Hi Simon:

Just wanted to say a big thank you for the wonderful work that you have been doing, it’s really pointed the rest us in the right direction.

One thing that I have been rather confused on is how pants should fit for someone with my physique. I am rather short (5’8), have a long waist (I mean distance from navel to crotch), a prominent behind and more muscular thighs and calves from soccer, skiing, and sprinting…as a result, you could say that my lower body is bigger than my upper body.

My goal is to elongate the body/legs in choosing a fit for the pants. I know I should go for shorter leg length that barely touch the shoes to create that impression…but should I opt for low rise or more traditional high-waisted pants? Should I go for a more slim or relaxed fit to minimise the size of legs/butt?

Lastly, there is quite a bit of space between the bottom of the jacket and the inseam at the crotch, given my low waist and preference for shorter jackets, and when buttoned, the jacket barely covers the top half of the fly zipper…is this displeasing to the eye? Is there a way to minimize it?

Thanks so much!

Gratefully,

Victor



Hi Victor,


That’s quite a lot of points, covering most of the basics of fit and proportion in suits. I’ll try to provide the basics as succinctly as I can. There’s more detail in my book, Le Snob: Tailoring.


First, the key to lengthening your legs is for the trousers to give the impression of a long, unbroken line. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the trousers should only just touch the shoes, because when you walk you don’t want them flapping around too high either – interrupting that line. Get a nice balance in length, with perhaps a slant from the back of the hem to the front, so the break at the front is minimal but they stay in touch at the back.


The same principle applies to the question of slim versus relaxed fit. The trouser should drop in a clean line from your bum and waist. So anything that interrupts that – such a tight fit around the thighs or calves – is bad.


And on the height of the waist, yes a high-waisted trouser is always going to make your legs look longer. It will also solve your problem of not covering the waistband with the jacket, and be more pleasing to the eye when worn with that jacket.


However, in my opinion high-waisted trousers are unflattering on most people when the jacket is removed. If you agree with this, you need to find a compromise. I would suggest slightly longer jackets and a slightly higher waist on the trouser. I compromise by having my side-adjustors on the seam of my trousers, which raises them by around an inch (see pic above). It’s not perfect, but if you swap between wearing and not wearing a jacket, there is no other option.


The picture at top is a good example. There is about two inches between the waistband and the jacket button: enough so no shirting shows through, even with the model’s hands in his pockets, but the trousers are not that high. The outfit was made by Dege & Skinner.


I hope that helps Victor. Please add any follow-up questions in the comments below if anything is not clear.


Best

Simon

Photo: Luke Carby