If you haven’t tried drawstring trousers yet, you’re missing out. A relatively recent phenomenon, they’ve quickly become a wardrobe staple and one that’s slowly but surely replacing their fixed waistband siblings.
Drawstring trousers can be just as smart, yet their unrivalled comfort ensures we keep returning to them time and time again. If you’re yet to jump on the bandwagon, it’s not too late. From deciding on the right style and what to wear them with to the best drawstring trouser brands you can buy today, here’s everything you need to know.
Why you need drawstring trousers
Until relatively recently, drawstring trousers weren’t really a ‘thing’. Or rather, they were, but they were almost exclusively only available in sweatpant form. For anything even remotely smarter you had to buy fixed waistband trousers.
However, with the rise in demand for comfortable clothing that looked as good as it felt – accelerated by the pandemic and more people working from home than ever before – fashion brands began to realise that chinos and tailored trousers work equally well with elasticated waists.
The best thing about this new era of drawstring trousers is their versatility, and the fact they can be worn in the same way as any other pair of pants. Treat them like you would your trusty chinos and try combining them with Cuban collar shirts, polos and tees, layering with knitwear and lightweight jackets.
Drawstring Trousers Buying Considerations
You can pick up drawstring trousers in all manner of styles today, so whether you’re after a smart pair you can wear to the office, or something more laid back, you’ll be well catered for. With so much choice, it’s worth figuring out when and where you’re going to wear your drawstring trousers most.
There’s no use in buying a pair of tailored wool drawstring suit trousers, for example, if you want something relaxed and easy to combine with loungewear. If you wanted to further dress down an unstructured blazer though, they could be a great choice.
The most versatile pair of drawstring trousers comes in the form of drawstring chinos. These are your standard, everyday chinos yet finished with an elasticated waistband, making them smart yet just as comfortable as sweatpants. If you’re going to buy just one pair you should consider these first and foremost as they’re just as easy to dress up as they are down.
Type Of Waistband
Different drawstring trousers have differing types of waistband. While this should be no surprise to you, it’s worth thinking about as this subtly changes the feel of the trousers. Designs that have hidden drawstrings – with the tabs on the inside of the trouser – create a cleaner, more streamlined aesthetic that better complements tailored pieces like shirts and blazers.
Trousers with the tabs on the outside and a visible elasticated design, on the other hand, have a sportier feel, which references athletic sweatpants. As you’d imagine, these are inherently more casual and work best with similarly sporty pieces like T-shirts, polos and sweatshirts.
Fabric choice largely depends on which season you intend to wear them. But it’s also worth considering durability too, as some materials wear quicker than others. Linen blends, lightweight cotton and Tencel trousers, for example, might be ideal for the warmer spring and summer months, thanks to their breathable nature, but they’ll also crease more easily and won’t last as long due to the fibres being more delicate and prone to tearing.
Therefore, if you’re after something harder wearing you should look towards cotton canvas or twill, cloths which boast denser weaves and are able to stand up to a beating. They are also heavier, offering increased protection throughout fall and winter.
The Best Men’s Drawstring Trouser Brands
Being a relatively new category, few labels have mastered the drawstring trouser, or even offer their own take yet. Below you will find the frontrunners producing the most stylish versions on the market right now.
A Day’s March
For minimal yet functional clothing, A Day’s March is hard to beat. From durable work shirts through to refined outerwear, the brand’s garments are designed to be interchangeable, so if you’re looking to overhaul your capsule wardrobe it’s a great place to start.
Expect flattering fits and drawstring trousers that are as easy to dress up for the office as they are down on the weekend.
Californian-based brand Vuori specialises in technical clothing designed to be worn every day. Its garments are minimal yet crafted from comfortable fabrics which both look and feel the part.
As such, you will find drawstring trousers that perform just as well on a hike as they do in the pub afterwards.
Founded by male model David Gandy, Wellwear puts great emphasis on how its clothes feel. That translates to luxuriously soft fabrics coupled with comfortable fits that’ll keep you both looking and feeling great.
Its drawstring trousers fall on the loungewear end of the spectrum, with cotton jersey rendered in a variety of sweatpants styles that’ll add a relaxed elegance to your off-duty attire.
GAP is well known for its prep-inspired everyday staples, from Oxford shirts through to denim jackets. But the US label ensures it doesn’t rest on its laurels by offering contemporary takes on its classic pieces.
Case in point is its line of trousers, many of which have been updated with drawstring waistbands that make them as comfortable as any out there. Made from durable fabrics and coming in a range of cuts, there is something for every body shape and personal style.
Priding itself on sustainable production and use of expertly chosen fabrics, Colorful Standard produces some of the finest wardrobe essentials found anywhere.
Its drawstring sweatpants might be the ultimate in relaxed luxury with their organic brushed cotton fabric and flatteringly tailored fit.
Its drawstring trousers are no different and come available in a range of versatile fits and finishes, from wide-leg denim pants through to slimmer, more tailored designs.
The in-house label of luxury menswear retailer Mr Porter, if Mr P isn’t on your radar it definitely should be. The designs are classic but often updated with contemporary twists, making it perfect for bolstering your capsule wardrobe.
The brand’s drawstring trousers are expertly made from a range of luxurious fabrics, including virgin wool and cotton jersey, ensuring there’s something for everyone.
J.Crew’s extensive range never fails to impress. The US brand always has a preppy slant, but it isn’t afraid to move things forward on occasion.
Its trouser range is vast, coming in a variety of fits that run the gamut from relaxed to slim, tapered styles, while its fabric choice is extensive. Whether you prefer slub cotton twill, stretch cotton-nylon, or classic chino cotton, J.Crew’s got you covered at a price point that belies the quality.
Folk was one of the first label’s to produce drawstring trousers at the start of the movement. As such, the brand’s refined fits and expert fabric selection makes it one of the best choices on this list.
There are slimmer tailored offerings in lightweight cotton or more relaxed takes in durable ripcord fabrics, both of which demonstrate the versatility of elasticated waistbands.