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Pants silhouette

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Everyone,     We constantly talk about jacket fit and construction.  Now I want to figure out what works and what doesn't work for pants and who it would or wouldn't work for.  Let's also dig deep into different styles of pockets, coin pockets, back pockets, cuffs, no cuffs, straight leg, tapered leg, full leg.  The lists go on and on.  To be more specfic, the most important is what type of silhouette works for which type of person.  If a person is short and slim/average build, would a straight leg work better then a tapered leg?  Maybe vice versa?  What about the break?  Should one consider to angle the opening where the back is lower the the front? What about pleats? Proably another point would be, is there some consideration when the trousers are meant only to be worn separately(not with a suit). Sometimes, in my eyes, a suit pants looks insanely weird when not accompanied with a jacket part of the suit. Is that me or is it just poor fitting? Feel free to add other ideas that I left out.  I know there is much more then what I have commented on.
post #2 of 23
FWIW, I have found that with a high waist but broad hips, trousers with double pleats seem to work better. I haven't had MTM flat front trousers though, so take it with a grain of salt. On OTR trousers, the pockets often bulge at the seam and look funny.
post #3 of 23
I think it's a really interesting topic. I insist on flat-front, full leg, but it may be because I'm pretty thin. If a person with huge thigs wore full leg, it might look ridiculous, i.e. Stacy Adams look.
post #4 of 23
I know everyone here is obsessed with flat front, but for what it's worth I'm thin (29-30 waist) and only wear double pleats. I just don't like flat front pants. To each his own...
post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
It's interesting, single pleats are not mentioned at much as I thought they would. I find single pleats excellent because for one, you can create a crease all the way up to the waistband, thus creating a longer line which in turn could have the effect of elongating the legs. Not to mention slim them down too. The reason I made this post is I am in search of some great fitting and great looking pair of pants. What details could I add/remove/adjust to make pants work for me. Although I can't expect trousers to fit like my jeans, which I think fits me excellent BTW, perhaps I can borrow a few concepts. They are mid rise jeans that have the slightest bootcut. The model is RRL Ridgeway Bootcut jeans if anyone cares to know. One main problem I see with RTW pants that have pockets along the outer seam is that they begin to bellow and great a silhouette that makes the hips look wide, something I think everyone here wants to avoid. Although I want to get stellar pants with my suits(my WWChan suit pants are great but I think I can get them to do even better), I am really trying to get nice pants that I can wear to work everyday since work doesn't require that I wear suits. There are some great places on the Lower East Side around Delancy St. where a pair can be made for ~$50 provided that you give them cloth. If someone can build a thread as great as Manton did with the suit silhouette thread, I think that would be brilliant. Perhaps this can rise to be a HOF thread.
post #6 of 23
For slacks or odd pants that I don't wear with a full suit, I prefer medium rise (above hips, but not all the way to belly), always flat front, with a crease and a slightly tapering leg. I can go with almost a completely striaght leg and not worry about it being baggy at the bottom. If it is for a suit, I like medium-high rise so that the shirt can be tucked in far enough not to have any blousing, and again flat front, creased, with a slightly tapered leg. I also found that wearing pants pulled up higher (instead of low rise) enforces the waist suppression of the jacket and creates a very umm.. sexy... sillhouette.
post #7 of 23
The most important thing about any pair of trousers is their "line": do they hang gracefully in an unbroken line (whether slightly curved or straight), or don't they? Does that line generally follow the proportions of your body, or doesn't it?  This is what I mean by "line": http://public.fotki.com/Mattdeckard/...uit_front.html That is a damned beautiful pair of trousers. As to specifics: there are 1) rise; 2) "crutch"; 3) fullness; 4) taper; 5) length.  Those are the basics that make up the silhouette of a pair of trousers.  Other factors -- pleats, cuffs, pockets, waistband, etc. -- are details.  Important details, but not fundamentally matters of silhouette. Rise is the distance between the top of the waistband to the crotch.  "Crutch" is the distance from the waistband in the back, down to the crotch, then back up to the waist band in the front.  On good trousers, it is not simply twice the rise, since trousers that are a bit higher in the back fit better. Fullness is exactly what is sounds like: how big around is the waist, seat, thigh, calf and cuff?  Taper and lenght are also exactly what they sound like. No matter the rise, the crutch should be small enough so that you don't feel the trouser against your crotch, and no bigger.  That maximizes comfort, freedom of movement and line. In my opinion, almost everyone looks better with a high rise -- that is, trousers worn at the waist or higher.  It lengthens the leg line and elongates the silhouette. Plus, it covers the belly bulge. Guts hanging over waistbands are not attractive. Short guys will long legs and short torsos do better with a lower rise trouser. Really short guys no matter their torso length, also look better in lower rise trousers; I think that high rise trousers tend to swallow them up. Also, short jackets need a lower rise trouser, or else the suit looks unbalanced.  High rise trousers tend to demand suspenders, because they don't stay up so well on their own. Trousers worn with belts want to fall to the hips, where they can rest.  The waist fluctuates with breathing and movement, and gravity does the rest. Similarly, I think almost all men look better in tapered trousers.  The natural leg is tapered, and a tapered trouser reflects that.  Plus, large cuffs swallow up shoes. As to pleats: four pleats, inward facing, inner pleat deeper than the outer pleat is classic.  Works great with high rise trousers with suspenders.  Great on thin guys, as the pleats give a nice fullness to the abdomen and upper thigh.  Also very comfortable.  Looks terrible on low rise trousers. Reverse pleats look lousy with suspenders, but work well with belts, which is why the Italians love them. I think they are more slimming. Single pleats (one on each side) are fine, but as a matter of personal taste, I prefer double (four). I also think four results in a finer taper, and a better line. No pleats: good for the very thin with a narror trouser and a low rise, or on the very fat with a full trouser and a high rise. By the way Hitman, double (four) pleated trousers should always have the crease running up to the waistband. The front crease should meld seamlessly with the inner pleat.
post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 
This is a bump to consider what factors make for a pair of perfect pants. Manton goes to amazing lengths as usual but one of the main reasons for this question is whether slim or fuller trousers trousers create a taller/longer silhouette? What about a trouser cut that is more straight leg, i.e minimum tapering? For example, a pair of jeans with a boot cut in my eyes seems to make the legs longer.... Other comments I would like to add. I find on-seam pockets balloon out no matter what. So a slightly angled pocket works best for me. Not too fond of a besom type pocket though.... Also, As I need to use my pockets to hold my keys, I am trying to figure out how to accomplish this with the smallest of bulge. I seen on some higher end trousers a small horizontal pleat around the knee area..... What is that for? Many more questions but I am busy with actual work.
post #9 of 23
For me, I prefer double pleats, possibly out of necessity. And the pleats must be deep enough to account for the difference in my waist (I wear 33's or 34's) and my hips (40"), othewise they tend to span and make me look fat. Flat fronts are hit and miss. Most RTW dress trousers I've tried with flat fronts seem not large enough in the hip and span at the pockets. I've had better luck with chinos (khakis) and prefer them to the pleated variety. Anybody with similar measurements to my own that can recommend good fitting flat fronts?
post #10 of 23
Quote:
This is a bump to consider what factors make for a pair of perfect pants.  Manton goes to amazing lengths as usual but one of the main reasons for this question is whether slim or fuller trousers trousers create a taller/longer silhouette?  What about a trouser cut that is more straight leg, i.e minimum tapering?  For example, a pair of jeans with a boot cut in my eyes seems to make the legs longer....   Other comments I would like to add.  I find on-seam pockets balloon out no matter what.  So a slightly angled pocket works best for me.  Not too fond of a besom type pocket though....  Also, As I need to use my pockets to hold my keys, I am trying to figure out how to accomplish this with the smallest of bulge.  I seen on some higher end trousers a small horizontal pleat around the knee area..... What is that for? Many more questions but I am busy with actual work.    
Well, it all depends on balancing your figure. A heavy man with thin trousers will only enhance his upper body's weight, and will look squat as a result. A thin man with fuller cut trousers will make his legs look short. Boot cut jeans do enhance length (at least, for me) but boot cut suit trousers are a no-no. I think a key pouch of some sort should work to minimize the bulge, and at the same time protect your pocket linings from wearing out prematurely. Never saw trousers with horizontal pleats at the knee.
post #11 of 23
I think it's quite easy to settle the flat front/pleated pant debate. The individual should just put both styles on and see which is more flattering. I personally prefer flat-front with no cuffs. I am of average build. I also want to encourage members of this board to seek out MTM option for their trousers as well. They can be done cheaply with Asian tailors (~$120 for pure wool). When you think about it, you don't need that many pairs of trousers so it is worth investing in trousers to look sharp everyday. The only pairs of trousers I own are two Brooks Brothers chinos and six pairs of MTM wool trousers (two plain gray, two plain navy, one pinstripe navy, one pinstripe gray). Cheers
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Well, it all depends on balancing your figure. A heavy man with thin trousers will only enhance his upper body's weight, and will look squat as a result. A thin man with fuller cut trousers will make his legs look short. Boot cut jeans do enhance length (at least, for me) but boot cut suit trousers are a no-no.
Very, very well said. All men benefit from at least a little taper to their trousers, in my view. That is, unless the trouser leg is really narrow in the first place (what are called "drainpipe trouers"). In that case a taper only endsl up looking like those girl jeans with zippers at the ankle. (Does anyone still wear those?) And they make feet look huge. I also think that some taper has a "foreshortening" effect to the overall proportion, which adds a touch to the sense of height.
post #13 of 23
Another little bit of information with regards to well-made trousers: Most men don't have legs that are perfectly straight. Hence, when they wear trousers with perfectly straight legs, they will wrinkle and not hang properly. Bowlegged men have wrinkles on the insides of their pants legs, and knock-kneed men will have wrinkles on the outside. It's all about how the fabric interacts with the leg's physical features. This problem can be averted with RTW and MTM by getting trousers cut full enough to not hit the leg. However, for those of us with these problems who like slimmer-fitting trousers, bespoke is the only way to go. I can easily see WW Chan compensating their cut for such deformations. The adjustment needed to compensate for bowlegs/knock knees is pretty simple. Alterations are a problem, because oftentimes there isn't enough fabric left over in order to make the full adjustment.
post #14 of 23
Legs can also bow rearward or jut forward, and each of these interferes with the line. A good bespoke trouser maker can compensate, but it is hard to do.
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Legs can also bow rearward or jut forward, and each of these interferes with the line.  A good bespoke trouser maker can compensate, but it is hard to do.
That green book on tailoring in your Amazon wish list is pretty neat. I ordered a copy for myself. Great resource, especially on coat/trouser fit.
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