July 16, 2010  ·  mail  ·  style

Mailbag: Loud Trousers

Danehy asks: "I like bright cotton pants in jewel colors for summer, and I'm told it's a passe trend but I think this is a classic look... Am I right??" Answer: This is one of those styles that started out as a distinctly continental European thing, and was done with a lot of class by gents of all ages in stone-lined Roman streets and the like. The fact that it was subsequently co-opted by the phony American prep look puts us in a bind—do we let a bunch of Ivy League wannabes with visible class tension screw this up for everyone? Sorta like how Linda Ronstadt made us hate the song "Blue Bayou" through no fault of Roy Orbison? Ultimately we'd take a hint from whomever is making them. You'll find a full range of oranges, pinks, etc. from clother to the elderly Orvis, so make of that what you will. Ralph Lauren seems to have scaled back the palette to a dark red and a sort of forest green. Lands' End will sell you a classic sort of dusty rose red, which seems safe enough by not being overly saturated. Avoid light blues, which read like faded 80s denim. Or feel free to skip the whole thing.

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