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!
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.
Photo: Luke Carby
Photo: Luke Carby
Interesting post, as always. While I have nothing to add regarding the trouser fit issue, I was a bit surprised at the portrayed ensemble being credited to Anderson & Sheppard. I was under the impression that this was made by Dege & Skinner, as seemingly confirmed by their website. While on the (slightly off) topic of the Lord’s presentation, may I ask if the Chittleborough & Morgan suit mentioned in your coverage of the event is the one with a windowpane waistcoat and chalkstripe trousers? Thank you, fantastic work on the blog.
You’re right on Dege, I was misinformed. I’ll change that now.
And yes you’re right, that was the one. Not quite me, the mix of patterns, but it’s a neat idea. They made one for Sarah from the Rake as well, which will feature in an upcoming issue.
Jeremy Hackett used to wear one that was three different widths of chalkstripe, which I liked better I think.
I remember the Hackett one from the collection some years ago, I liked that too. Looking forward to the Rake article, as well as updates on your own C&M suit. Thanks for the reply.
I’d also like to just add how much difference you make to us all in this area with your best blog of all and wonder what I’d do without you’re daily guidance.
Wow. That’s really kind Joshua, thank you
high waisted trousers look ok if you have a slim waist and a good chest but a compromise is having the trousers just slightly higher on the waist, dont have a longer jacket, it looks bad always , it should fit just below the buttocks . also Id have a belt instead of side adjusters, side ajusters bare very problematical
Very interesting. I have a slim/fit build, and I generally find that regular low waisted trousers increase the dreaded “muffin top” shirt problem.
Do I understand the above compromise/balance correctly that the trousers would start from around the navel, rather than at the natural waist/slimmest point?
My navel and natural waist are pretty much in the same place, but it does vary between people. The top would be between the waist and natural waist though, yes
I have recently come across a beautiful Richard James single breasted jacket. However I am concerned about the colour – described as French blue. I presume that this is really summer wear only ?
The fit of my suit trousers has often been the greatest annoyance for me in purchasing a new suit. It is not so much that they are not well tailored – I have MTM from Jonathan Quearney and bespoke by Chris Kerr which are beautiful and wonderfully cut – but rather that I have that problem of ‘middle age spread’ and a hollow back. On leaving the house the trousers look great but after walking around or sitting then the waist has slid down and the work of getting the trousers to the right length then feels wasted. I have used braces which do help but always feel the need to wear the jacket to hide them. Side tabs don’t seem to help, and I hate the look of a belt with a suit. Perhaps the answer is to embrace the need for braces, but any suggestions or advise would be welcome.
Braces do help, but a well-cut bespoke trouser shouldn’t do that…
Hey Simon, there seems quite a leap in price from RTW to M2M/bespoke trousers. I am searching for a trouser with a rise of about 11 inch (33″ inch waist) -similar to Drake’s Everyday suit trouser. Unfortunately, fashion seems to dictate RTW trousers have a rise of about 10 inches max. Are you aware of any RTW trousers with a higher rise or recommend tailors in London? (My budget doesn’t stretch to Savile Row prices – although if this is your recommendation then it would be good to know) Thank you
Yes, there aren’t many such brands around. Have you tried the rest of the Drakes trouser range, and perhaps Anderson & Sheppard as well?
Thanks Simon, will check again.
Hi Simon, if the trousers fit the way they should, should there be ripples along the seams of the inner thigh when seated ? Thanks.
Yes, that can often happen and be fine. You could have a wider thigh and have less of that, but judge the fit by how clean the look is when you’re standing up, and how comfortably. Not sitting down.
I was wondering if there is a recommended relationship between the waist of the trouser and the jacket’s waist button? And does that relationship change between jacket styles (i.e. single or double breasted)?
I tend to have a strong attachment to my navel (no pun intended) as a landmark. I’m hesitant to have my trouser’s waist higher than my navel. And I think it would look odd to have the jackets waist button below my navel as well. Is this irrational?
Not necessarily, but think in terms of your natural waist (between your ribs and hip bone) rather than navel. And read my post on why I don’t wear braces, perhaps. That goes through the advantages and disadvantages of high waisted trousers (above your navel)
Just had my consultation at the Lot 1 San Francisco location. I went with the high-rise model, and am having the same operation Lizzie performed for you done in the back due to my relatively thin waist but large hips/seat.
For the front rise, it is right at my belly button and the back rise is nearly the same height, so the jean is cut straight across. I know that your Levi’s have a higher back rise and is then tilted towards to front due to a front medium rise. If I want to wear the jeans at true “high rise” on the natural waist, is that above my belly button? I guess my first fitting with the test jean would also help me decide, which is coming up in two weeks.
Yes, it might well be above your belly button. Do make sure it’s comfortable at that height though
To add to my earlier comment, the natural waist should be right below the ribs, right?
Yes, that is the natural waist. That doesn’t mean a high rise is always at that point though – it could be a little lower and still be considered high
Doesn‘t the cinched waist when wearing high rise trousers accentuate the hips and thighs especially with pleats? It looks kind of feminine and old manish to me when the jacket is removed. Does removing fabric on the thigh help to make the leg line look more straight? Does a lower rise also have this problem?
Yes, that is definitely a problem with high-rise trousers – see post here on why I tend to wear more of a mid-rise as a result.
A mid-rise has less of this problem because the waist isn’t so small.