Men’s trousers: Un­der­stand­ing your pants

The Manica Post - - Fashion/ Dateline/relationships -

TROUSERS are a tricky beast in fash­ion. Of­ten mis­un­der­stood, plagued by an over-abun­dance of terms and names, and sur­pris­ingly dif­fi­cult to find in a com­fort­able fit.

How­ever, pants bring ev­ery­thing to­gether even when they aren’t the star of the show. Un­der­stand­ing the role of your trousers and the op­tions you have in choos­ing them are the keys to com­fort­able, sharp-look­ing clothes for your lower half. The role of trousers in men’s fash­ion

Good trousers are never the defin­ing char­ac­ter­is­tic of a man’s out­fit, un­less you are a cir­cus clown.

A well-cho­sen out­fit should di­rect at­ten­tion to­ward the face and help it stand out in the viewer’s mind, and draw­ing the eye be­low the waist does noth­ing to fur­ther that goal.

In­stead, trousers should present as smooth and un­bro­ken a path as pos­si­ble up the wearer’s body; the best trousers will be able to re­tain their sleek pro­file whether the wearer is mov­ing or sta­tion­ary; seated or stand­ing.

On a more prac­ti­cal note, of course, trousers are also where men tend to carry the lit­tle ne­ces­si­ties of life — their keys, wal­let, cell­phone, and so on.

Cus­tom-made trousers can sim­ply be fit­ted with all the usual daily items in the pock­ets to see if any ad­just­ments are needed. Trouser fit for men

The per­fect pair of trousers should fol­low the nat­u­ral shape of a man’s body: widest at the waist, ta­per­ing all the way to the an­kles, with no ex­cess fab­ric hang­ing loose or bil­low­ing.

At the same time, trousers need to be loose enough to al­low for move­ment, and should never wrin­kle or bunch around the thighs — this is a sign that the trousers are too tight.

Dress trousers should never nar­row and then widen lower down on the body.

Mod­ern dressers should re­mem­ber that the “fall” of dress trousers — the dis­tance from the waist to the crotch — is longer than that of ca­sual jeans, mean­ing that the pants should be worn higher on the body.

Con­tem­po­rary jeans are of­ten fit­ted to be worn at the hips, while dress pants should rest com­fort­ably above the hips.

A well-fit­ted pair of dress pants should never be able to slide off the body on its own, even with­out a belt or sus­penders.

Trousers are of­ten tai­lored for wear with sus­penders rather than belts, in which case the fall will be even longer and the fit slightly looser. This al­lows the pants to “hang” on the man’s body, which presents a very smooth and flat drape.

Many fine dressers pre­fer sus­penders to belts, and of­ten wear trousers with no belt loops at all.

Un­der­stand­ing the role of your trousers and the op­tions you have in choos­ing them are the keys to com­fort­able, sharp-look­ing clothes for your lower half.”

When in doubt, wear a pair of pants with no belt or sus­penders and ex­am­ine the fot. If the trousers pinch or are slip­ping off, the fit is in­cor­rect.

If ex­cess fab­ric is bil­low­ing or “bal­loon­ing” any­where, or if the crotch sags loosely, the trousers are too loose; if wrin­kles and bunch­ing ap­pear in the fab­ric when you move they are too tight.

And, of course, if mov­ing or sit­ting in a pair of trousers is un­com­fort­able for any rea­son, you should be ask­ing your­self if you re­ally want to spend an en­tire day wear­ing them. Pleated vs plain-front pants

Trend-set­ters and fash­ion de­sign­ers can’t seem to make their minds up on the sub­ject of pleats.

One year they’ll be in, and the next year they’ll be de­clared dead for­ever, only to re­turn a few sea­sons later.

Un­der­stand­ing what pleats are and what they do for a gar­ment is more use­ful than know­ing whether the top brands are favour­ing them this year — the fash­ion may come and go, but the ac­tual func­tion of pleats doesn’t change.

Pleats are small folds in the fab­ric of a gar­ment that have been per­ma­nently fixed in place.

In trousers, they ap­pear as small ver­ti­cal lines run­ning from the waist­band to around the same height as the crotch of the gar­ment.

These lit­tle folds of fab­ric add flex­i­bil­ity to the front of the trousers. They can ex­pand slightly when the wearer sits or stretches, keep­ing the same smooth­draped ap­pear­ance with­out any vis­i­ble tight­en­ing and wrin­kling.

A sin­gle fold on each side of the trousers is the most com­mon style, but dou­ble pleats on each side will add more flex­i­bil­ity, mak­ing it ideal for men with wider


Pleats are also an­other help­ful judge of fit — pleated trousers are too tight in the thigh if the folds “open” when stand­ing straight. They should only flex and widen when the wearer sits or stretches his leg out.

Since they add ex­tra flex­i­bil­ity and com­fort, it may seem like pleated trousers are the only log­i­cal choice, but there are a few ad­van­tages to plain-front trousers.

They do of­fer a nar­rower, sleeker front than pleated trousers — so long as the wearer is stand­ing and mostly sta­tion­ary.

Tall, slim men par­tic­u­larly ben­e­fit from plain-front trousers, as any ex­tra cloth around the hips can make their trousers ap­pear too loose. For most men, how­ever, pleats will usu­ally be both the best-look­ing op­tion and the most com­fort­able. Trouser cuffs

Most dress pants have a small band around each an­kle called “cuffs.”

Trouser cuffs are not a nec­es­sary em­bel­lish­ment, but, like trouser pleats, they are of­ten the best-look­ing op­tion for most men.

Trouser cuffs help add a bit of ex­tra weight to the gar­ment, which helps pull them straight at the bot­tom and keeps them from bil­low­ing about too much.

A well-fit­ted cuff should rest against the back of a man’s shoe and drape just on top of the front of the shoe; a slightly-pointed “beak” where the pressed fold of the trouser rests on the shoe is a sign of a good fit.

Cuffs also help to shorten the visual im­pres­sion of a man’s leg, help­ing the chest and face to stand out more.

Of course, shorter men may want to avoid cuffs for just that rea­son, and some men find the un­bro­ken line of un­cuffed trousers more ap­peal­ing.

There is noth­ing less for­mal or dressy about un­cuffed trousers; sim­ply be aware that they should be cut slightly lower in the back of the open­ing than the front to keep a clean drape and that they should be fit­ted par­tic­u­larly closely to pre­vent any bil­low­ing of the fab­ric.

Un­cuffed trousers also tend to have a slightly shorter life span, as the dou­bled-over fab­ric of a cuff wears a bit bet­ter (and can al­ways be turned over a touch fur­ther by a tai­lor to hide and wear-andtear with­out chang­ing the look of the gar­ment).

In the in­ter­ests of bal­ance, pleated pants al­most al­ways fea­ture cuffs and plain-front trousers are fre­quently cuf­f­less.

Break­ing these rules does not ex­actly con­sti­tute a glar­ing faux pas, but it would be an odd stylis­tic choice, and risks draw­ing at­ten­tion to the trousers — the op­po­site of their func­tion.

It’s best to opt for the bal­anced ap­pear­ance and wear un­pleated trousers with­out cuffs; pleated trousers with them. Trouser pock­ets

Tra­di­tion­ally, the front pocket open­ing on a pair of dress trousers is a straight up-and-down slit, usu­ally with no or very min­i­mal hem­ming.

This is to re­duce its visual im­pact, hid­ing the fact that there is a pocket there at all as much as pos­si­ble. Slanted pock­ets, par­tic­u­larly with a dis­tinc­tive hem, are more ca­sual but still ap­pro­pri­ate on most trousers.

You will al­most never see the scooped style of jeans pock­ets on dress pants, out­side of the oc­ca­sional pair of cor­duroys or sim­i­lar dress-ca­sual wear.

Back pock­ets, like the front pock­ets, are most tra­di­tion­ally a sin­gle, un­adorned slit, this time hor­i­zon­tal.

But­tons are equally ap­pro­pri­ate to­day, but adorn­ments like flaps and tabs are a some­what busier and more ca­sual look.

Some men may choose to have one or both of these pock­ets elim­i­nated al­to­gether, es­pe­cially on trousers that are part of a suit — un­less a man car­ries a great many small items his suit jacket of­fers am­ple cargo space on its own. This keeps the drape of the trousers com­pletely even in the back, and can be more com­fort­able to sit on as well.

All men are, of course, aided by keep­ing as few items as pos­si­ble in their pock­ets. An over­loaded pocket will bulge no mat­ter how well the pants are tai­lored (though bring­ing your usual daily load of small items to a fit­ting can help a tai­lor make sure your trousers of­fer enough room). Trouser fab­rics in menswear

Most for­mal men’s dress pants are made of wo­ven wool or woollen blends.

Gray flan­nel trousers are a long-stand­ing clas­sic, and with good rea­son — the colour goes well with al­most ev­ery­thing and the fab­ric is com­fort­able and durable, cool in the sum­mer and warm in the win­ter.

Navy blue is nearly as com­mon as gray, and just as for­mal, while brown and khaki are sta­ples of ca­sual of­fice wear.

Black trousers are less com­mon out­side of matched suits, as they tend to draw the eye away from what­ever colour is worn above.

Heav­ier fab­rics will cre­ate a smoother drape and help the trousers hang neatly, but are also less com­fort­able in the sum­mer.

There you have it, you are now equipped with enough knowl­edge to make smart pur­chas­ing de­ci­sions when out shop­ping for pants. - On­line

Trouser cuffs are back with a bang

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