Occupying the bottom floor of our Birmingham location is Universal Works. Contemporary, quirky and a veritable melting pot of influences drawn from workwear, sportswear, the military and even classic British tailoring. Headed up by fellow midlander David Keyte, alumni of Paul Smith and Maharishi, the brand’s focus is on “good, honest menswear” and we’d say they’re fairly on the mark with that description, serving up their unique range of contemporary classic silhouettes in inventive colours and fabrics each season. The common-sense meets tried and tested approach extends as far as the brand’s extensive selection of trousers of which we’re always well stocked across a number of different shapes. For anyone new to the UW trouser game or returning veterans in need of a refresher, here’s an outline of the fits we’re carrying for SS19:
Universal Works’ flagship trouser style and a best seller for us every season, the Aston is described as “semi-slim” with a simple, easy to wear regular tapered fit that doesn’t hug the leg but cuts a sleek silhouette. Left a little longer, trouser-y enough that you can get away with it for work and chino-y enough that it doesn’t look out of place with pumps and a t-shirt, the Aston Pant is a versatile wardrobe essential and a fantastic starting point for those that aren’t looking for the more directional shape of the brand’s wider fits.
At the time of writing the Military Chino is the newest of the Universal Works trouser styles, there’s plenty of room through the seat and thigh with the leg tapering fairly sharply from a loose top-block to a neat, slim leg opening. The detailing is minimal here, with two button secured rear pockets and two discreet welted side pockets and a button fly the noteworthy design elements. For those that seek a slightly looser fit than the Aston or prefer a cleaner, less detailed trouser, the military chino is a great option.
Based on the OG-107 uniform trousers issued to American soldiers during the 1950s, the Universal Works Fatigue Pant is loose and straight through the slightly shorter cut leg with darted cuffs that pull the leg into a slight taper towards the bottom. In classic fatigue fashion, there are two large front pockets with visible external stitching and two rear flap pockets. A very distinctive trouser shape that Universal Works have used across several styles in their range, including the loose pant (a cleaner, less pocket-y take) and the track trouser (which we’ll get to next). Go for olive for a traditional, military inspired look or a classic navy for a cleaner version of this timeless style.
The Universal Works Track Trouser is the Fatigue Pant’s sporty little brother – very similar fit-wise with a slightly roomier waist/hip area. The traditional fatigue pockets are gone in favour of more subtle welted side pockets and a single rear flap pocket. The most note-worthy difference here however is the addition of an elasticated waistband with an internal drawcord alongside the standard button closure we’re all used to, making this style not only an easy wear but also giving the wearer the flexibility to size up or down should they wish to experiment with more/less volume in the leg. The playful external sport stripe detail and lightweight, washed canvas fabrication combine to make Track Trouser a standout for SS19.
Double Pleat Pant
Inspired by the sort of impeccably sharp trousering commonly seen in menswear during the 1950s, the Double Pleat Pant is a very relaxed style with a mid-rise and two distinctive pleats either side of the front waistband. The leg stays relaxed throughout but finishes with a slight taper to keep things contemporary. There’s a smarter edge to this trouser which only adds to the versatility; dress it up with a smarter shoe or down with a pump/runner; you can even add a bakers jacket in a matching fabric to make it a workwear suit. For those that like things wide, the double pleat is the perfect option.