Trouser jeans are boot cut or wide-legged slacks made of lightweight stretchy denim. They are usually styled with wider waistbands, extended tab fronts, slanted or side entry front pockets and welted back pockets. It’s these details that make trouser jeans look more like trousers than jeans, especially when they’re in dark blue and black denim washes. No fading, fraying, contrast top stitching or any form of distressing — all design features that make an item look more casual.

Trouser jeans look exceptionally fab when matched with either conservative or creative dressy business separates. Note: it’s important that the separates are dressy. Match up trouser jeans with casual separates and you will look casual. For example, wear the bottoms you see below with a fitted knit top, silky blouse or button down shirt, blazer, a pair of heels, a few accessories, a smarter handbag and Bobs your Uncle. You’ll look professional, polished and pulled together in my book, even though you’re theoretically wearing denim, which isn’t part of the business casual dress code.

Modern Denim Trousers Tory Burch Stretch Denim Trouser Jeans Trouser Dark Wash Jean

I often pop my clients into elegant trouser jeans for biz casual because they look and feel more hip than when they wear a pair of slacks. To this day no one has even noticed that they’re actually wearing denim to work because the ensemble looks business-like. And it’s quite fun to bend the rules.

As a fashion stylist, I can dress up a pair of dark wash trouser jeans for biz casual and look totally appropriate. Do you think you’d get away with it too? Or are trouser jeans still too casual for your work place. Let’s hear it.