To say the red trouser is in need of some good PR is an understatement for one of the most controversial items of clothing to have ever graced menswear.
About a year ago, a well-executed hahstag (#lookatmyfuckingredtrousers) took off and spread through social media like wildfire. It showed pictures of men – some young, some old, some posh, some called Rio Ferdinand – as they attempted the red trouser look, ridiculing them and all others who attempted it until their cheeks flushed the same colour as their new chinos.
Stop trying so hard, the hashtag said. Go and wear something less interesting.
But that was last year. This year, as summer approaches, it’s time men learned to approach red trousers without prejudice.
Why? Because you’ve already got fifty shades of blue trousers. Because red trousers worn well can be a bold, colorful addition to your summer wardrobe. And because red is actually a pretty flattering colour, whether you’re dark haired or fair (full disclosure: a red-haired gentleman wearing red trousers will cause something of a sartorial solar flare. Maybe give this one a miss).
So, to get out your comfort zone and help mankind reclaimed one of its most unfairly maligned style choices, we’ve put together five ways to wear red trousers that won’t make you look like a yacht enthusiast or a member of the upper 1%. Go on. We dare you.
1 | Balance Them Out With Neutrals
Since red is such an intense colour, and legs take up a significant portion of your overall height, wearing more colour on top will be a bit OTT. Instead, balance them out by wearing your new trousers with neutrals; a grey crew-neck t-shirt, or a white oxford layered under a black knit jumper, to keep you from looking like a firework display.
2 | Smarten Them Up With A Blazer
Red also pairs well with blues, particularly navy, so if you’re heading out for dinner or drinks, smarten up your trousers with an unstructured navy blazer and a pair of smart brown shoes
3 | Dress Them Down With Trainers
Part of the reason red trousers got so much flack was due to their common association with toffee-nosed pursuits like horse racing or shooting wildlife. So go off-duty and wear your red trousers with a pair of trainers, whether you favour Nike Blazers, Converse hi-tops or Jack Purcell’s, and you’ll turn the posh stereotype on its head.
4 | Break Them Up With Patterns
The Breton stripe has outlasted its “hello, sailor” connotations to become an essential wardrobe staple thanks in part to its versatility. Stripes help break-up the solid colour in a pair of red trousers, perfect for a trip to the beach or a day in the park.
5 | If All Else Fails… Opt For Red Shorts Instead
Still not convinced? While coloured trousers can still bring out the most confident man in a nervous sweat, summer’s bright shorts are considered a much more manageable option, so consider a pair of brick-red shorts this summer if trousers still seem loud. Just remember to slap on the sunscreen so your legs don’t turn the same colour.