Types of Pants - The Ultimate Guide To Pants

 person wearing black joggers

There is a wide variety of pants available on the market today, which is exciting! But it does mean that we can also use a little guidance when it comes to finding Cinderella's shoe/Goldilocks porridge of pants. Not to worry, though — TomboyX is here to help! 

In this post, you’ll discover our comprehensive guide to the different types of pants so that you can find the perfect pair for any occasion. 

A Brief History of Pants

When we think of pants, most of us have images of jeans and khakis in our heads. But the history of pants is much more extensive than that. Pants have been around since the 16th century and have evolved over time to fit specific needs. From military uniforms to leisurewear, pants have come a long way.

For example, the Spanish army was an OG supporter of the chinos. These pants were made from a lightweight cotton twill fabric and featured a loose fit with tapered legs. Chinos were worn by everyone, but they were particularly popular among US soldiers during World War II.

In the 1960s, pants became much more colorful and experimental. Bell bottoms and wide-leg styles were all the rage, as were printed designs like tie-dye and paisley. In the 1970s, fashion shifted to a more casual look, with cargo pants, sweatpants, and capris becoming popular. These styles were designed to be comfortable and practical, allowing people to move freely throughout the day.

Today, there are countless styles of pants on the market. From skinny jeans to dress pants, there's something for everyone. No matter what you're looking for, it's easy to find a pair of pants that fit your needs.

Let’s put on one leg at a time and dive into the different categories of pants:

What Are the Different Types of Pants?

There are a number of types of pants available. From dressy to casual and everything in between, each style of pants has its own unique benefits and can be used for particular occasions.

Here is an in-depth review of some of the most popular types of pants:

The Tried-and-True Bottoms

  • Denim Jeans: These are the most common type of pants, and they come in a wide variety of styles, colors, and cuts. From skinny jeans to boyfriend jeans, there's a style for everyone. Jeans typically feature belt loops and a few pockets. Denim is also used to make jackets, overalls, and much more.
  • Cargo Pants: These pants are typically made of a thicker material and feature multiple pockets on the legs and sides. They're great for carrying items like a wallet, keys, or phone.

The Keep It Classy Collection

  • Corduroy Pants: Corduroy is a type of textile with a raised pattern that you recognize instantly. It’s a common material for both women’s and men’s pants. This material screams cozy autumn vibes but truly works all year long (think corduroy shorts in the summer).
  • Chinos: A smart-casual staple that often comes in a range of colors, chinos look good with almost any top, from a t-shirt to a blouse. They’re sometimes referred to as cigarette pants.
  • Trousers: Trousers (aka slacks) are typically worn for formal occasions but can also be dressed down for a more casual look. They come in many different styles, from tapered trousers to wide-legged trousers. Trousers are usually either flat-front or include pleats, which are small creases in the fabric for style purposes.

Casual Styles

  • Joggers/yoga pants: Well-suited for those who want to look stylish while still being comfortable, joggers come in a wide range of options and can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion. While joggers are more baggy pants, yoga pants are close-fitting and hug your form. Yoga pants hit their highest moment in the early 2000s and have been riding that wave since!
  • Sweatpants: The go-to choice when comfort is key, sweatpants usually have an elastic waistband, drawstring, and cuffs at the ankles. These loose-fitting pants have a relaxed fit that makes them perfect for lounging around the house. Comfort can still mean stylish — additions like striped ribbing offers a chic edge to a classic. 
  • Leggings/jeggings: The perfect choice for those who want to show off their figure while still being comfortable, leggings come in both plain and patterned varieties, making them versatile and easy to dress up or down. Some streamlined leggings even come with coveted zippered pockets. Jeggings, as you may have guessed, are leggings designed to look like jeans.
  • Tracksuit Pants: track pants are perfect for an active lifestyle as they provide extra support and are lightweight and breathable.

Fashion-Forward Essentials

  • Bell Bottoms: A timeless classic that has been around since the 1970s, these flared pants are making a comeback. Typically featuring a high waist and a lighter wash, they can be dressed up with a pair of heels or dressed down with sneakers for a more casual look.

Honorable Mention:

  • Shorts: These coveted bottoms come in all sorts of styles, from low-rise denim shorts to knee-length tailored shorts. They're ideal for warmer days when you want to stay cool and comfortable. This silhouette even inspired a totally fabulous underwear style. Of course, we’re talking about our beloved boy shorts

Which Type of Pants To Pick Today?

Choosing the right type of pants is key to finding a look that makes you feel like a million bucks. 

Here's a guide on which type of pants work for every vibe you’re trying to send out. 

How To Show Off Your Curves:

  • High-waisted jeans: Show off your curves in all the right places
  • A-line skirts: Flatter your curves with a more structured silhouette
  • Bootcut jeans: Look dynamic in how they complement hips and legs
  • Cargo pants: Roomy, adjustable fit that’s pure fashion

Highlight Your Height (No Matter How Tall You Are!)

  • Skinny jeans: Hug your silhouette and show off those long legs
  • Wide-leg trousers: Create balance by adding extra volume to the legs
  • Pleated trousers: Balance out a slim silhouette with extra fabric
  • Bell bottoms: Flatter straight figures with the flared shape
  • Wide-leg trousers: Show off the waistline by adding extra volume to the legs
  • A-line skirts: Fancy, formal, totally hourglass
  • High-waisted jeans: Look lovely at the waist waist
  • Sweatpants: Looser fit adds softness and comfort to your shape
  • Cropped jeans: Show off those ankles for an elongating effect
  • Skirts with prints: Patterns help create an illusion of length, while vertical stripes add height to any outfit. For petite sizes, dress pants are a great choice as they elongate the lower half of your body and don't require as much tailoring.

Stay Stylish While Working or Working Out

  • Joggers: Comfort meets style with this relaxed yet fitted fit
  • Jumpsuits: Layer over your favorite crop top or t-shirt for a relaxed look
  • Cargo pants: Roomy design provides plenty of mobility and adjustability
  • Tracksuits: Perfect for staying comfy yet stylish when running errands or just lounging around
  • Leggings: A super comfortable and fashionable alternative to traditional pants
  • Palazzo pants: Loose fitting and wide-legged, they provide coverage without feeling restrictive
  • Dress pants: The pleated front makes them easier to move around in, plus its sleek fit enhances an athletic build.

Any Styling Tips?

From slim-fit to wide-legged to baggy jeans, crafting the perfect outfit is all about understanding how the various types of pants look best with certain types of tops or shoes.

Here are a few tips about how to style different types of pants

How To Rock Slim-Fit Pants

Slim-fit pants are designed to follow the shape of your body and create a sleek, modern silhouette that looks good on everyone. These types of pants pair best with fitted tops like t-shirts and sweaters, as well as modern blazers for a professional look. 

When choosing shoes, try pairing slim-fit pants with pointed-toe flats or heeled boots for an elongated look. A neat alternative option would be sneakers for everyday wear. For an added touch of style, throw on a statement belt or scarf to show off your figure. 

What To Wear With Wide-Legged Pants

Wide-legged trousers have been popular for many years, but they remain timeless in their appeal due to their flattering and comfortable fit. This type of pant looks best when paired with a tailored blouse or camisole top to balance out the volume at the bottom half of the outfit. 

To complete this classic look, perhaps opt for heels or wedges with stacked bangles or layered necklaces. This will create a timeless yet trendy vibe that will turn heads wherever you go! 

What Works Well With Baggy Jeans

Baggy jeans have made a major comeback over the past few years, and now there's no denying their stylishness! To dress up this casual staple, pair them with more structured pieces such as tucked-in T-shirts or oversized shirts that hit just above the ankle length of the jeans.

Complete the look by adding some edgy accessories such as chunky jewelry or bold belts. If you want something even more daring, pull out some chic ankle boots that make for an effortless cool girl look. 

The Final Word

No matter what type of pants you choose to wear, remember that styling is all about having fun and experimenting with unique pieces until you find what suits you best. With these tips in mind, you'll surely be able to achieve the perfect pant outfit each and every time!


First pants worn by horse riders 3,000 years ago | Science News 

The History of Symbols: Flares | European Fashion Heritage Association

Baggy Jeans Are The Key Denim Trend Of Autumn 2022, According To Hailey Bieber And Gigi Hadid | British Vogue