One of the reasons jacket fits and styles are so hard to describe is they cannot easily be put into numbers.

Trousers, by comparison, are pretty straightforward.

From the shoe up, there is: circumference at the trouser opening or bottom, at the knee, and then at the fork or thigh.

There might be subtle variations in between these (particularly from iron work), but in general you can draw a straight line from one to the other, and describe the line of the leg.

Above the fork there is the circumference at the seat (bum) and then the waist. These are more a case of comfort and fit rather than style.

And above the waist there is the height of the trouser – usually described as the rise, from the fork to the top of the waistband.

In this post – in response to reader requests – I’ll set out what I usually choose in terms of those first three measurements (bottom, knee, thigh), in order to describe the style of the trousers. Rise can be left for another day.

I checked four types of trouser I have and have covered on the site, in preparation for this post:

Interestingly, although these go from very formal trousers to very casual, there wasn’t much variation except in the denim.

The average was the Whitcomb & Shaftesbury trouser (above), which measured:

  • Bottom: 19cm (7.5 inch, diameter)
  • Knee: 24cm
  • Thigh: 32cm

Cerrato (shown top) was also 19cm at the bottom, but a little wider at the knee and thigh, by half a centimetre each time.

So Marco clearly cuts a little closer to the thigh, going in a little more sharply under the seat before running down through the leg.

Interestingly, it is this part of the cut, at the thigh, that I think often determines whether a trouser looks old-fashioned or old-mannish. You can have a wide-legged, swinging Oxford bag, but if it is cut relatively close here, it avoids the old comfort-oriented look.  

Of course, the further you go up the leg, the less room there is for style, and the more is constrained by your actual legs and by comfort.

The bottom of the trouser could be narrowed by 2cm and still fit OK; but if the thigh was 2cm narrower, it would be very restrictive when you sat down.

(The Pommella trousers, shown above, are perhaps the narrowest I have in this respect.)

My Incotex chinos (above) were actually slightly wider at the bottom, at 19.5cm, which is not what I was expecting. But they had less taper than the others, with the knee measurement at 23.5cm.

My Levi’s (below) were the only ones that were substantially narrower. The bottom here was 17.5cm, and the knee 21cm.

A narrower leg can be better suited to casual trousers like jeans, where elegance and straight, clean lines are less of a priority.

And narrower trousers do tend to look slightly younger – an association that is of course highly relative, dependent on social context, and changes over time; but still cannot be ignored.

That said, today I would have my jeans slightly wider; a new pair are being cut with an opening of 18 cm.

All this will hopefully be useful to those many readers that asked about what to say when their tailor asks about such things.

But it must be remembered that these measurements are also relative to the customer.

We’ve already noted how little room there is for variation in the thigh, but even at the bottom of the trouser, the opening needs to be in proportion.

A man with a very big waist (mine measures 33 inches, or 84cm) will look silly if his trouser tapers aggressively to a 16cm opening. He will need a slightly wider leg.

And a taller man can arguably also get away with more taper, as there is more leg in which to do it.

Shoe size is also often used as a reference for how wide the leg opening should be.

Personally I think this is over-emphasised, as the correlation between shoe size and height or weight is not that strong, and those two things are more important.

There are other variables, of course, such as the rise of the trouser, where a man tends to carry his weight, and so on. These together make it impossible to create a calculation that spits out an optimum leg line.

Tailors often have rules to go by – such as the knee being two inches bigger than the bottom – but these are rough guides and are expected to change at the first fitting, when both tailor and customer look at how they like the overall shape. 

I would encourage readers to do that too, and only use my measurements as a single reference point, entirely dependent on my physical measurements. 

I am, since you ask, just over 6 foot tall (183cm), measure 33 inches around the waist, and hover around 12 stone (76kg).

A bit personal, but I’ll allow it.

 
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
187 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Anonymous

Simon
If you don’t mind – where do you carry your weight? I am a very similar build (pretty much exact same height, 31/2 inch waist and 77 kg). I carry a little weight around midriff but am pretty lean. You weight less but have a larger waist – which confuses me a bit!

Anonymous

I agree that ultimately it depends on the shape/size of the wearer and would add that the seat and thigh dimensions will have to be slightly more generous if the trouser has pleats rather than a flat front.

I know you are going to post a separate piece in rise, which is a fundamental measure if a trouser is going to be in proportion to its wearer. However, a quick look at the trousers you feature in your piece suggest to me that you need to lengthen your front rise a touch to compensate for the curve in your lower back.

PATRICK

Simon’s rise would be around 22.5cm. This rule works for me 90% of the time when drafting a client’s jeans. (It’s obvoiusly just a guide and you add or substract a cm depending on the pant’s design)

Your Waist | Your rise
71cm 21cm
76cm 21cm
81cm 22cm
86cm 23cm
91cm 24cm
96cm 25cm
101cm 26cm

Oliver

Is it possible to have trousers altered to reduce the rise if you think it is too high?

Oliver

Yes, though that might be the case, which is a pity.

Will be interested to read the post on trouser rise when it comes.

Lau

In your opinion, would it be possible to increase the rise instead?

Sam

Hi Simon,

May sound like a strange question but where do you measure the thigh?

Also I have often seen hip measurements given, typically across the bottom of the fly. Is this synonymous with the seat measurement? For someone with wide hips this is something I am careful with with RTW otherwise pockets tend to billow out…..

Sam

J

Hi Simon,
I have been browsing your website and looking at various articles on trousers but I’ve found that you don’t very often add photos of the seat, or putting it another way, photos that show the fit from the rear. You seem to favour the side on or front view in the photography. Is there a specific reason for this as I think it would be incredibly helpful to have more shots of the back too?
Best regards,
J

JJ Katz

Useful article, thanks.

A nitpick, if I may: I know that in this site you try (successfully, IMHO) to reconcile more ‘permanent’ stylishness with a sense of being ‘with the times’ (i.e., reasonably fashionable) but I was a little bit surprised by the ‘old man’ / ‘old-mannish’ comment relating to trouser width.

Not least because, long before high-end tailored garments like these are worn out, fashions will inevitably have swung in some other direction, no?

Peter

Excellent article with wonderful trouser diagram at head. I’m in favor of photographs of rear, too.
The old man trouser look is well-known and ugly.

Fabrizio Gatti

I believe that “updating” my pants and reducing the width of their bottoms to 8.25” is not at all “old man/ old mannish”. It is a good compromise for expensive cloth meant to last several decades, which also shows that I don’t follow trends. In a few years, when the 7”-7.5” trend is over, my pants will still be current. Nowadays my new tailor in Chicago is cutting the bottoms for me at 8.25”. And they look great. Let’s not forget that bigger tailors with a solid reputation and tradition have their own style and would almost certainly refuse to cut shorter than usual jackets and tighter than usual pants, just for the sake of following a trend. Sometimes I disagree with Simon’s choices, even though he is the only style expert in the net (actually, the best) whose advise and knowledge I consider very dear. My five cents, as they say in America.

Fabrizio Gatti

All clear now. Thank you again, Simon

Hugh

Who is the new tailor?

-Hugh
Chicago

Fabrizi Gatti

Great article. Looking at my old A. Caraceni pants (and also Gianni Agnelli’s ones) and the ones from Anderson & Sheppard (I believe) that Prince Charles wears, it seems to me that the big tailors in the business favor wider widths at the bottom (8.5” – 9”). I am stuck at 8.25”, maybe due to my age (68). I sent Carlo Andreacchio a picture of me wearing the Caraceni pants (9.25”) and he responded that they were OK and that, if anything, I should consider reducing the width to .5”. I instead followed your advise of 8” ( actually I opted for 8.25”). Regards,

Robert

This is gold as always. Would it be absolutely preposterous to ask you to add your actual leg circumference to your measurements? It would really help those of us who struggle with online mtm orders to get an idea of how much extra room is needed for that pleat or crease. Thank you.

Anonymous

My measurements are similar to yours but I have large thighs (33cm) and glutes, and prominent calves. With off the peg, I need to size up at least a couple of sizes and have the waist taken in, even then the trousers tend to catch on my calves and hang away at the back of my shoes. It can also be a problem with bespoke if cut too slim. Do I just need to accept I need to wear fuller trousers with a wider leg opening?

Nicolas Strömbäck

Speaking of socks Simon, which do have the least friction in your opinion?

JB

I have a similar issue with very prominent calves and slightly backward curved legs, making rtw trousers more or less impossible to find. Having a leg opening smaller than 23 cm doesn’t really seem possible for me.

I haven’t ventured into bespoke trousers yet, would you theoretically say there’s a greater chance of getting a better fit than high end MTM? After all there’s only so much you can do in trousers compared to jackets.

JB

I’m doing mtm today via Stòffa and Saman Amel, hence my doubt/question whether it’d be worth the increased cost of bespoke.

Peter K

Thanks Simon. This is useful and I will take some of these measurements from my favorite trousers. They will be useful when considering buying trousers online (the only way I can access some better quality ones that fit my slim legs). Thankfully, many online sellers provide quite detailed measurements.

Keeping in mind of course the slightly different measurement points different clothing makers use.

AJ

This got me thinking about an issue I have with some trousers. Some seem to have a much higher rise in the front than in the back resulting in sort of a baggy crotch area. The lowest point is straight below the zipper. I have this with some types of ready to wear suits. Is there an easy fix by a tailor?

Peter B

I think considering shoe size is still important.
Say you have very large feet, if you were to aggressively taper at the bottom, it would only emphasize the size of your shoes and may even exaggerate them a bit; so taking that into account is relevant.
Great post, as always.

Dave

Simon. Thank you for this emphasis on trousers and very much looking forward to the piece on rise as well. So much is often said about jackets that trousers are often overlooked but to me, are actually just as important in the overall wearing experience.

Chancellor

I have a consistent problem with my trousers (all RTW, and all taken in a little at the waist as my waist is smaller than the sizes I’ve ever found sold). Specifically, I invariably have a crease in the back where my seat meets the thighs. I need to lean forward around 30-40 degrees for it to straighten out (obviously, I don’t normally stand or go about my day this way).

I’m wondering if this is (a) an issue with the pitch of the trouser legs v. seat, (b) a reflection that the rear rise is too long as compared to the front rise for how I wear my trousers, or (c) an artifact of the waist typically being taken in 2 inches.

Anonymous

Trouser legs don’t have a pitch. You need a “short back rise” adjustment.

Jordan Healey

I too prefer a knee of ~24cm but due to my thick calves I think a slightly wider leg opening works better for me. These days I go for 21-22cm

lives in Suffolk

Ha. I don’t know what you guys are stressing about with your ‘large’ thighs. I had to read the posts twice to make sure you weren’t confusing cm with inches.

My calf measurement is 54cm/21″, my thigh 69cm/27″. Best I can do is find a tailor who doesn’t cut me trousers that look like Kim Jong Un’s.

lives in Suffolk

I realise, of course, that your measurements are flat across the trousers, mine are leg circumference – so should be halved for comparison. I hope.

Anonymous

Simon

Apart from Incotex, any other brands you go to for chinos?

Thanks in advance.

Anonymous

Exactly the situation I’m in. However, their summer Batavia fabric doesn’t appear to be very good quality. In contrast, their doeskin for winter is excellent.

Martin

Incotex call it Royal Batavia (which sounds a little bit like a joke to me). Do you know what is special about it?

Anonymous

I ordered a pair from Trunk. They were paper thin and seemed to be slightly baggier than the doeskin pairs I have. To be clear, I always wear regular fit Incotex trousers. I wasn’t impressed by the quality of the fabric at all.

Peter

Simon, are any of your Incotex trousers in unusual colours?
Seems to me the colours of Incotex trousers offered for sale in England are quite conservative? I saw online once the Incotex trouser colours offered in Italy and there were many more.

Anonymous

What colors would you favor in chinos, besides tan and olive?

Daniel

Simon, did you also try the chinos from (Luigi) Borrelli? They could be also excellent, but maybe a bit too slim. I personally like the Incotex (slim, Four Season cotton blend) best. And their cotton-linen-blend chinos are fantastic for really hot climate or in tropical countries. For a bit more rugged (vintage) version, I prefer the Studio D’Artisan chinos (tapered version), I think the quality is top notch. The Unis (“Gio”) from USA are also quite good as an universal chino in my opinion. By the way this blog is interesting and informative.

Tim

Great read! I frequently find it a bit hard to get a hem width that looks natural. Most pants these days can be rather slim, which has a tendency to make my overly wide and flat-ish feet look rather odd, at least in my opinion. I don’t think 8.5G is that out of proportion for being 178cm but I often find them not looking nearly as elegant as I wish. Perhaps I’m just overthinking it.

S

Simon,

Which Incotex model do you currently go for?

This type?

https://www.trunkclothiers.com/incotex-batavia-four-season-regular-chino-grey

Thanks,
S

S

Do you like the cotton / synthetic mix?

Anonymous

S

Get the doeskin fabric chinos instead of Batavia. The quality is way better.

DKP

What about the break Simon? Doesn’t look like you usually go for much of one. Is that correct?

John

Hi Simon,
Funnily enough, we have exactly the same measurements but for the shoes, if I remember your past posts!
So to me the Pommela’s would have been a bit narrow too!
A very good idea to draw the attention of PS readers to this important topic of measurements.
John

Philipp

Dear Simon,

great post as always. I had some cotton trousers made by Luxire in quite the same style as yours from Pommella. I find some of them tend to buckle around at the knee area and beneath. It looks a bit as if there`s a buckle at the knee giving the impression that the knee overlaps the bottom part. I was wondering wether this comes from the (rather slim) cut or the fabric (as it`s pronounced differently on different trousers). Do you have an idea where this might result from?

Robert

Trousers should be cut with a slightly curved pleat to accomodate the natural curve of the knees and calves. In bespoke tailoring it involves a lot of precision work with a steam iron. You can try it yourself next time you press your trousers. It is possible to shape the fabric.

joshgtv

Hi Simon, a little off-track perhaps, but how prevalent is use of metric units in the UK? I ask the question because here in Australia we’ve used the metric system since 1966, but most measurements in tailoring still use the imperial. I would’ve thought that you would use imperial too, but you measure in centimetres. As a classic car nerd I’ve also wondered why you English have always used metric (cubic centimetres) for measuring engine capacity but stuck with horsepower and pound/feet. Off-track as I say!

Peter

Imperial measurement was and may still be used in the US. Engine capacity measurement is perhaps influenced by the German engineers and necessary for certain technical matters.

Simon Thomas

Simon,

Thanks for this. Would it also be possible to a piece on the different options for pleats please? I do find it quite confusing what I should be looking for. Is it just fashion or is there something else to it? Unless you’ve done that already that is.

Anonymous

Thank you for this – more articles on this topic are welcome. The Pommella and W&S trousers make for beautiful silhouettes. A small point; you begin with metric measurements and end with imperial (at end of article). Given that much of the readership is in the US, UK, Australia (apologies to others) can I suggest that imperial might be a more useful expression of dimension. As an addition to the subject of the rise could you also consider (variously or together) pockets, pleats and the finishing at the bottom (particularly whether ends should be cut straight – that is perpendicular to the length, or, as one tailor suggested, leaving the back 1/2 to 3/4 inch longer than the front making for a slightly angled but more elegant finish?). You make excellent points re. thigh width (old mannish) and shoe size. Out of interest, to gain a sense of proportion what shoe size are you (thinking of the Bemers and Pommellas 2nd to last image)?

Toby

A military hem can only really work on formal trousers. Not worth trying on cords or anything less formal

mark

Which were the Levi’s in the article?

Axel

Simon,

The measures you took for Bottom, Knee and Thigh, above, would those also apply let say for a summer Linnen trouser? Or would you rather accept more “clearence” in this case?

Keith Taylor

I’d prefer to go narrower than wider, if I had to choose between the two. I find with linen there’s a fine line between ‘look at me, the embodiment of casual summer style’ and ‘look at me. I double as a windsock by motorway bridges on the weekends’ 🙂

willingtolearn

I think Simon has highlighted a key challenge is trousers here – for those with athletic legs, typically meaning large thighs ans seat. The narrow waist to wider thighs and the front back rise are difficult. The horizontal waist is often a problem and the angled waist seems to be the right solution, but tailors loathe it for some reason. No one ever notices it in real life.

Rups

Simon at the waist do your trousers taper inward to hug your abdomen or are they left relatively vertical at the top since you have side adjusters. ?

I sometimes find trousers which fit flush at the waist are a little tight when you sit down as the amdomen crunches up. Therefore I ask for a little bit of extra room (1/4 inch) to give some space. How do you deal with this problem?

Michael Pascalis

Hi Simon, all the final measurements u describe are only cosmetic. Your problem is the front rise which is too long. As a trouser cutter and maker I can see that in the pictures. However u need a little more round on the hips to allow ease on the Seat. Pascalis Bespoke Tailoring , Sydney Australia.

Anonymous

Understand your point re. military hem Toby. What re. the advantages over straight hem or is it just a matter of personal choice?

Toby

If you have an even hem, the back will tend to be too short unless you have a lot of break in the front.
A military hem will allow you to have a good length at the back with little if any break at the front.

Alan

Simon, apart from cotton what other fabrics might work for khaki trousers?

A.

Hi Simon,
do your trousers from different makers have slightly different front rise and back rise measurements? Or a different crotch cut?

For example I have some trousers from a maker A with (including 4.5cm waistband) 46cm back rise and 29cm front rise with a more “rounded” crotch shape, while some others from maker B have (including 5-6cm waistband) 45 back rise and 32 front rise with a “V-shape” crotch…

Stan Fitzroy-Mendis

Hi Simon,

Thoughtful analysis and great style. I especially like your take on the Pommella trouser and the thought behind the details. Just lovely.

I write to you from Sydney, Australia where the weather is for the most part pleasantly warm and sunny. This poses two problems as follows:

1) jackets are light weight and often not worn at all on hot days at the office; and

2) trouser materials that hold their structure well like Calvary twill wool are far to hot to wear in Sydney.

I have been wearing bespoke shirts for years but sadly my trousers let me down. I have a few pairs of incotex cotton mix but am more partial to the 1st-pat-rn cotton 1940s cut trouser with a generous knee.

The details around the waist band and pockets of your Pommella cavalry twill trousers really thrilled me. They just look great and very comfortable in the seat with a nice high rise. I would wear them a little wider in the knee because a tapered look with my chest width is a little out of proportion for me personally.

What material do you recommend for warmer climates for gents seeking a bespoke look but with the warmer weather squarely in mind? What material should I take to my Tailor? A basket weave navy cotton perhaps?

I look forward to hearing your views and recommendations.

Regards,

Stan

TD

Wow! Your blog is amazing, Simon. So much in-depth information that other fashion blogs gloss over.

I have a question that I’ve been pondering for a long time. As a general rule, what would you consider the minimum thigh measurement that is comfortable enough without old-mannish look (how much to add to your body measurement)? E.g. if my thigh is 56 cm in circumference (28 cm across), what should be the minimum pants measurements at the thigh? Would 28 + 2 = 30 cm be too little or just right?

Keep it up, Simon.

george tsiliras

SIMON HELLO
I WANT TO ASK HOW MUCH IS THE GAP BETWEEN THE BOTTOM OF THE TROUSER AND SHOE,TO ACHIEVE PERFECT LENGTH
THANK YOU

Anthony Williams

Hi Simon
When would you recommend adding cuffs on trousers when having a suit made?
Can you have cuffs without pleats, and vica versa?
Kind Regard
Anthony

James

Simon

I’m sure this has been mentioned before but I’m afraid despite searching I couldn’t find it. What size are the cuffs on these trousers?

Apologies again if this is answers elsewhere.

Ben

How would you measure the rise on an existing pair of trousers? I am curious to know if you measure from the top of the waist band all the way down to wear the four seams (2 inseams, the seam down the back, and the seam below the fly)? Or are there different measuring points?

Shem

Hey Simon do you have any recommendations for brands which sell ivy League style type kahki chinos – higher rise, flat front, with space in the tighs and legs but slim enough to pair well with a sportscoat?

Alexander Tallroth

Dear Simon,

I’m looking for some advice on a pair of trousers I recently purchased through Luxire. I’m facing some issues with how they fall around my ankle and was hoping you could give me some advice.

The trousers are cut in a Drago Rugby Flannel, which is a 300g 130s fabric that has a slight amount of natural stretch. I’d say the cut is classic but leaning towards slim, with a 19,5 cm foot opening and a clean or very light break. I am very tall and extremely lean (200 cm, 73 kg), and have slim legs. The silhouette when viewed from the side is beautiful with hardly any bunching or dimples breaking the straight line of the leg. However, at the ankle, the trousers tend to flare outwards so that after a short walk, the creases have shifted around 2 cm to the sides. This, in turn, causes the trousers to get stuck on my socks (especially now in winter, when static electricity is a bigger issue in the dry air). After a day of wearing the trousers, they are actually standing outwards to the sides, becoming wider than they are “deep”.

Needless to say, this is a rather annoying issue! The trousers almost look like flared 90’s jeans towards the end of the day.

I realize this is a rather specific question, but I was hoping you would have some good advice.

My own analysis is that the fabric is too light and naturally stretchy to hold its form. I am considering lengthening the trousers slightly to create a greater break, so that they rest on the shoe, gaining some support from this. What do you think about actually pressing the pants inward i.e. creating a non-centred crease to make up for the “rotating” of the legs? Could this solve the issue or would it just look weird?

Thank you in advance for any advice or analysis you might have!

Br,

Alex

Andrew Davies

Hi Simon,
I am looking to have my first pair of bespoke flannel trousers made. My thoughts are for double pleats, side adjusters and turn ups. My question is all about pleats. I have seen both Forward and Reverse pleats but not sure which to go for. Are there any benefits in one over the other?

Reese

Hi Simon,

Very helpful and informative. I know there are a lot of variables which need to be considered for the bottom leg opening and my question is what is the right leg opening for me? I’m 5’7″ and 135 lbs. Does shoe size matter at all? I wear a size 8. Clearly I’m on the smaller side but unfortunately all of the trousers I have are from about 15-17 years ago, and they all have a 9″ opening and look way too baggy now. I’m still in my 30s but not for long and I think the pants just look down right terrible. I need to know which leg opening would suit me the best. Thank you

Reese

Sounds good, thanks Simon. Will give it a try.

zo

can any one suggest how to add more weight to trouser hems and avoid having them flap around? apart from turn ups obviously.

Christos

Interesting, I always thought this tape is more an edge-protector. And that is why some tailors place them a millimeter or two below the hem. Never thought of it as weight attachment. I also have some trousers where only the front half is taped.

Anonymous

Simon

Do you source your own side buckles? If so, can I ask where from? Also , I note that you don’t put the fastener on the waistband but below it. Is there any reason for this?

Anonymous

Ah. Got you. I usually wear my trousers on the hip, so I guess fasteners on the waistband should be fine?

Anonymous

Right, got you. Thanks for clarifying.

Dan Dee

Simon, I normally opt for single reverse pleats on my suits. I did try for a slimmer profile with a suit, and opted for flat fronts. However, I found this to be a bit bland. Is there a compromise allowing the customer to keep the single pleat but maintain a slimmer less full front and thigh? What would you request..a shallow pleat? ..a shorter pleat …or just a forward dart instead? I have seen a pic on the internet showing a blue Henry Herbert suit done like this…I think it looks stylish and less ‘old man’ looking…especially when tapered to narrow bottoms..thanks..DD

Andrew

Hi there,

I’m wondering if you would cover something extraordinarily imperative to designing a pair of trousers – OVERAGES to the Waist, Seat, Thigh, Knee, and Bottom off of actual skin measurements. For instance, if one were to wanting to make a pair of flat front trousers, with a flattering Italian cut (pants sit at natural waist, trim yet proportional through the leg), what is a general rule of thumb to applying the correct overages to the pattern? For instance, I would imagine you would give maybe 1/4″ to the waist, 2″ to the seat (adding 1 or two darts based on a prominent seat or not), 2″ to the thigh, 2″ to the knee, and the bottom would be personal preference. Also, what is your opinion on the proportion of front rise vs back rise? I cannot find any information on the topic.

Tomas

Hi Simon,

I got bespoke pants from traveling tailor which fit is rather pleasing with one small caveat – they do collapse a bit under seat while standing in relaxed pose, but has straight line when standing ‘tall’. Not sure if this is a thing to be fixed or not? How much is appropriate to ask tailor fixing finished trousers? What can be still changed in pattern aprt lengt/circumference?
Thanks,
Tomas

Anonymous

Hi,
I recently got a bespoke pair of odd trousers, but I’m not entirely happy with them, due to the waist. The tailor already altered it once at delivery, but it still isn’t right:
When received, the waist was tight enough to hold the trousers while standing, but as soon as I sat, it would cut in my belly pretty harshly. So while sitting wearing those, it would both be hard to breath and be painful.
After the alteration, the trousers would fit nicely while sitting. Not too large, not too narrow either. However, they’d be far too large while standing / walking, and as a result have to be worn with braces.
They were made with button side adjusters, and since I’d be dropping the jacket all the time in the office, it was not in the idea to be worn with braces, and as a result I’m very reticent to wear them.
What would you do in such a case?

Anonymous

Thanks for your answer and the head’s up about the waist. If I get another pair, I’ll try to have them at a lower waist, which will naturally change the cut too. In the meantime, I think my best shot would be to wear this pair with knitwear or to get an overcoat to hide those braces. Not as useful as I hoped them to be, but as you often mention bespoke pieces don’t always turn up the way we imagined them.

Rups

would you not wear a sports jacket covering the braces anyway? If they peep out here or there its fine I would say? no?

Rups

All the better! 1987 stockbroker style) Gordon Gekko never worried about it!

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/31/business/dealbook/how-to-tax-gordon-gekko.html

Rups

Actually to be fair when I wear braces and have to remove my jacket in the London tube you do get stared at. If you’re conscious better to get trousers worn just above the hips without braces. You are right to say that high waisted trousers often are uncomfortable without braces as the stomach naturally will expand on sitting or bending down by an inch or two. Therefore to wear high waisted trousers (on or just around the natural waist) without braces is not a good option.

Anonymous

If my navel and rib bone are far apart and natural waist is a few inches above navel, how can I find the right waist line?

Anonymous

Simon,

In several comments, readers post about having a large seat (meaning buttocks). I have the reverse problem of having a small seat. With age, I have a slight stomach/belly. For my mtm suits, thus creates a problem with side tap trousers (cut low). Namely, they tend to fall down when standing.

Is there a solution other than trousers with braces or belt loops as I move to bespoke? Which is prefereable?

Thank you.

Rups

To anon … your problem is an easy one to solve. Do you live near a KFC, Dominos or McDonalds outlet? If so, eat there at least 3 or 4 times a week, in addition switch to drinking Coca Cola most of the day. I think within a year your problem will be fixed. Thank me later. Rups.

J

Hi Simon

You mentioned that your trousers sit in the middle of the hip bone – does that mean that you have to lower the buttoning point on your jackets to avoid having a triangle of shirt showing?

Anonymous

What are the factors to consider when it comes to deciding whether to get a pair of chinos cuffed / no cuff?

Jack

Just paying heed to this article, I had 2 pairs of trousers MTM a yr ago and have since moved city. Have always found they get caught on my calf when going from sit to stand. Measured the leg opening at the bottom as 7”, and just had them recut by a local tailor to 7.5” and they’re perfect, still a nice tapered look but no catching now! I’m a similar height to Simon so that makes sense w his measurements in the article

Chris

Hey Simon,
I have quite short legs for my body I believe. 30-31” , and 5ft 10. Bit of my Eastern European genes most probably. I am always curious as to how to handle the width of my trousers. Instinctively I’ve always gone with narrower and think it looks better on me but , honestly, I never know. No one has ever really given me an opinion and would be curious to know what your thought!

ANDREW

Simon, the fit on the Ivory Pommella trousers is gorgeous (in my opinion). Especially the cut of the Front and Back Rise (great balance), as well as the shape at the bottom of the Rear/Thigh Area. To learn from this fit, could you kindly share what the finished outseam and inseam lengths are on these trousers? Also the Finished Waist, Hips, and Thigh measures, if possible?

Anonymous

Just came across this article. Just wondering: how do you make these measurements? do you just fold the trousers along the seam, lay them on the bed, and then apply the measuring tape? Or did you have someone measure you?

I’ve noticed that online, some RTW companies supply measurements on their sizing table in terms of circumference, and others in terms of what the size is when you lay the garment down flat.

Jtkuga

Simon,

I’m not sure if the trousers on my most recent bespoke suit are a bit too tight. First off, I think they look great and have no fit issues when I’m standing up, and don’t even look that tight too me. I have no issues when I walk normally. There are two instances when I feel they may be a bit tight. When I’m walking up and down stairs I feel a bit of tension in the knee, as if they are getting caught or not riding up as they should. It isn’t painful or anything, just something I notice. Second, when I sit down I get that tension in the knee and the hem seems to catch on the back of my calves. I have the help ease them up then. They really don’t appear too tight at all, but I do notice those issues. Is that normal? If not, what would be the fix? Widen the pant legs all the way around?

Jtkuga

I wouldn’t say my main concern is how restricting they are as I can pretty much do what I want, the concern would be more am I putting too much stress and therefore unnecessary wear and tear on the knee? Is that a legitimate concern or can wool suit trousers take some stress in the knee? I took advice from one of your other columns and bought two pairs of trousers to go with the suit, so at least That should help the suit last longer than it normally would.

Past it

This is an excellent site, full of really helpful information. I’m cranking up to getting a proper suit made. It’s been a while since I had one, and TBH I’ve pretty much stopped wearing them. Most of mine were made (to measure, rather than bespoke) about 10-15 years ago, and the trouser bottoms are just too wide (9″ across when folded). They look very outdated. I’ve been wearing Spoke trousers which are cut well, but the trouser bottom is much narrower – 7″ – which i like as I’m short, but I wonder whether or not that size would work with a lounge suit in a traditional house cut. I also have a sneaking doubt that I look a bit mutton in the them. I’m seeing a tailor next week and will discuss further!

Past it

Thanks Simon. I will do that.

Anonymous

What determines how narrow the bottom can be?

For example, I am 1.86m tall, slim and athletic. Which range (bottom) would you recommend?

Funnily enough, my current trousers are almost identical to your W&S trousers in the article above( 0,5cm less knee and thigh).

Chris

Hi Simon,
After re-reading this article I was inspired to look at the measurements on my trousers. I was surprised (though I’m not sure why), to find all of them were quite different.

My question is to what extent should I be trying to replicate measurements that I like across different trousers from different tailors or even on my ready to wear? And to what extent are they even replicable across different pieces of tailoring?
For example the rise on my favourite trousers by Whitcomb and Shaftsbury, is significantly higher than on my drakes ready to wear, and the taper at the bottom is also greater. Whilst I could presumably get the taper on the drakes pair altered, I could not get the rise. But would then the taper measurement be irrelevant because the rise is not the same ? Does that make sense? Is my goal to try and replicate the measurements I like, or to work with each piece as an individual?

Thankyou as always

Chris

Thanks Simon.
I am 200% better dressed since discovering PS, and that percent is increasing with every question you answer. Thankyou !

Robert

Hey Simon-
I usually request belt loops on my bespoke suits thinking the buckled tabs (not sure what those are called) seem old mannish. But never do I see belted pants with your bespoke suits. Is the beltless pant a signature of bespoke ? I always thought a belt gave a finished look to the ensemble. Is the beltless pant considered more smart as you say? Is there some history behind the buckled tabs ? Thanks. As always appreciate your expertise.

Robert

Hey Simon-
Just found the answer to my question (and much more!) on your post “Reader Question: Trouser Waists”(12/31/2010). Should have searched the archives more closely.

Past it

I bit the bullet and ordered a suit from KH&L before Christmas. It will be ready later this month. The whole experience has been a delight, particularly as Mr Kent is such a lovely man with incredible attention to detail.

William

Regarding trouser fit, I am a bigger guy. I have had my MTM trousers cut high waisted, with a fuller cut, and side adjustors.

But, for my less “forgiving” fabrics that may not be as naturally “stretchy”, I find that no matter how full the cut, I am just not very comfortable when sitting. Interestingly, it is not the waist that seems to be the problem, but tightness in the thighs and seat…is this just a matter of getting those areas cut even fuller, or is this just something, as a bigger guy, I have to live with?

And on the same note, looking through the past comments it seems you have made some efforts to address this, but….comparing the measurements of your actual body regions, like your hips, thighs, knees, calves, ankles, how much room do you leave for your trousers? For example, if my thighs are 36cm in diameter, what is the minimum diameter of cloth necessary for a truly comfortable fit??? THOSE ratios would be great to know for all regions!

Hugh

William,

Ethan talks about “stride” where his legs go from straight vertical to bent. Im not big, but have got muscular legs, and I need more room when I sit than might be first apparent, especially if in sitting for extended periods of time

William

Thank you for your considered response

William

I actually reached out to Ethan Newton, I actually reached out to him on this topic via IG, and he was kind enough to respond:

“As far as rise height and stride in the thigh, it’s hard to give an exact amount. Every measurement in the trouser works in tandem, so your back rise height to front rise height will affect stride, likewise fullness through the hip and degree of taper in the leg will affect how full you can go from the start. Best advice is to find a tailor you can continue working with and trust his judgment, refine the pattern over time.”

While he did not give specific measurement/ratio recommendations, he did provide further insight as to what areas to “play” with in order to get a better fit.

Simon, maybe an article (with pics) about the functionality of tailored clothing in relationship to fit….I’d like to know what your trousers look like (e.g. are they pulling, where, how much?) as well as how they subjectively feel as far as comfort, when you are sitting or walking up stairs? It’s one thing to have a perfect fit while standing, but I want to know what my reasonable comfort expectations are when I have to sit, squat down to get in/out of my car, walk up stairs, and so on in my well fitting garments…

Thank you again for your all your help!

Abalfazl Takrimi

Dear Simon
Waist is real terrific thing and It would be nice If you write an article focused on it.
But I have a personal question about your waist measurement. I am 180cm tall and in proportion my feet are longer than my torso but since I am thin I prefer mid rise trouser and I would like to know how do you like your waist measurement be ? Do you prefer snug fitting or giving an inch room to it ? ( not considering side straps and their effect but the the waist itself)
Regards
Ebi

William

Hello again, I had recently asked some questions in this thread about trouser fit for the bigger guy, particularly about tightness in the thighs when sitting, even though I thought my MTM trousers had been cut with enough “allowance”…here are some pics of my linen trousers…please let me know what you think? Is it simply that they are cut too slim? Cause I feel like if they were cut any fuller, they would look like a costume from the 1920’s?

IMG_1246.JPG
William

Thank you so much for your input…while I cannot argue with you, considering the discomfort and overall tightness I’m experiencing when sitting, it IS interesting to me since I did not realize there was such a “big difference” between the top and bottom, but now that you mention it, I can definitely see a significant taper!

William

More pics..

IMG_1244.JPG
William

And more…just FYI, the front rise is approximately 33cm (13in) and back rise is 53cm (21in) and there is just a bit of sagging of the trouser down there…I’m thinking that playing with the rise, besides having a fuller seat and thigh, can also play a role in comfort as my hips and legs bend?

William

Sorry, forgot to attach the pic to the previous comment, here’s the final pic

thumbnail_IMG_1162.jpg
William

This is what it looks like when I sit…

thumbnail_IMG_1165.jpg