What are low, medium and high-rise trousers?
When I review suits, or trousers specifically, I often talk about the rise of the trouser: how it has been cut to sit on me, and how effective that is.
However, trouser rise is not an easy thing to describe. Particularly when people use the terms high, mid and low-rise differently.
So I thought it would be helpful to write a reference article, which defines the types of rise, discusses the places the waistband can sit, and explores how that relates to your body.
It will provide context for our future discussions of tailors, and might even help frame your own thoughts around the rise that works best for you.
Now, when people talk about high and low-rise trousers, they often refer to images of trousers as examples. That is helpful, and I have included some here as well.
But it's only really meaningful if you can tell how it is sitting on the body underneath. Otherwise all you can see is that one trouser is higher than another, and only on somebody else’s body, not yours.
So I have included below a simple diagram, pointing out the natural waist, the hip bone and the stomach, and how they relate to different trouser heights.
If we use this to define the different rises, let’s start with high rise, as it is the one used most consistently.
A high-rise trouser normally means one where the waistband sits on your natural waist (indicated in red).
Your natural waist is the part of your body between the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hip bones (indicated in blue).
If you put your hands on your own body now, you can feel at the sides where your ribs end and your hip bones begin, with an inch or two of squishy flesh in between.
That is your natural waist, and on most people it is the slimmest part of their body. This is one reason trousers are nice at this height: it is the smallest your waist can be.
The natural waist isn’t absolutely precise, as there is an inch or two there to play with. But it’s more exact than most other positions, because it can’t be lower without getting out and over those hip bones, or higher without getting onto the ribs.
People sometimes talk about high rise in relation to the navel, but this isn’t always helpful as the relationship between waist and navel is different on different people.
The navel is also on the front of the body, and here we are just talking about the sides. We’ll get to the front and back later.
Once the trouser waistband falls below the point of your hip bone, it is either mid-rise or low rise. These two cover everything from builder-bum lowness to trousers of a decent, flattering height.
It’s not easy to separate the two, and they are often used as relative terms more than anything else. But it can help to use them in reference to the hip bone itself.
Because the hip bone is concave, the hips have a narrowest point as well, and it is at this height that most modern trousers sit. It is a fairly instinctive height for most people. (Indicated in green.)
We can define that point or below as being low rise, and that point or above (travelling up the hip bone) as mid-rise.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that if there are two such narrowest points - the waist and the hips - trousers should only sit easily in one or the other.
But actually trousers can happily sit higher or lower - because there is (literally) another dimension to it.
Where trousers sit is determined by front-to-back, as well as side-to-side. By the relation of front rise to back rise.
This is illustrated in the image above, with the relevant points indicated: the small of the back and the stomach.
All trousers sit somewhere on your lower back, from the top of your bottom to the bottom of your ribs. It’s a smooth curve, a spectrum on which there are many functional heights. But on the front, there are two more distinct positions: above or below the stomach (indicated in light blue).
Even on a slim person, like myself, this has a big effect on fit. If the tailor tries to make the front of the trousers sit on the middle of the stomach, I know my stomach will push it down as I wear them. They're much happier above or below.
The effect becomes more exaggerated the fatter you are. Men tend to carry their fat on their stomachs, and as this increases, it forces the front of the trouser to either sit higher, right above the stomach, or lower, right below it. That’s why some larger men seem to have their trousers right under their nipples. It’s either that or just above the groin.
A less extreme version of this is shown in the diagram above. From roughly the same starting point in the back, the straight line (orange) finishes above the stomach, while the slanted line (purple) finishes below it.
Assuming that all makes sense (and please shout if it doesn’t) what does this mean for you and your trousers?
Well, when you’re considering where trousers sit well on you - not uncomfortable, not constantly slipping up or down - these are the terms to think in.
I’ve had trousers that are low, medium and high rise over the past 10 years, and I know that while high rise is very flattering when wearing a jacket, it doesn’t work on me for style reasons. And I know that low rise, while more contemporary, shortens my legs.
So I usually have a mid-rise trouser - a good compromise, in my view, which maximises the length of my legs without becoming a real high-rise.
At the sides, it sits just below the top of the hip bone; it then sits in the small of my back and slants down a little to just under the point of my stomach.
It’s in the context the terms set out here that I’ve worked through this over the years.
This only a first, baseline article. Something to help when the tailor asks where you like your trousers to sit.
I think it makes sense for another one to cover the advantages and disadvantages of different rises. And perhaps after that, to look at the different rises and angles tailors have used on me, and why they have or haven’t worked.
The angle taken by Camps de Luca is particularly interesting there. That waistband almost slopes up from the back to the front.
As ever, I’m interested to hear what experiences you’ve had, and what lessons you've learned from having trousers made. Everyone is different and we rarely - unless we’re a tailor - get to see how they’re different.
Simon, great attempt to clarify topic which is influenced by too many factors.
I had recently MTM pants fitting which where cut to sit on natural waist – this was such an unpleasant feeling as I tend to breather from stomach rather than diaphragm (I think this is thing for most men).
Best way for me works when belt or side adjusters sit on tip of hip bone. You can play around with visual height by having waist band ending higher, but cinching agains bone.
Back raise can can vary more, until it’s tight agains lower back. Front raise should not go above fat/swell, rest is personal preferences.
I once heard the look of a shirt tucked into low cut trousers as “a torso walking around on stilts” and since then I can’t un-see it. The jeans in the picture are not quite that low but I think that a little bit of rise allows for a better transition from torso to legs, a visual platform for your abdomen to sit on, if you will. I’m not sure if this is just another way to describe the leg lengthening effect or if this is a double benefit.
I also find shirts stay tucked in a little bit better and having the pants fasten a little higher can be more comfortable. And if you’re wearing a jacket, you don’t get so much of that patch of shirt peeking out below the buttoning point.
All good points for at least a mid-rise Adam, absolutely.
I think your first point is similar to the one about longer legs, but also about attractive proportion between both?
My jeans are not that low rise, no. I’d still count them as such, but they definitely can go lower.
Where did you get your low rise jeans?
They’re made to measure from Levi’s – see article on them here
what are the Chuckkas you are wearing in the jeans picture? They look great (especially in that colour combination).
Thanks. It’s the Shanklin in mushroom suede from Edward Green
Thx, just ordered them 🙂
Do you never wear belts these days, even with jeans? I used to always wear one with casual pants, but it has also grown old on me over the last two years somehow.
Rarely. Usually the only thing I wear them with is chinos. Jeans look good without a belt, because they’re so often worn without one. Chinos look a little odd without them to me.
I think this depends on the context. Looks to me as if your bespoke Levis don’t have belt loops, so that would work (and of course impossible to wear a belt!). I wear jeans without a belt only if I am wearing a t-shirt and sneakers, which is a super-casual look, but if I am wearing normal jeans with belt loops and a shirt tucked in, and particularly with a jacket, I would always wear a belt – to me it just looks messy without. And given that jeans often sit low on the waist, there can be a tendency for the shirt to ride up. so the belt helps prevent this and offers a bit of definition and a neater ‘border’, if that makes sense.
It does, yes.
Still, I wouldn’t wear a belt there and be happy without that definition (slightly more of an issue with white denim I find).
I have jeans with belt loops too, by the way, and wear them the same
Hi Simon – is it me or in spite of all the great bespoke shoes that you own you still prefer Edward Green’s?
I wouldn’t say I prefer them, but I still wear them a lot, and wouldn’t shift to a full bespoke wardrobe of shoes, even if I could afford it.
Part of the reason is that bespoke is less needed for casual shoes, like loafers or boots, when you don’t want the delicacies of make
Thanks for the response, understood. Interesting to know that loafers and boots do not benefit as much from bespoke as perhaps oxfords do. Once you mention it, it kind of makes sense.
Good post by the way. I had to read some sentences twice but I think that at the end I got there. Quite informative.
Oh good. Do always let me know if some points are confusing, so I can help explain them or simply rewrite to be clearer.
I would have imagined they loafers do benefit from bespoke because the lack of lacing means they need to be tight fitting without it being uncomfortable. I take your point that a casual shoe doesn’t need to be as stylised as a bespoke shoe can be though.
Yes, potential benefit in terms of fit – and I say potential because my bespoke loafers have not been entirely successful in that regard.
But less benefit in terms of make and style.
If you were to wear one, what sort of belt with make sense with shoes in mushroom suede? I’ve struggled with that question with a pair of loafers in a similar shade.
(One answer, of course, would be to avoid the problem by omitting the belt, as you’ve done here. Just curious what the alternative is if one prefers to wear a belt.)
Have a look at this post DB – I talk about matching like that there
Thank you, Simon.
I’d actually seen that post, and I think I’ve internalized the basic advice that a belt should be closely related to your shoes (but needn’t match exactly). I just struggle with the application to this particular shade of suede. It seems like there’s not much that’s closely related?
True. But I think most mid to light-brown suedes would be fine, for example. And indeed few things would look odd, apart from black leather.
It also looks more odd – and affected – when people wear matching belts and shoes in more unusual leathers like this
An article on a very important subject.
I think I need to reread it and it would be great to have a video on this .
My own experience is ordering online MTM and realising how difficult it is to get the rise right which completely throws the balance of the trousers.
Also when altering the length on trousers being asked “how high do you wear them ?”. Evidently you straighten your back suck in your stomach and end up with the wrong leg length and a waist that now needs altering as well.
Casual trousers like jeans and chinos can seem a little ‘old mannish’ worn with a high rise so personally I would reserve a high rise for suit trousers.
Lesson I’ve learnt ….. what shoulders are to jackets is what rise is to trousers …. not easy to fix if done wrong!
Don’t you think a flaneurs height and body shape should be the deciding factor ?
Stylistically, I think high rise trousers look great on tall, thin people . On me, they make me look like Arthur Askey.
That leaves low or medium rise.
Low rise makes my legs look like Tyrion Lannister so , hey voila , I have the solution that I’ve long stuck to – medium.
I certainly think it should be a factor, though not necessarily the most important one. Larger men (eg Ethan Newton) can look good in high rise. I’m taller and slimmer but don’t like the look.
A lot depends on how wide you hips are. Despite being slim, I inherited hip bones noticably wider than my waist. In that case higher rise seems to be far more flattering no matter what, since it improves the waist-arms ratio. Similiarly, for somebody suffering from some kind of regular stomach problems or upsets higher waist is better – the last thing you want when it starts is a trouser waist constricting you. Unfortunately, I speak from experience.
Personally, I cannot recall the last time I found a low rise trouser flattering. I have a pair of jeans with a low rise and always find myself wishing they were higher.
I think for most guys of middle proportions (not super wide or very skinny), mid-rise trousers are the safe choice. I do really like my high rise trousers, but find they can look a bit too “vintage” or out-there if I don’t have a jacket on. It’s similar to, but not as extreme as, wearing suspenders.
One thing I seem to struggle with is finding that sweet spot. I have almost no room between my hip bone and ribs with long legs. I also have a small belly like most men ( I still wear slim fitting shirts with ease but I certainly don’t have a flat stomach). I also have a more backside than other men. High rises can look silly and low rise doesn’t cover my seat. Mid rise seems to slip down my belly. Any thoughts?
I think you need to sit the trouser at the back so it covers your seat. Have it at the sides so it’s as high up the hip bone as works for you without slipping. And then sit just below the largest point of the belly at the front. The front of the trouser will still be pushed down a bit, but it should work OK. I don’t think you’ll find a magical sweet spot where the trousers never slip – though having them a touch tighter might help there as well
I guess you would call my preferred position mid-rise. It certainly is not high rise. The main difference for me, between low and mid-rise, is where it sits on my front as opposed to my back. All my trousers sit right above the curve of my my rear-end on the backside. I consider low rise my trousers that slant down, which I do not like. While I feel it looks acceptable from the front, and not bad with my suit jacket on, I think it looks terrible from the side, with suit jacket off, and makes me appear fat, even though I’m only a 33 inch waist. Unfortunately that is where most off the rack suits I have bought here in America sit. It is also a function, I believe, correct me if I’m wrong, of a curved waistband. My recent custom suit will (hopefully when I get it) will have more of a straight or flat waistband. I think it looks best all the way around, without appearing too old-fashioned, as I think high rise trousers do. It will also hopefully be slimming, as to not highlight my stomach, as I think low rise trousers do when viewed from the side. I guess I will find out soon enough when I go in for my first fitting. That brings me to another question. This is my first custom suit, would my tailor be able to adjust the rise at the first fitting, or is that something that I would not be able to alter at that point? Thanks.
Thanks, very interesting.
This does sound like a mid-rise, but it really depends on where they sit on the side of your body – above or below that point of the hip bone.
A curved waistband might make a small difference, but only a small one.
You should be able to alter the rise at the first fitting, yes.
I do find that distinction bemusing, Simon. What do I call a rise that sits exactly at that narrowest point of the hip bone, neither above nor below?
Stellar read of an article, by the way. So simple, but so eye-opening.
Call it what you want I guess. Given your readership of this site, I’d guess other factors would make it more accurate to call it a mid-rise
I value that recommendation highly. Mid-rise it is, then!
There’s not doubt a social normalization (for lack of a better word) that factors into this. I find high waisted trousers make my torso look too small and legs look too long whenever I wear them. That’s probably because I’m used to seeing everyone else (and myself) in low- and mid-rise trousers, so high rise trousers just look off.
However, I find high rise trousers much more comfortable than low- or mid-rise trousers. So I choose to wear high rise trousers. For more formal trousers that will be worn under a jacket, I wear them on the natural waist; for more casual trousers that will be worn without a jacket, I get them a touch lower–just above the hip bone, so still comfortable, but still high- rather than med-rise.
With RTW trousers, I notice that I always have excess material just under the seat where it transitions to the leg. I think that’s probably the result of the angle of the waistband, or to put it another way, the back and front rise not sitting where they both should (front too high, back to small). I think it’s a good example of the limitations of fit with RTW.
Excellent article and timing!
I’m off to W&S for my first pair of bespoke odd trousers, along with picking up a suit ordered before the lockdown. Having a bit of a belly has always made getting trousers to fit well and not slipping down a challenge. Not all tailors I have tried for suits have managed to get the fit right on the waist. Whilst hitching up trousers is not a big thing, knowing the fit is not quite right does impact on how I have thought about a suit. W&S managed to get it right with my first suit from them, so now feeling a little more confident in trying odd trousers.
What about a post about high hip/low hip? Everyone has one hip higher or lower, and needs to be allowed for before seaming the waistband. Also trousers without pleats should not be pressed above crotch level – front and back.
Simon – I thought this article was phenomenal, and very helpful in that it was a pragmatic look at a subject that I’ve noticed become more important to tailors and MTM firms, but didn’t really understand. In my experience, I now see why I tend to like low rise trousers more. My body shape, while slim, collects weight around the natural waist (I think they call it love handles), which causes any mid or high raise to constantly fall under the waist if I get up or down a lot, which is very annoying at the office. I did get some custom pants from Stoffa (who i know you’ve mentioned) but didnt appreciate they only do high rise, which for me to fit right, meant it was above my natural waist a tad, which was pretty uncomfortable for me (plus, its an odd look to wear at the office unless everyone is a menswear enthusiast (which is not true at my park ave office). I’ve gravitated towards PJohnson MTM pants, and keep it at a low rise, which I now see why that is. Appreciate the details on this.
Pleased to hear it helped explicate that, Dan. I was hoping it would for some readers
Your articles tend to be well written, interesting and readable. Not this time. I tuned out as diagrams showing low rise, mid rise and high rise line with a little explanation would have been enough. Too wordy. Also not a fan of the rise on your low rise jeans. You should go with a higher rise.
Sorry to hear you felt that Dan. I know it has been useful for others.
To be honest, it’s not hard to find simple diagrams like this elsewhere, but that doesn’t deal with the depth necessary to understand exactly what rise you like and works for you, when you have an infinite number of possibilities with a tailor.
A high rise trouser will be more accommodating to the, ahem, better endowed.
Great article!I have found that, the higher the rise, the less attractive a belt is. I believe it draws too much attention to the top of the trousers rather than the overall proportions. A belt on high-waisted trousers looks particularly “old man-ish”.
Would you say that smartness plays a role here?
Ie high rise for suits, mid for odd trousers and low for chinos/jeans
To a certain extent, though that’s kind of turned upside-down by the prevalence of high-waisted trousers in workwear
Excellent post, really educational. I believe this is where you redirected me on the waistband question on your cav twills post. I may reformulate it according to the terminology used here to try for better understanding:
I usually have mid rises with standard 2,5 cm waistbands fastened by a belt just above the front protruding points of the hip bone (iliac crest). I guess that looks mid rise, I would like to go for something looking a bit higher, not necessarily full high rise.
If I were to have trousers made with side adjustors sewn on the waistband seam and 4 / 5 cm waistband, still fastened at the same point,
would that turn out as mid rise functionally but close to high rise aesthetically? What I am looking for is just some variation is style, maybe a little leg lengthening, and I do not have a belly that might make things more difficult.
Thanks a lot,
I think that would make a small difference Nico, but only a small one.
It’s only my experience, but I think if you really wanted something that looked like a different style, you’d have to go to more like a real high rise.
As men get older, fat is more readily deposited on the lower belly. So trousers that transition with you into your mid-40’s will be fitting a body shape that will change.
Maintaining a good posture is important. A “neutral spine” eg not with a curve in your lower spine (think of sticking your bum out but keeping the upper part of your torso straight ) will help keep the waist of your trousers horizontal.
It can be hard to see changes to our bodies over time if our weight stays the same, and we’re not putting on a lot of muscle. Your trouser’s waist might still fit you, but it might have shifted to the “down at the front” plane. A tell tale sign is when you lay your belt flat, you will see it has been deformed into a curve. Time to mind the diet, and do knee raises to keep the muscles in your lower belly taut. And if you’ve no bum, start doing squats (even bodyweight ones) to build up your bum.
Thank you for the honest opinion, Simon. I am understanding, unless you state the contrary, that you consider your cav twills a high rise.
No, I’d still classify those as a mid-rise
I have a mixed experience of different rises. I’m quite tall (195 cm) and have a gut that seems to have decided to stay and a rather flat ass. I also have a long leg to torso ratio, meaning too high rise cuts me off in a very unflattering way. It sort of looks nipple height even if it’s on the navel.
I still haven’t figured it out (I’ve never ventured into bespoke trousers only mtm) but what seems to mostly work is about 1-1.5 cms under the navel, however this requires a rather curved waist, as the trousers needs to come above the love handles on the sides in order to not fall down constantly.
Side adjusters I have to say, doesn’t really function well for me, yet I’ve had them exclusively on all my trousers for the last few years, as I feel a belt will draw attention to the waist and highlight the way trousers cut my figure off.
Thanks Simon – I’ll join the chorus of ‘useful article’.
I think the mid-high rise option is almost always more elegant. A downside, perhaps, is a lack of flexibility. The higher rise pushes you towards a tucked in shirt and a silhouette which is definitely masculine but not particularly forgiving if you carry a bit too much timber.
It is also a classic look which has fallen out of fashion for the time being and seems a bit unusual to most people.
Regarding comfort I think the higher rise is also better but comfort extends beyond the physical and if you don’t feel confident in what you are wearing (which seems to be the case with higher rise trousers for a lot of men) then you are not going to be comfortable.
Obviously, there is a place for low rise and most elegant is not always the end-goal.
Quick question – just to clarify, the grey flannel (high rise) trousers pictured above, are they the final Panico trousers?
And yes, that’s right, they’re the Panico ones.
Great article Simon. I’ve for years worn trousers with the contemporary low rise look and have only recently discovered how much more flattering mid-rise can be. I think proper high-rise would look somewhat ridiculous on me though.
One thing that crossed my mind was whether you had any thoughts on how posture rather than “body shape” affect fit?
The side profile diagram in this article demonstrates a posture defect of “anterior pelvic tilt” whereby the pelvis tilts forward. This is common in office workers & cyclists (like myself) who have tight muscles at the front of the hips, & frequently weak glutes.
In other articles you’ve used the phrases “prominent seat” & a hollowed back to describe this posture as being features of body type, but to me these are elements of posture which can be addressed through exercise or physical therapy.
One risk of correcting ones posture however is that the clothes they’ve meticulously assembled for their previously defective posture will no longer fit correctly!
True. It’s more of an issue with jacket than trousers actually – hard to get a jacket to hang correctly or stay on the back of the neck if you change your posture. It has a greater effect than just losing or gaining weight
Hi Simon, and thanks for your interesting article.
I have made a couple of high-rise pants/trousers and though I love the look, find it unsetlling wearing them in public. They are definitely made to be worn with a sport coat, preferably closed, which completely defies the general trend of modern casual wear.
One poster commented about the originality of the high-rise, which our modern eye is no longer accustomed to. Doing some research into the visual aspect of the human silhouette, one aspect which struck me is what researchers calls the Leg-to-Body Ratio (or LBR). LBR indicates the proportion of leg length in relation to overall body length. This ratio increases as we age. Toddlers have a very low LBR, while adults have a high LBR. Here are two links to an image composite indicating the differences between the two.
The modern emphasis on a low male LBR silhouette coupled with a long torso would appear to indicate a social imperative of infantilization of the adult masculine form, a sort of appeal to the juvenile ideal of the eternal boy.
Interesting. I assume it doesn’t change that much once in adulthood, say from 21 onwards?
I can see how these proportions may infantilise the way the wearer looks, though I’m not sure that is the driver for it. I think it’s just that trousers fit most obviously on the natural waist or fairly low on the hips, and the former just looks too unusual these days.
Interesting and informative, a subject important and not frequently addressed.
I understand Simon’s viewpoint on this, I prefer hi-rise trousers in general . Always side adjusters or braces……….never belted. Belts divide your vertical image, not a good thing. Moreover, hi-rise lengthen your height/legs visually and also cover your shirt below your jacket waist button. That exposed shirt below the buttoning point never looked good to me. Again, that also raises the height perception.
As to wearing the trousers without a jacket, normally I would wear a knitted garment if not a jacket. Great combo. Not normally with simply a shirt, but in my view not a problem if I did.
Lastly, I never have rear pockets, w/ flaps or buttons. I would never use them for various reasons and view the clean look attractive. Each to his own view on that!
Dear Simon and readers,
It’s a pity many men are afraid of high rise double pleated trousers. I started off with low mid rise flat front trousers, then moved on to single pleated and double pleated mid rise trousers and now wear high rise double pleated trousers. I would say I am generally very conservative especially in colour. My style is probably best described as old fashioned as I like my coats long and pants high Rise and wide. I don’t think it’s much more noticeable than other formal trousers especially if your audience is not really trained in sartorial matters. I would highly recommend that you try Kit Blake trousers. They are my taste when it comes to style and I am quite happy with the fit and cost; also, I will use them as reference for bespoke trouser makers in the future as I have been struggling to explain what kind of trousers I like. The Wide high rise trousers Are immensely comfortable to walk in and if you have your coat on, nobody is really going to notice how high they are. Such trousers make me feel
like a “man” much in the same way proper shoes do, not that manhood should come from such superficial things, but I do hope you know what I mean.
Agree completely re Kit Blake – see my brief post below. I’m only saddened that I won’t have the pleasure of using them as a guide for bespoke trousers in the future!
I ask for your thoughts on style choices that flatter the side silhouette. I’ve always felt the high rise provides a nicer, smoother vertical line over the buttocks, and have asked my tailors to lessen the concavity of the coat back in addition to my preference for higher-rise trousers. The photos on the site of you in coats tend to feature very concave backs. Lower-rise pants tend to emphasize the backward bump of the buttocks. Your posture also seems to increase the S-curve through your back and over the bottom. I recognize that the curved back is often a feature of bespoke tailoring that emphasizes the tailor’s skill. That may be a motivation to favor curved backs but to me it comes at the expense of an appealing line.
I agree that high rise trousers have that benefit. Unfortunately I think they look too anachronistic without a jacket on, and don’t wear them as a result.
On the suppression of the jacket in the back, I think this has varied considerably across my commissions – someone like Panico had almost none. But I do increasingly agree that this shaping is often pushed too far.
Thanks for the thoughts
Dear Simon, thank you for another essential article. My question for you is, do you only wear jeans with the five-pocket style and at a medium/low rise? Do you find alternative takes on denim trousers (e.g. high rise/pleated jeans) too showy? Thanks again.
Yes I do Martin. High rise can be OK, if that look works for you – the risk is really when showing the waistband (eg just a shirt, tucked in) whether it looks too old-fashioned or an odd proportion.
But pleats definitely look too showy to me, or at least more of a fashion look
Hi Simon, thanks for this article. I have been banging my head against a brick wall comparing rise measurements given in online size guides with my own trousers.
My question: is it fair to compare rise measurements given in size guides when shopping online in terms of giving an accurate idea of how far up the stomach a trouser will sit? In particular, rise is generally measured from the top of the waist band to the crotch seam; but does it depend on how far forward/back that seam is placed? In which case the rise measurement is only an indicator of fit.
For example, i have been wearing Incotex’s low-rise chinos from Trunk for a few years, but with age and lockdown-induced weight gain, i find such a low-rise to not be the best look. But i measure a 23 cm rise on these, where as 24 cm is considered a med-rise elsewhere, and i notice the PS shorts had a 23.5 cm rise yet you describe them as mid-rise.
Does the position of that seam change, and does it make much difference? Many thanks.
It does vary a little bit John, but not a lot. Perhaps a centimetre or so in either direction at the most. Generally the tailor or maker will be aiming to place that seam in the same place on the customer’s body. But it might vary a little bit depending on the person’s physique
I have recently spent a small fortune on several pairs of Kit Blake ‘Aleksander’ trousers and they have completely ruined me for anything low rise. My predominantly mid to low rise suit trousers (admittedly off the peg) feel almost absurdly uncomfortable by comparison.
Great article. I really struggle with getting trousers that fit me well. I’m a short guy 5ft 7 but with stocky build. Not got a beer belly, on the slightly rounder side – not washboard flat stomach put it that way. I can never really work out what rise to go for. Majority of the off the peg unhemmed trousers out there are either high rise or low – you don’t see many mid rise on offer. I’m never sure which direction to go. Low rise can have the effect exaggerating my stomach. I’ve never gone for high rise as I’ve always thought they would make me look short. What would your advice be? Best wishes Rich
I think if anything high rise would make you look taller, but there’s also a risk that you would look more unusual than you want to. And either rise could exaggerate the stomach too.
I think try higher rise and see how you feel about it. But it may be there’s no easy option off the peg.
May I ask what would you consider a typical medium-rise measurement for someone around your height (and mine as well, as it happens)?
In fact, if I were to be more precise with my question, would you be able to share what that roughly is on some of your medium-rise trousers from this post?
That’s discussed a little on this post.
“[The Rubato chinos] sit just below the top of the hip bone on me, which is not surprising given the front rise is 28cm.
My bespoke dress trousers, by comparison, have a front rise of 30cm, and something I would describe as true high-waist trousers – like those old army fatigues, my Panico trousers, or Casatlantic chinos – have a front rise in the range of 33-35cm.”
For me a mid-rise is that 28-30cm area. But it does depend on your body shape quite a lot, which is why I used diagrams here referring to the hip bones, natural waist and so on. That’s the most consistent way to think about it I find.
Thanks a lot, Simon, that’s very useful.
Just happened to see your blog while seeking to understand about pant rise. I really liked your explanation.
I am working on my first bespoke suit, and I decided to have my trousers sit right below my navel. I have quite long torso compared to my legs, and a bit of beer belly. I am worried if my trousers were not high enough so it wouldn’t slip. I have had some trousers sit 3-4 cm below navel before. They look like low-rise to me, and slipped down easily.
My question is: where do your perfect mid rise trousers sit on your waist relative to your navel? How far above/below your navel?
My mid-rise sit just below my navel, so it sounds like similar to you.
I saw you said this in another post:
“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.”
What do you mean by saying “slightly higher waist on the trouser?” Were you saying that we can compromise the mid-rise trousers by having wider waistband and the sidetabs sitting on the seams? If so, can you please elaborate more on it?
No, I meant that you can have trousers slightly higher, so a mid-rise, rather than a full high-rise
I see. But I still don’t get the idea of having a wider waistband/side-adjusters on the seam. Did you mean by having wider waistband, you could actually lengthen the rise by 1-2cm?
Yes, exactly. The trouser sits in the same place on your body, but it’s a little higher above, so it changes the rise slightly without altering the fit
Hi simon, I don’t think its your style but do you see yourself wearing shirts tucked out over trousers in a very casual ensemble during the peak of summer (or someplace very hot during vacation). if so, what kind of combinations would you do and what considerations do you have for the trousers?
I don’t wear shirts like that Shem, no.
The only time I’d wear a shirt untucked is if it’s designed to be so – so a square-hemmed cubana shirt for example, or an old-fashioned rayon one. Or a guayabera. Or a linen overshirt, with just a tee or vest underneath perhaps.
If the weather is very hot, I would always either wear lighter materials (usually linen) and keep the shirt tucked in, or wear something that was designed to be worn tucked out, like those styles of shirt
Might anyone have a purchasing for source for that “measurement device” as you call it?
Tailor’s Trouser Rise Ruler?
That image of it being used illustrates two attributes of trouser that baffle most men, and are widely misunderstood in the both the ready to wear and even makers who claim to be bespoke makers: rise and crotch seam orientation to genitals (i.e. dressed left, right, or center)
Next up…length of fly opening?
…and no one has complimented you for one of the best photo captions ever?
Hi Simon, I have some questions about the rise of trousers. I commissioned around three pairs of bespoke trousers from the same tailor over the past five months and they were my first bespoke trousers. I have previously always worn my trousers on my hip bone or just below, as I found it a bit awkward and uncomfortable when they sit somewhere between my navel and hip bone. So I requested the tailor to make the trousers sit just on the hip bone, which made the front rise to be 27cm.
But I have recently noticed that I have a fairly long torso in comparison to my legs. There is around a 3.5cm gap between my navel and where the trousers sit, and when I button up the jacket, around 3cm of the shirt shows. Now I am thinking these trousers’ rise could be too low for me and I am quite frustrated that the rise can’t be lengthened. Would you have any suggestions as to what could be the best option for me in this case? Also, although I understand this would vary depending on the individual but in general, would the front rise measurement of 27cm be more on a mid-rise scale?
Sorry this is a long question, I hope you can help me out.
27cm is not a bad rise, but as you said it depends a lot on height – how tall are you?
I’m afraid there’s nothing you can do about changing the rise – as with anything, not just bespoke, we do make decisions we want to change later.
On the gap between waistband and jacket button, you can minimise this but it is hard to get rid of it completely without wearing real high-rise trousers.
Thanks for the advice, Simon.
I am 6ft – do you think 27cm rise sounds okay?
I’d say it’s a mid to low-rise. Whether it’s ok depends on how you like the fit and the look
Thank you, Simon.
I wanted to address something that happens with high waisted trousers. I own a few pair and they look amazing while standing but when i sit, theres an odd amount of fabric that gather around the crotch area. What are your thoughts on that?
That can certainly happen – it depends on your figure and how full the trousers are cut (and whether they have pleats) but it’s often unavoidable I’m afraid.
Fairly slim cut with a single pleat. Unavoidable is what I figured aswell. Mid rise is the safest bet I guess.
I think so, yes