Best Fabric For Formal Trousers

  • By: Tiffany Peris
  • Time to read: 11 min.

You are free to wear anything you like on any day. However, the occasion will determine the clothes to wear. For example, you can’t wear a suit for a barbeque party. But, on the other hand, you have to wear formal clothes to look part of the event when attending a formal event. So, what is the ideal fabric for formal trousers?

The best fabrics for formal trousers are cotton, polyester, wool, rayon, poly-cotton blend, and linen. Since the different fabrics have different properties, the best choice for formal trousers fabrics will be determined by personal preferences. For example, those looking for durable trousers will opt for polyester, while those looking for the most comfortable formal trousers will opt for linen or rayon fabrics.

This article features an all-inclusive guide for different fabric options for the best formal trousers. If you want to buy purchase fabric trousers or you will soon be starting a new job where you have to wear fabric trousers, this article is for you.

Essential Properties Of Good Formal Trousers

Compared to formal shirts, formal trousers have a high exposure to wear as they have to withstand walking and moving around while also sitting on different surfaces that might wear them down. Thus, fabrics for formal pants must have other characteristics to make them ideal for formal occasions.


Formal trouser needs to be wrinkle-resistant since you need to look smart throughout the formal event. Indeed, the trouser should hold up a lot of moving around as the trousers will be exposed to wrinkles anytime you sit, walk around, or even bend your knees. A fabric that cannot resists wrinkles well will thus not be an ideal choice for a formal trouser.

Does Not Lose Shape Or Stretches A Lot Over Time

When buying formal trousers, you expect to wear the trouser for a while. Indeed, even fast fashion brands like Jing and Hot Topic expect that the fast fashion apparel and accessories they sell to their customers to at least last 8 – 10 wears.

Thus, the ideal fabric in formal trousers has to maintain its shape and not stretch a lot over time. Likewise, the material needs to have some natural stretch and good elasticity to allow free movement while ensuring that the trouser does not bag out in the knees.  


The structure of the fibers of any fabric and how they are woven are essential in determining the comfortability of the fabric. For example, some fabrics can irritate the skin, meaning that such fibers would not be ideal for trousers that directly contact the skin.

Moreover, when fibers of fabrics that are not breathable are tightly woven, the ensuing fabric is less breathable, and as such, a formal trouser made from such a fabric will not be comfortable.

What Are The Best Fabrics For Formal Trousers?

When attending formal events such as weddings, office meetings, and dinner-outs, your dress code has to be formal.

However, as we already not all fabrics are ideal for formal trousers. Moreover, since every fabric has different properties, different fabrics have different strengths and weaknesses when making formal trousers.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of some of the fabrics used to make formal trousers.

1. Cotton

Cotton fabric has, over the years, been the most popular fabric around the world. Indeed, according to Sewport, cotton is the most commonly used fabric worldwide. Some of the clothing products made with cotton comprise t-shirts, dresses, socks, shirts, pants, and blouses.

Pima cotton, Supima cotton, and Egyptian cotton are among the most popular cotton. Cotton has different thread counts that vary from 100 to 2000. The thread counts measure the number of threads that have been woven into one square inch of fabric.

The higher the thread count, the higher the cotton quality.

Pros Of Cotton As  Fabric For Formal Trouser

It’s sustainable and has minimal impact on the environment

As a natural fabric made from cotton plants, cotton production is largely non-harmful to the environment. Moreover, cotton is a natural fiber implies that trousers made from the fabric are biodegradable. Thus, cotton will never end up in waterways or contribute to other types of pollution.

Perfect for those with skin allergies

Due to its high breathability and smooth feel, cotton is one of the most skin-friendly fabrics. The high breathability of the fabric ensures that the risk of skin rashes is drastically reduced.

High Breathability

Cotton is one of the most breathable fabrics. Specifically, the fact that the structure of cotton’s fiber is loose means that the fabric can keep you cool and dry.

Easy to maintain

Cotton fabrics are easy to maintain since a washing machine can clean the fabrics. Moreover, cotton can be spot cleaned or even hand-washed with dish soap.


Cotton has high tensile, which makes it a durable fabric. Indeed, when cotton is blended with a synthetic fabric, the ensuing cotton blend is very durable.

Cons of Cotton As Fabric For Formal Trouser

Prone to shrinking

As a natural fabric, cotton can easily shrink in the wash. Thus, if you wash your cotton garment in hot water, there is a high chance that the garment will shrink in the wash.

Wrinkles easily

As a cellulose-based fabric, cotton wrinkles easily. This is because the fabric has a hydrogen bond that reacts to water bending resulting in the cotton garment getting out of shape. Thus, if the cotton fabric has not been treated to resist wrinkles, a fabric trouser made from cotton will wrinkle easily.

Can be expensive

As a natural fiber made from cotton plants, cotton fabric prices have increased over the last few years. Specifically, since cotton production is labor-intensive, the constant rise in labor costs worldwide implies that the cotton fabric price increases whenever the production costs increase.

Can negatively impact the environment

The practices used by cotton manufacturers can be harmful to the environment. For example, to produce cotton, a lot of water is required. Moreover, growing cotton crops involves using different agrochemicals, which have devasting impact on the environment in the long run.

2. Polyester

Polyester is one of the most popular fabrics in the world. If you were asked to pick three clothing items from your closet randomly, there is a high chance that one of two of the clothes you choose will be made of 100% polyester or a polyester blend.

When polyester is used in formal trousers, the fabric has various strengths and weaknesses.

Pros Of Polyester As Fabric For Formal Trouser


A formal trouser made from polyester fabric will be durable since polyester fibers are very strong and don’t tear easily. In addition, polyester is also resistant to shrinking, stretching, fading and abrasion. Thus, the formal trouser made from polyester will last a long time.

Resists Wrinkles

Polyester fabrics resist wrinkles. Thus, formal trousers made from polyester will be wrinkle-free and keep you smart throughout the day.

Due to the wrinkle resistance property of polyester, people who have their shirts wrinkled by seat belts are always advised to wear 100% polyester shirts.

Easy To Clean

Polyester is easy to clean as it does not shrink in the washer or the dryer. Even when you wash your polyester trousers with the wrong water setting, the trousers cannot be ruined in the wash since polyester does not shrink or stretch easily.

Polyester also dries very quickly, implying that you can wash and wear the trousers within a short time.


Polyester is a lightweight fabric with a slightly silkier feel. Thus, when used to make formal trousers, the lightweight aspect of polyester makes the trousers feel light and comfortable.


Most synthetic fabrics are cheap. The fabrics are mass-produced and thus take advantage of economies of scale. Therefore, formal trousers made from polyester fabric are usually cheaper than those made from natural fabrics such as cotton.

Cons Of Polyester As Fabric For Formal Trouser

Can Be Itchy

For people with sensitive skin, polyester can cause itching. Moreover, the different chemicals used in the manufacturing of polyester are known to irritate many people who wear polyester garments.

Poor Breathability

An ideal fabric for formal trousers has to permit perspiration evaporated by the body to escape to the outside so that one is not wet and uncomfortable when sweating.

Polyester has poor breathability properties. Thus, unless when polyester is blended with other breathable fabric, a 100% polyester trouser would be uncomfortable on a hot day.  

Harmful To The Environment

As a fabric developed from non-renewable materials (petroleum), polyester is a major pollutant since it contributes to Carbon Dioxide emissions while also generating a lot of plastic waste and microfibers.

Even if garment manufacturers have made efforts to recycle polyester, an increasing percentage of polyester ends up in a landfill. Thus, if sustainability is a factor to consider when choosing fabric for formal trousers, polyester is not the best fabric.


Pilling on garments is a sign of normal wear and tear on the fabric. Normally, pilling is caused by broken clothing fibers on the surface becoming tangled together so that with time, the threads clump together to form a lint ball that sticks to the clothing.

Due to the loose shorter and shorter polyester fibers, the fabric develops pills more than other fabrics.

Not Good For Hot Weather

A good summer fabric should be breathable so that when the body gets hot, the fabric automatically cools the body by allowing good air circulation. Since polyester is not breathable, it cannot make good fabric for formal trousers.

3. Linen

Linen is a natural fabric that is made from the flax plant. One of the strengths of this fabric is that it is among the most sustainable materials, while it can also be custom-made so that it is ideal for a specific purpose.

Linen fibers are loosely woven, thus making the fabric highly breathable and the preferred choice for summer clothing. Moreover, linen is lightweight and comfortable for the skin. But would it be a good material for formal trousers?

Pros Of Linen As Fabric For Formal Trouser

Its Is Sustainable

As a fabric made from natural fibers, linen is sustainable since biodegradable. Thus, for those looking for sustainable formal trousers, linen is one of the choices to consider.

Highly Breathable

Linen is highly breathable since its fibers are loosely woven to make the fabric used in formal trousers. The excellent breathability of linen implies that linen formal trousers can be worn on a hot day as linen will allow good air circulation in the body.


A hypoallergenic fabric is a fabric that has few substances that can cause allergy. Since linen is hypoallergenic, it is skin-friendly and does not cause skin irritation. Thus, formal trousers made of linen would be ideal for people who have sensitive skin.  

East To Maintain

Linen fabrics are easy to maintain. To clean linen, one can use a washing machine or dry clean it. However, removing stains can be a challenge, and if one is not careful when removing the stains, the fabric can be ruined.

Cons Of Linen As Fabric For Formal Trouser

Wrinkles And Creases Easily

As a natural fabric, linen wrinkles and creases easily. This is a significant drawback for linen since formal trouser needs to be wrinkle-free at all times.

Can Be Unsustainable

When the linen fabric is bleached or dyed, it can lose biodegradability. Thus, a formal linen trouser does not guarantee that the garment is made from a biodegradable fabric.

Hard To Iron

The only way to iron linen effectively is to iron it when it’s damp. Thus, ironing formal linen trousers could be challenging if one does not have a steam iron.

4. Wool

Wool is a natural fabric obtained from sheep and other animals, including rabbits and goats.

The fabric has been used to make different clothing items such as formal trousers, coats, jackets, and sweaters.

However, the main downside of wool fabric is that it is expensive and might also be cruel to the animal.

Pros Of Wool As Fabric For Formal Trouser

Great Absorbency

Wool has good absorbency properties implying that even when one sweats wearing a woolen fabric, the wool fabric will absorb the moisture and keep the skin dry. Indeed, it is reported that wool can absorb up to 30% of its weight in water without feeling wet.  

Soft feel

Wool has a soft feel that makes it comfortable to the skin.


Wool fabric is considered to be the most durable fabric. Indeed, wool fibers can bend up to 20,000 times before breaking.

Cons Of Wool As Fabric For Formal Trouser

Poor stretchability

Wool has poor stretchability, implying that the trouser could be uncomfortable when you sit or walk around wearing woolen trousers.

Wrinkles easily

Even if wool is less prone to wrinkling when compared to cotton or linen, wearing woolen clothing results in the fabric creasing. For example, if you sit in a chair or car for a long time, the woolen garments will crease. In addition, it will also wrinkle during storage.

5. Poly-Cotton Blend

Any fabric, whether natural or synthetic, has its weaknesses and strengths. Thus, the near-perfect formal trousers have to be a blend of natural and synthetic fabrics since, in such a blend, the ensuing material will offer the best properties of the fabrics in the blend.

Thus, the perfect fabric for formal trousers is a blend of polyester and cotton. In this blend, cotton’s lightweight and breathability properties will be blended with the resistance and durability of polyester to give the perfect fabric for formal trousers.

When comparing 100% cotton and polyester to a polyester-cotton blend, the blend is strong, long-lasting, versatile, moisture-wicking, breathable, affordable, and resistant to chemicals. This is why most manufacturers of formal trousers prefer to use poly-cotton blend in formal trousers.

6. Rayon

Rayon is a natural fiber made from wood pulp. Rayon was developed to offer a cheaper alternative to silk. The fabric is breathable, lightweight, and has a good drape.

Pros Of Rayon As Fabric For Formal Trouser

Soft feel

Rayon is soft and smooth to the skin. Rayon is one of the best fabrics for people with sensitive skin since it does not irritate the skin.

Highly Breathable  

Rayon is a highly breathable fabric. Thus, it is a good fabric for formal trousers since it will keep you warm even when the temperatures are high.  

Retains Colors Well

Rayon retains colors for a long time. Therefore, formal trousers made with rayon fabric will last a long time without fading.

Cons Of Rayon As Fabric For Formal Trouser

Difficult To Clean

When washed wrongly, rayon is damaged. Thus, to maintain the properties of the fabric, rayon has to be dry cleaned.

Wrinkles Easily

Rayon wrinkles easily implying that the fabric has to be regularly ironed to keep it free from wrinkles.

Harmful To The Environment

The manufacturing of rayon is harmful to the environment. Thus, rayon should never be considered a sustainable fabric for formal trousers.


To ensure that you enjoy a formal event, you need to wear clothes made with materials perfect for formal clothing. Cotton, linen, polyester, wool, rayon, and poly-cotton blend are all ideal for formal trousers. However, ensure you choose a fabric that will be comfortable for your skin and will offer a good fit.