Be gone, belts! Whether it’s due to issues of comfort or the kitchen cupboards — we see you there, sneaking away from your laptop every hour for a snack — our usual work trousers fit a little snugger than they did before lockdown. But should that have you reaching for your sweatpants? Of course not! Firstly, it should have you streaming a virtual gym class and laying off the comfort food. But secondly? It should also be opening your eyes and wardrobe to the wonders of formal drawstring trousers.
These versatile, hybrid trousers are reasonably new on the scene. They wandered off the runways and into mainstream fashion a couple of years ago, but we’ve all been a little wary of them. We were far too fond of our traditional button-tops, belts and side-fasteners, and it was going to take something big to make us change our minds. Something, say, like an international pandemic.
But, now we’ve found formal drawstring trousers, there’s no going back. They’re the height of both ease and luxury, can be dressed up or dressed down, and have been bought into by some of our favourite brands. So, if your waist wants to be comfy, but your legs still like looking sharp, we’ve found the best new bottoms for your work-from-home uniform.
The traditional navy work trouser reinvented
Ah, the navy work trouser. A classic. But with the office fading into a distant memory, it’s high time to shake up the status quo. No longer do you need belt loops! No longer must you contend with pesky zips and buttons! All you need do is find a good brushed cotton shirt, choose of pair of the navy pants below, and tuck in to create your new working wardrobe. It looks so good that, even when the lockdown is lifted, the style will still work for the office.
And who better to supercharge your new style than the Italians? Kings of laidback style — or sprezzatura, if you’re down with the lingo — Ermenegildo Zegna’s drawstring trousers even feature a front seam that evokes traditional trousers’ centre crease. Paul Smith’s offering comes in seersucker; a deeply understated, underrated material perfect for summer. And Officine Generale’s tapered trousers are cut from a lyocell-blend twill to give your new slacks some stretch.
Ermenegildo Zegna Waist Trousers
Paul Smith Navy Seersucker Drawstring Trousers
Officine Generale Drew Chinos
Introducing your new smart-casual stone trousers
Of course, while they can be worn formally, drawstring trousers have even more tricks hidden up their inseams. When paired with a smart-casual colour such as stone, they suddenly take on a whole new dress code-spanning, wardrobe-unifying look. As versatile in style as they are in waistband, you may never have even entertained wearing such a drab, dowdy colour before — but the edgy drawstring design will never fail to pull you in.
Just look at Sandro’s Newalpha design; elasticated of waist and with pressed centre creases, piped back pockets and a slim fit leg. Or Sunspel’s option, crafted from crisp cotton twill and with enough style to seamlessly fit in wherever you may walk them. Maison Kitsuné’s drawstring trousers are so office-confident that they even have ‘City’ in their name — and are tied up with a black drawstring, slanted side pockets and a centre crease.
Sandro Newalpha Cotton-Blend Trousers
Sunspel Cotton Twill Drawstring Trousers
Maison Kitsune City Drawstring Trousers
Unbutton your traditional tuxedo trousers
And then come your red carpet-ready drawstring trousers. Never a more contradictory phrase said, right? Wrong. And all you must do is cast your eyes over these jet black, super smooth drawstring duds to see the truth. Whether they’re woven from a silky wool-blend, or cut in a slim, well-tailored leg, we’d wager that these are fancier than even your finest traditional trousers.
Combining casual comfort with top-end tailoring, Cos lead the charge here with a pair of not only versatile — but highly affordable drawstring trousers. For a pricier option, Maison Margiela’s easy-fitting slacks are fashioned from expensive 100% virgin wool and will bring unconventional elegance to any outfit. Or, if you’re looking for the exact midpoint between sporting style and established suiting, look no further than the drawstring waist, slip pockets and technical wool twill of Y3’s trousers.
Cos Slim Drawstring Trousers
Maison Margiela Drawstring Trousers
Y3 Drawstring Wool-Blend Trousers
A pair of pinstripes to draw the line
Who says you can never change your stripes? We may have been pulling on pinstripe suits for decades, but why can’t we apply the style elsewhere? These pinstripe drawstring trousers are just as smart as your old yuppie uniform, but come with the added bonus of comfort.
Sandro’s woollen pinstripe trousers are practically begging for the lockdown to be lifted — they’ll be the ideal pair to stride back into the office wearing. Even Eleventy’s striped drawstrings are multipurpose; they may be a more casual colour than your usual officewear, but they have belt loops for when we all head back to work. And the gold pinstriped standard comes unsurprisingly from Brunello Cucinelli, who — with these pleated-rise, tapered-leg, wool-crepe wonders — has the drawstring trouser game all tied up.
Sandro Paris Striped Drawstring Trousers
Eleventy Striped Drawstring Trousers
Brunello Cucinelli Pinstripe Drawstring Trousers
Looking for some new shirts to go with your drawstring trousers? Win £1,000 worth of made-to-measure Budd shirts here…
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