Bespoke suits are the highest achievement, to date, of an ancient art form – Tailoring. There’s a lot of detail to get your head around when thinking suits. But fear not Gents, this series will shed some light on what you need to know.
#4. How Your Suit Trousers Should Fit
In our last post we took a look at the Basic Fit Rules for Suit Jackets, with which (unless it’s one of *those parties) you’ll probably be wearing a pair of trousers. And, once you have internalized the information below, they’ll be as well fitting as your jacket ;)
Although the rules for pants (as well as their overall technology) are less complex, their fit is no less important to the overall impression of your suit. We begin with
1 – The waistband, which sits differently on each person, but generally in the dent just under your hip bone.
Traditionally suit trousers are worn slightly higher, especially if you have a less than flat stomach. With a prominent stomach the pants can help smooth the transition from upper to lower body if worn around the largest part. I see a lot of larger gents wear their pants under their stomachs, and it just accentuates that issue.
Unfortunately the grunge trend has also caused many respectable men to wear their pants far further down their ass than is decent. The prominence of jeans, which are designed to wear lower than formal pants, also contribute to this tendency.
Really just try and wear your pants at what your mother would consider a ‘decent’ height ;) Then ensure you can fit 2 fingers in the waistband (to accommodate for inflation), and that there are sufficient loops to prevent sagging when wearing a belt.
2 – Crotch: Again a personal preference, but the most important thing is that you’re able to walk without constantly putting strain on the J seam. This causes the most common tear in your suit: The ripped crotch, which is a direct result of poor pattern grading, especially in the larger sizes. I wrote an entire rant on this here if you wish to feel my pain.
Try and get the crotch to fit comfortably high, without affecting circulation. If you can do the Captain Morgan without feeling too much of a pull in the crotch you’re fine.
If you have the money and time it is a good idea to get your pants tailored to the side you dress (i.e. which side of your pants your personal belongings are stowed in) as it makes for a far more comfortable fit and ease of movement than you can get off the peg. Mass produced pants just keep the crotch below the vital region to avoid pinching.
3 – Pleats: Are considered a bit old fashioned, but if you’re a larger gent then don’t shy away from at least one pleat in the front of the pants as it increases mobility and gives the illusion of a smaller waist. Creases also help give the illusion of length, but beware with off the peg creases that veer off to the side when you put them on. Most modern suit pants are flat fronted, and I’m sure the agony of having to correctly iron in the pleats has a large influence here.
4 – Hem: Personal taste, as usual, is going to decide what you’re looking for. Pants seem to be getting shorter by the day, and it’s quite trendy at the moment to have a bit of your ankle exposed when standing.
Usually you’re looking to have the back of the hem touch the bottom of your heel (the top of the sole), with a slight crease (called a break) formed in the front of the pants. Turn-ups are a bit old fashioned, and I’d steer clear of them if I were a larger gent.
There’s more info on the different types of breaks (and what exactly is a break) here:
Now prepare yourself emotionally and get out there and get into a well fitting suit!! Next we’ll look at what these mysterious terms ‘off-the-peg‘, ‘made-to-measure‘ and ‘bespoke‘ actually mean. As well as some common errors people make when purchasing suits. Because I’ve seen too many men be ripped off paying for a service they aren’t getting!
Final Word: How does it make you feel?
I’ll leave you with one VERY important final word: Rules of style and fit are there only for commercialism. Fit guides are published by fashion houses to advertise their own products. Liberate yourselves!
You’re ultimately the man to decide how you wish to present yourself to the world, and are the sole owner of the body that will need to move through the demands of the day in these clothes. When choosing to purchase a garment, ask yourself simply:
1. Does this garment move comfortably with my body?
2. Would I respond to a stranger striking up a conversation with me if they were dressed like this?
3. Am I so confused that I should maybe just chat with a tailor?
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