Whether you're a man or a woman, shopping for the right pants is tough.

We all want something flattering to our shape and comfortable in all types of situations. But there is one type of garment that aims to provide guys with the best of both worlds.


But what are slacks? There is no official distinction for these all purpose pants. The main thing to keep in mind is that they are versatile and comfortable. Let's dig in further and find out what has kept these pants popular for so long. When you finish, you might just feel like shopping for your next pair of pants.

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What Are Slacks?

We'll be tackling this tricky question in the sections below. But the simple answer is that they are comfortable and stylish pants. Of course, there are a few terms that could refer to such pants. So we'll dissect the term, its meaning and this garment's importance in every man's closet.

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What are slacks?

Here's the answer you've been looking for. Unfortunately, it's kind of a moving target. As it turns out, the definition of slacks will differ depending on who's answering. 

One thing seems clear, though. The term slack, which dates back to a meaning of "loose," speaks to the comfort of these pants. These are more casual than some of the stiffer and more fitted dress pants. But slacks are still very appropriate in almost any situation. 

It is easy to match clothes to slacks, which can match with a dressy or casual outfit well. And even though khaki is a common color, you can get slacks in a variety of shades and hues. Other terms come and go, and a lot of guys these days don't call their pants slacks. But if you're referring to a pair of comfy and easy to wear trousers, check them out.

History of Slacks

So now you know what we're talking about when we answer the question "What are slacks?" But it will also help to know the background of this versatile men's garment.

The term itself really hit its peak in the first half of the 20th century. You'll still find plenty of guys who describe their everyday pants as slacks, though. And you should know based on the term's history what they're talking about. That being said, these are generally pretty loose definitions.

So you'll have to remember that the term never really meant anything very specific. That's why the term became so popular. In some cases, it really started to replace "pants" for some guys. And while the term might not be as popular as it has been in the past, it still works. For the same reason as in the past, using the term "slacks" can be an easy shorthand. If you're trying to describe your favorite pair of comfortable dress pants, it's a great word to use.

Difference between slacks and other types of pants

Maybe "slacks" is a catch all term for dress pants. But there are some more specific words out there. And if we're really going to answer the big question -- what are slacks? -- then let's define other terms.

Perhaps the most closely related term is "chino." These are a bit more formal, giving a classy look to men's pants. You'll usually find them in 100 percent cotton or some blend. And the overall fit is generally tighter around the leg than slacks. You can dress up an outfit a bit by replacing slacks with chinos.

And if you want to continue classing up your outfit from there, go for dress pants. These trousers are what you'll wear to finish off a really nice outfit. They are often made from luxurious wool or a synthetic fiber. Full suits will come with matching pants. But you can always create your own classy look by pairing your favorite shirt and tie with dress pants.

What colors and styles do slacks come in?

Slacks aren't just versatile because they are comfortable and easy to wear. They are also available in a range of colors and fabrics. 

Tan, black, gray and brown are among the more popular shades. But you can really order your slacks in any color that matches your wardrobe. Since the term applies to a style of pants, it really has nothing to do with the colors available. 

You'll also find slacks with a cuff at the ankle, which gives it a more dressy look. Then you can choose whether you want a flat front or a crease in your slacks. You might associate slacks with a looser fit. And it's true that they will typically be roomier than dress pants or chinos. But there is a wide range of fits within the category to make sure every guy is comfortable. 

When can you wear slacks?

Maybe you're still asking yourself 'What are slacks?' If that's the case, this might be one of our favorite ways to answer. The simple fact is that slacks are among the most versatile garments guys can buy.

Especially in today's more casual culture, these are appropriate pants for a wide range of activities. From a family picnic to church to a job interview, you might find slacks appropriate. Of course, there are still some situations that call for a more formal look. And you should make sure you're dressed appropriately ahead of time.

But for everything else, there's no reason not to be stylish and comfortable. And the all in one ability of the best slacks allow you to do just that.


Our Favorite Slacks to Provide Comfort and Confidence

Now that you've got a firm grasp on the definition and history, it's time to shop. And you can find plenty of great options online. Here are a few of our favorite brands and styles.

1. Miller Ranch Men's Khaki Dress Slacks

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We'll start on the dressier end of the spectrum with these pants. This is a great pair of slacks for those who love Western wear. Whether you're wearing cowboy boots or a big belt buckle, these slacks will accent your style perfectly. And styling cues like the ornate belt loops really add to the overall finished look. Great attention to detail gives you a reliable fit wear after wear. Plus, you can get the perfect inseam by finishing it off upon delivery.

2. Haggar Men's Performance Cotton Slack

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Haggar has long made comfortable and sturdy pants for guys in all walks of life. And if you're looking for slacks today, it is still a great company to consider. These cotton slacks provide the quintessential answer to anyone asking "What are slacks?" They are roomy, easy to care for and stylish enough to wear with just about anything.

3. Dockers Men's Big & Tall Classic Fit Workday Khaki Smart 360 Flex Pants D3

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Dockers is another company with a long history of making great slacks. That legacy continues as the company makes long lasting and comfortable pants for any guy. These slacks are made with a cotton blend that allows them to stretch and provide lots of comfort. They fit where they are supposed to and will accommodate all body types. 


Choosing the right pair of slacks doesn't have to be a chore.

Sure, there are a lot of answers to the nagging question, "What are slacks?" But we hope our guide has helped take some of the pressure off. Suffice it to say that slacks are just the perfect comfortable pants you look forward to wearing.


If you found this article helpful, share it with the stylish guys in your life. And leave us a comment below if you have any final thoughts or questions. 

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