Trousers are particularly important because they serve as a base, or an anchor, for the rest of your outfit. Trousers will mostly be in the background of an outfit, serving as a foundation for the foreground of your shirt or other outerwear. Trousers are also important because they determine whether your body will appear tall or short. That’s why before buying a trouser from a fashion house or ordering in a tailoring shop, you need to keep certain things in your mind.
The waist of the trouser should sit comfortably on your natural waist, not your hips. Jeans are often cut to sit lower on the hips with a natural ‘sag’ effect, but not trousers. This is why men who don’t often wear trousers feel that they are sitting uncomfortably high. There should only be about one finger of room at the waistband; just a little so that they are not uncomfortably tight when sitting, but snug enough to keep them locked in place.
There should be a few inches of allowance at the hips, since this is the primary area of motion – and thus tension – in the garment. If the hips are too small, the pockets will flare and the fabric will show stress lines across the front of the crotch and the back of the seat. It will also be difficult to fit your hands in your pockets.
In the ‘rise’ of the trouser, the distance from the top of the waistband to the ‘4 corners intersection’ below the crotch should follow the natural shape and size of the body. If it’s too small, it will feel like you have a ‘wedgies’ and it will feel uncomfortable to keep the pants on your natural waist. On the other hand, if the rise is too long, there will be an extra area of fabric hanging below the crotch and impeding your long strides, like a ‘drop crotch’ pant would have.
This is where a lot of guys make the mistake of going too trim. You should be able to sit down comfortably, without the trouser fabric struggling to keep it together. If you notice a lot of fabric stress at the upper thigh when you sit, your trousers may be too snug. This will greatly affect the lifespan of your trousers.
The proper hem width for a trouser has become a popular question. This largely comes down to personal preference. It’s more style than ‘fit’. For off-the-rack trousers, these general standards are good for the overall balance and silhouette.
Length is another important feature for trousers which depends on personal preference. Shorter guys are recommended to go with little to no break for a streamlined look; for taller guys anchor down that height with a good break.
The trousers should be slim enough at the waist so that they do not require a belt to stay put, but they should not cut into your waist either. Degree of break is up to preference, some people prefer none, others prefer a full break, but most people go in between – opting for a medium break. Choose according to your requirements.