Nothing says summer quite like a pair of white pants. But for every courageous soul I see rocking a pair of tattered, white trousers, I have a strong suspicion there are dozens of others with crisp, new light-colored pants languishing at the bottom of their closet.
Though white pants come in a variety of hues and cuts, they can be divided into two basic schools. The ones that actually work for summer and the ones that are basically the same as your winter wardrobe, but in a lighter color. Though both schools will see you through these hotter months in style, the choice is really up to you in regards to comfort. You wanna sweat or nah?
White pants, though they are a chance for us to diversify our wardrobe, however briefly, can be daunting. Our dark indigos, blacks, and olives can, to some extent, mask flaws, hide stains, and let us keep a low profile from the waist down. White fabrics, especially of the lighter variety, may keep us comfy on those nasty, hot days, but they can be a bit revealing. What color is your underwear? Are you sweating profusely? A light fabric, both in weight and color, might betray these secrets to the world. So, though the light stuff might feel nice, it might also feel vulnerable and revealing.
On the other hand, those heavier pieces will definitely keep your privates private, but with less ventilation, will you really wear them during the summer? The pros and cons are endless and though there’s no clear front-runner that satisfies all our requirements, we can at least introduce you to front-runners in both categories that should last you quite a while.
The Summer School
The immediate front-runner in this category comes from Texas-based Earl’s Apparel. In recent years, the brand has taken a step away from their straight-legged workwear roots and embraced a variety of more “fashionable” cuts. The above slim fit fatigue pant is reasonably priced, extremely breathable, and a great option for your breezy summer wardrobe.
The fit is slim, but not too slim with a high, traditional rise. Patch pockets on the front and back should prevent these from being too see-through in the top-block, but even so, you might not want to wear your red g-string with these. Lest your fellow commuters on the subway should talk.
Available for $75 at Snake Oil Provisions.
San Francisco skater/designer Evan Kinori’s new season features his iconic Four Pocket Pant in a tumbled cotton/hemp twill that looks about as breezy as they get. The fit is about as perfect as they come, just enough room for ventilation and enough tailoring to be presentable. Knowing Evan’s skating origins, you can bet these pants will be extra functional and designed to move. These might be more in the “keep them pristine” category, as opposed to the “let’s trash these” school of thought, but however you choose to wear them, they’ll keep you cool in both senses of the word.
Available for $345 at Evan Kinori.
If you’ve had the pleasure of wearing a pair of French Work Pants, you know how amazing they can be. The only issue is that usually, they only come in blue. Orslow, however; has solved this problem by introducing their own interpretation of this comfy, elasticated-waist pant in white. Like a painter’s pant, these only get better with wear, tear, and the occasional curated stain. Light enough to make the summer bearable, they have the heart of a work pant and will hold up gorgeously for the foreseeable future.
Available for $204 at Norse Store.
Although these aren’t yet available, Knickerbocker has begun teasing these Dickies-style white pants for their fall line. The brand, after a brief hiatus, is back, and their all-cotton trousers make some of the best summer pants that money can buy. Their fabrics just get better and better with washing and wear and their fits are second to none. Get in line while the getting is good!
Grease Point Workwear
I’ve been entranced by the Work Trouser from Grease Point Workwear since I first saw it. Even though this double-kneed piece of sexy is made from relatively lightweight denim (11oz.), I’ve come to the conclusion that when things get really really hot, no denim works, regardless of weight. That being said, most of us are willing to tough out most of the summer in our selvedge jeans anyway, so these might be a good option.
While indigo jeans get better as they lose color, white ones get better the more they gain. Stains, as long as they aren’t from anything too nasty, just add to the overall patina of the garment. The only downside to this option is that Amos Culbertson, the man behind the brand, isn’t taking new orders until September… so you wouldn’t get these this summer. But you could get ahold of ’em just as things cool off.
Available for $299 at Greasepoint Workwear.
The Dickies 874 is beyond iconic at this point and they’re cheap and easy to find almost anywhere. The only issue is the material. Their signature cotton/poly blend might not be 21oz., but it doesn’t breathe especially well either. That being said, their high-waisted, straight-leg cut flatters almost any body type and evokes a kind of skater cool that is hard to pass up. As with all white pants. The dirtier these get, the better.
Available for $22.99 at Dickies.
L.A.-based brand Clutch Golf has a white trouser that’s already beat-up enough to wear around. While most white and off-white pants go through that awkward phase where they’re a little embarrassingly clean, Clutch Golf has taken deadstock canvas that was used to cover floors of painters’ studios and cut it into gorgeous pleated trousers. These pants fit so well you could easily wear them all year, although with that heavy-duty canvas, you might prefer these paint-splattered pants in the cooler months.
These aren’t listed on the Clutch Golf website yet, but I bet you could get a pair if you sent in a DM.