Dress pants are often a staple for women in a business casual environment, but they are not the most exciting item of clothing. So I’m often asked a variation on the following questions: “How can I make dress pants look and feel more edgy and fun?”,  or “How can I create more exciting outfits with boring dress pants?”.

By dress pants I mean a classic pair of business casual trousers, like the Semantic Athena Bree pair that is available in the YLF store. It isn’t easy to make a pair of pants like this look edgy, cool, arty and fun, but it’s not impossible either. It’s all about adding an element of drama to the ensemble and here are my favourite ways to do so:

  1. A statement belt: Threaded through the belt loops, or over a top or jacket.
  2. A trendy or theatrical jacket: Think boyfriend blazers, tuxedo jackets, strong extended shouldered styles, or retro and vintage silhouettes. In some instances leather or pleather moto jackets will work too.
  3. Fabulous, on-trend shoes: Creating visual interest at the hems of dress pants is very effective. Think patent, contrasting colours, patterns, colour blocking and animal print.
  4. Strong androgynous detailing: Think neck ties, braces and tuxedo shirts.
  5. Big pieces of jewelry: Oversized bangles and bracelets, bold pendants, chunky necklaces, cocktail rings and hoop earrings. Floral pins can be fun too.
  6. An edgy hairstyle: It’s amazing how a somewhat daring or ultra modern hairstyle makes an item like classic dress pants look infinitely more fashion forward. It just goes to show that style is always a sum of its parts.

These suggestions are not mutually exclusive — you can combine them to dial up the effect. How far you go will depend on your personal style, but also on your situation. The more creative the environment, the more arty, edgy and fun you can make the ensemble.

Remember that classic dress pants are not your only option for business casual bottoms. There are also skirts and dresses! More fashion forward pants like slouchy tapered styles and cigarette silhouettes are another way to go.

I only own one pair of classic dress pants because I prefer to wear skirts and dresses in business casual outfits. Occasionally I’ll wear black cigarette pants. And I’m still in the market for the perfect pair of tapered slouchy pants – if I can find a pair long enough.

Do you wear classic dress pants? How do you made them look more interesting?