Drawstring pants get a bad rap. For years, they’ve been associated with slouchy, uninspired sportswear—resigned to the confines of one’s home or else to the gym. Thankfully, times change. It’s not just because the pandemic has given belts the boot, though that certainly makes the drawstring’s appeal even stronger. Fuss-free and non-constrictive, drawstring pants are a natural choice for summer. This season, brands ranging from cutting edge designers to modern tailoring houses are experimenting with a new kind of tailored trouser, finished with a comfortable drawstring waist—a hybrid that checks all the boxes we care about right now.
With fitted silhouettes, high-end tailoring fabrics and pleats in evidence, the drawstring trouser has smartened up its act. These are some of the sharpest pairs you can pick up this summer.
Informale Linen ‘T005’ Drawstring Trousers
The clue’s in the name. Melbourne-based Informale—a Robb Report favorite—is a brand with a progressive take on tailoring. Founder, Steve Calder, is in large part responsible for introducing sleekly drawstring pants to ‘sartorial’ menswear—converting purists to this new kind of tailored trouser. With their clean lines and twin reverse pleats, this khaki pair look sharp yet chic.
Isaia Linen Drawstring Trousers
This pair of trousers by Neapolitan tailor Isaia feature clean, fitted lines through the hips, accentuated by their sharply pressed pleats and higher rise. In superfine linen, these are more than smart enough to pair with an open-collar shirt and unstructured blazer for summer business meetings—see Mr Porter’s styling for inspiration.
Massimo Alba Cotton-Voile Drawstring Trousers
Made by another leading proponent of casual tailoring, Massimo Alba’s powder blue pants feel sophisticated and summery. In lightweight cotton voile, these feature some nifty design details: belt loops allow you to wear a belt to cover the elasticated waistband, and ‘jet slant’ side pockets are cut directly into the trousers at each hip—to ensure they sit on the body as impeccably as can be.
Ermenegildo Zegna Cotton Trousers
Zegna arrived at the ‘athlesiure’ party early on—a good three or four years ago—thanks to the visionary direction of designer Alessandro Sartori. In off-white, this pair of sleek cotton trousers is almost impossibly swish—easy to dress up, or dress down.
Gaiola Coral Pleated Drawstring Trousers
For something a little different, try this playful coral colored pair of drawstring pants by Giaola (another Italian indie brand worth following, by the way). Pair with a white linen shirt and dark suede loafers for a Riviera-ready summer look.
Sunspel Cotton Drawstring Trousers
Sunspel is best known for refined British-made T-shirts, but it’s a reliable source for other top-notch wardrobe staples too. Their concealed internal drawstring gives them a clean, minimalist appeal while the garment-dyed cotton lends a relaxed, lived-in look.
Incotex Striped Cotton Drawstring Shorts
Of course, when it really heats up, you needn’t stick to drawstring trousers. Drawstring shorts are, if anything, even easier to wear. All this pair from Incotex needs is a soft white or sky blue T-shirt and some espadrilles.
Gucci Side Stripe Track Shorts
Few brands blend tailoring with casualwear as effortlessly as Gucci, whose recent collections have featured plenty of retro sportswear touches. These shorts are true to form: cut in luxurious tailoring cloth, finished with track stripes and the de rigeur drawstring waist. Striking yet seriously comfy, pull them on whenever you’re in the mood for something easy.