece has stuck it out with me and remained a personal staple: trousers. The past year has seen me become hopelessly addicted to purchasing new trousers, and I won’t stop until my closet can’t hold any more.

OAMC Trousers Photo: Roden Grey

These aren’t your father’s trousers. They don’t look like the bottom half of a suit or like they’ve been pulled from the deepest, darkest corners of your hometown department store. They can have literally thousands of pleats or just a couple; be trim or wide-legged; or include an elastic or drawstring waist, the latter of which will allow you to relive your skate-culture youth, when a shoelace functioned just as well as a belt. You want something a bit more technical-looking with some zippers and shit? Give these a try.

They say that having too many options can be a bad thing, but whoever said that hasn’t seen a really well-rounded selection of trousers.

For guys, denim with the individualized fades is emphasized as an ultimate wardrobe essential. But for whatever reason, they’ve always been an afterthought for me. Even before I was required to wear them for school, khakis were my go-to pants. I have no explanation for this. For a while, I had just a single pair of jeans. They developed fades worthy of thunderous applause in the form of hundreds of digital upvotes on fashion forums like StyleForum or Superfuture.

It’s taken me far too long to realize it, but jeans simply can’t touch trousers. The argument for denim being more comfortable is null and void the moment you slip on a pair of trousers that have a few percentage points of silk in them.

Homme Plissé Issey Miyake trousers Photo: SSENSE

And trousers aren’t about to conform to your rules, man. They’ll do what they want, when they want, where they want. I particularly enjoy trousers so expensive they force me to question how much I’m willing to pay for some fabric that covers my legs. My bank account has informed me that there is an upper limit, but my heart doesn’t listen to that sort of negativity.

My most recent acquisition is a pair of trousers from OAMC that have a slight drop crotch and extra panel running down the inseam. And this winter, I’ll wear my cropped Thom Browne trousers until my ankles freeze off.

To be honest, it’s difficult to realize that what you wanted when you were younger isn’t what you want as an adult. But I’ve learned to stop worrying about it so much and just go with it. While adolescent me might be disappointed that I didn’t follow through on all the suit talk, adult me is just happy I fully accepted my love for trousers.