How Men's Pants Should Fit

Published: 14th February 2008
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Copyright (c) 2008 Janine Giorgenti

Are you frustrated with the fit of your dress pants and slacks? Many men purchase off-the-rack dress pants, not because they are comfortable or feel great, but because they think they have no other option. Before you buy another pair of ill-fitting dress pants, learn how to choose great looking pants that fit and flatter your physique.

How Should the Waist of Traditional Pants Fit?

For a traditional cut, the waist of your dress slacks should be at the natural waistline. A well-fitted waist will be comfortable and allow you to breathe. There should not be any unsightly pulls or puckers at the hips or around the pockets.

How Should the Waist of Low Rise Pants Fit?

Low rise pants are fashionable and popular with the young and those who have the physique to wear them. While not appropriate for a formal business setting, they are stylish and fun for weekend wear. Low rise pants are worn below the waist and are typically a flat front or non pleated style.

Make sure the pants lie flat around the hips and are well fitting in the seat, without binding, bagging or sagging. The Rise

The rise of your dress pants is crucial to the fit of your pants. The crotch should not bind and be tight, nor should it sag, becoming loose and baggy. If you have too much fabric, you will look sloppy. Too little and it will cut into your groin area making your pants very uncomfortable. There should be just enough fabric in the rise to contour your seat without being tight and allowing you comfort when you sit.

The Drape

Your pants should have form, but with a graceful drape of the cloth. This means no tightness made apparent by unsightly horizontal lines across the front, back or side of your pants, and no bulges.

The Length

The desired length of your pants is predicated upon your personal preference and style sense.

No Break

For the conservative. The bottom of the pants hits the shoe and the mid-heel with no crease or break. Make sure the pants length is not so short that one can see your socks when you walk.

Single Break

This is the most common pants length. The golden rule is for the pants hems to finish with a single break (crease of fabric) at the front of the shoe. In the back, the hem should end where the heel meets the lower back of the shoe.

Double Break

A double break is popular with the young, who like a "drapey" full pants leg and hem with deep folds on the shoe. (Great for hip-hop; bad for business.) Just remember that your pants should not drag the floor.

A Happy Solution

Now that you know how your pants should fit, you can explore the various options available to you. If you can't find a good fit off-the-rack, don't be intimidated by getting your pants custom made. This is a great option for many men with hard-to-fit physiques. You will find custom made pants are much more affordable than you might think and the fit and comfort are definitely worth it.


Janine Giorgenti is a renowned fourth generation Italian designer and image consultant. Visit her website at for more style advice and fashion tips.

Video Source: Youtube

Bill on September 13, 2011 said:
It appears I have been wearing pants that fit incorrectly for some time, thank you for informing me of how they should fit.
Adrian Lawrence on September 26, 2011 said:
Funny in the UK Pants are called trousers, whilst underwear are known as Pants!

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