Looks from the show at Milan Men's Fashion Week
Fashion 28 Jun 2024 3 MIN

Dhruv Kapoor has big pants energy

“It’s an obsession,” says the designer fresh off his Milan showcase

For the past few months, fashion headlines have been obsessing over one question: Why Are Pants So Big (Again)? Worn by everyone from Lewis Hamilton to Vijay Varma, Suniel Shetty to Paul Mescal, capacious trousers have swamped our feeds. From pocket-heavy cargo pants to breezy linen trousers and slouchy jeans, there are options aplenty for the man looking to update his trouser collection. Designer Dhruv Kapoor, who recently showcased his spring/summer 2025 collection at Milan Men’s Fashion Week, said that even in the fashion capital known for its preference for sleek Italian tailoring and well-fitted trousers, he felt “a buzzy, younger energy. There’s no rule or fixed lens for what you must wear. When it comes to trouser fit and proportion, what’s exciting is what’s new and maybe strange at the same time.”

Kapoor, himself a fan of roomy bottoms, has built a steady audience for his slouchy trousers. His cargo pants have occupied the bestselling spot on his label since they launched. “Five years ago, I admit, I would never have worn them, but after a lot of trial and error, I’ve managed to make one [pair] that’s so perfect; it’s the only thing I want to wear,” he says. “Ever since Covid happened, there’s been a preference for a more relaxed silhouette, even when it comes to things like suiting trousers. [In lockdown] We got so used to more lounge-y styles that anything more fitted began to feel uncomfortable,” he explains. His latest show offered fresh iterations of the trend: there were lounge-worthy terry-cloth pants with elasticated waists, tailored and pleated trousers in khaki, and, of course, plenty of denim: in a dark wash, printed, and even embroidered with crystals. “I always find slouchy fits more interesting,” he says. “The comfort they bring, especially in summer, is unmatched. And we’ve worked hard to find a denim that’s the perfect weight—it’s 12 ounces (340g) and after washing, gets even lighter so it stays airy and won’t stick to the body.” 

Like many fashion trends, the width of pants seems to expand and contract cyclically. Both the once-uncool ‘dad jeans’ and the more extreme, boxer-revealing FUBU-esque fits of the ’90s are now the preferred choice while the skinny thigh-huggers of the mid-aughts have been declared cancelled by Gen Z. Everyone, from Valentino, Gucci, and Loewe to the more affordable Uniqlo and Levi’s, has something on offer for men. A recent trashbag pant moment by Drake captured the current love affair for ludicrously large trousers, with comments declaring, ‘Looking like a real soccer dad! I love it.’ And, ‘One time for the trouser fit!’ Meanwhile, images of Robin Williams—in cargo pants or flowing black trousers with chunky sneakers—keep doing the rounds on mood boards and internet accounts dedicated to nostalgia.  

Himself a child of the ’90s, Kapoor says he often turns to that era for inspiration. “When I was younger, I had a pair of those baggy jeans, but I never really found a size or style that worked for me,” he recalls. “Since then, it’s been an obsession... to arrive at a version that works for us. That meant looking back to see how the pockets were larger and placed lower than usual, especially the back ones. And the waist might say 24 inches, but it’s actually 31—that’s how low it’s supposed to be, without falling off. The ones I make rest at the right point, just near or below the pelvis bone.”   

The hazard of all the extra fabric is that you can risk looking like a cylinder. To avoid that, the designer recommends certain styling cues that are easy to keep in mind: “I prefer a slightly cropped upper with a larger shoulder. Something that ends at the waist rather than extending further down.” For his show, the trousers were styled with abbreviated jackets, utility vests layered over tank tops, and boxy shirts. When it comes to length, Kapoor says he prefers a slight pooling at the ankle, “but really, it depends how tall the person is.” You also need the right footwear, something with enough volume that won’t get swallowed up by your bottom hems. His current preference? The Balenciaga X-Pander sneaker with its futuristic, suspended heel.  

As with women’s hemlines, the slingshot of men’s trouser widths can sometimes race past us. Just as you were beginning to settle into one trend, another one has taken its place. Yet somehow, wide-legged pants seem to feel less incongruous than seeing anyone in ultra-tight trousers. Perhaps the skinny ones reveal too much, whereas a pair of roomy trousers fits all that we are and forgives us our bodily trespasses. The perfect pants may not exist, but we will continue to keep searching for them. Amen.