The Denim & Pant Guide
A guide to the fabrics, finishes and styles of men's jeans and pants.
1. Cargo - By the original definition, cargo pants (also sometimes called combat trousers, after their original military purpose), are loosely cut pants originally designed for tough, outdoor activities, distinguished by one or more patch pockets located on the thighs. By today’s standards however, many versions of cargo pants are much trimmer – often mimicking the silhouette of your favourite pair of jeans or flat-front chino.
2. Chinos - Chinos should really be made of chino, a cotton twill fabric developed in England during the 19th century. The American military deemed it durable enough for active service on their bases in the Philippines, and dyed it a pale shade of khaki brown. Returning soldiers popularized the chino trousers in the U.S., worn as a less casual alternative to jeans. Today chino has expanded to become a synonym for tan-coloured flat-front pants regardless of whether they are made of pure cotton or blended fabric.
3. Corduroy - Reminiscent of velvet to the touch, curduroy is a ribbed cotton fabric. The material, first known as corde du roi, was originally used on the hunting livery of the French king's servants. The ribs or cords are called wales, which can be wide or thin depending on the style.
4. Distressed - Distressed refers to a treatment that can be applied to any material, but most often to jeans and other cotton trousers and also leather. Distressing a garment involves artificially wearing, sanding, washing or marking it to make it look like it's well worn, when in fact it is new.
5. Jogger Pants - Casual tapered pants that mimic the silhouette of the traditional sweatpant, jogger pants differ in the legs, which feature elastic at the bottom and are designed to fall just above the ankle. They can be made of denim, cotton or jersey, as well as other fabrics. Unlike sweatpants of the past, their primary utility isn’t for jogging – it's to provide more comfort when it comes to more fashionable dressing.
6. Raw Denim - Raw denim, also known as dry or unwashed denim, is denim that has not undergone any of the usual washing and distressing processes. It comes straight off the loom and is cut and sewn into jeans and then sold to the customer. Its feel is stiff, and it features a deep blue colour and a distinctive sheen.
7. Selvage - A selvage is the edge on either side of a woven or flat-knitted fabric, finished so as to prevent unravelling. It often appears as a narrow tape that is different from the body of the fabric.