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Getting Trouser Size Right

SharkEnergy

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Hi all,

I'm new here so not exactly up with the drill.

I've struggled for years to buy decent fitting suits. People kept advising me on large jackets (maybe because I'm 6ft and have long arms). Anyway regardless I have sorted that out and 42R fits me really well. Now in the last 6 months I've lost a 9kgs in weight through gym work. My waist size on suits was always quite good at 36L. Now though I'm stuck in between.

I bought some trousers the other day that are 34L. They are perfect length. The waist however is SPOT ON. It is not tight, but there is no room for expansion. There is some room in the leg and the bum area, but it does feel tight if bending etc (don't want them ripping!).

The trouble is I don't know if this is normal? I can't tell! And I would hate for my legs to look slimline and make my jackets look big again if that even works that way!

I wonder if I should get the 36L (that need a belt and leave scrunched up material) and maybe have them brought in by an inch. BUT I worry that the bum area will be left looking loose, something I was hoping to get away from.

I have looked all over the internet but the descriptions of good fitting trousers confuse me. PLEASE HELP!

Thank you ;-)
 

binge

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In general, go for trousers that fit in the thigh and seat, then adjust the waist accordingly. Any decently-made pair of trousers should have extra fabric such that the waist can be let out up to 1.5-2 inches, or taken-in the same amount.
 

SharkEnergy

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How tight or loose is the general rule for the thigh and seat? It seems for me with most brands that 34 sits slightly snug, and 36 too loose.
 

a tailor

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binge has the answer. try on everything to find the trousers that feel right in the seat. then alter the waist accordingly. finer stores often have trousers in 35 waist.
 

philosophe

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Good trousers can usually be let out a bit in the seat and thighs. Check to see if there's extra fabric along the inseam. That might help you with the 34s.
 

binge

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The seat can be let out and taken in as well, but to a lesser degree than the waist. Look at pictures of the trousers in this thread, notice how the extra material along the inside of the seat runs from the waistband towards the bottom of the crotch like a triangle? You can take-in/let-out the waist 1.5" but as you go down the seam, you can only take in or let out a proportionate amount. The trick is is that you have to let the seat out in proportion to the waist (or so my tailor tells me). If you just let the seat out all by itself, then you often wind up with just a saggy seat area.

Ultimately its all in the fine amounts that have to be altered. If the seat on the 34s is just a little too snug, then yeah a tailor could probably let them out 1/8-1/4" no problem.

If you can buy the pants and are able to return them, then do it. Buy both the 34s and 36s, take 'em to a tailor and get a professional opinion on which ones can be altered for a better fit.
 

bartil

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I have a quite simple question I would like to get a quick answer on: Does 32" in US mean the exact same thing in UK?
 

oldog/oldtrix

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Originally Posted by bartil
I have a quite simple question I would like to get a quick answer on: Does 32" in US mean the exact same thing in UK?

Yes. On the continent, however, it means 81.28 centimeters.
 

bartil

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That's marvelous! I'm about to order a pair of cords from cordings.com, and needed to know if the sizing was like in the US, because I have bought a pair of trousers in US (not the same brand or model though) in 32", and they fit just great when they're sitting on my waist. Does this mean I can "easily" order a pair of 32"s from a brittish website and be "sure" they'll fit my waist just as great? I typed "" because I know you can't ever be 100% sure when ordering without tried them on first, of course.
 

sfnewbie

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Originally Posted by bartil
That's marvelous! I'm about to order a pair of cords from cordings.com, and needed to know if the sizing was like in the US, because I have bought a pair of trousers in US (not the same brand or model though) in 32", and they fit just great when they're sitting on my waist. Does this mean I can "easily" order a pair of 32"s from a brittish website and be "sure" they'll fit my waist just as great? I typed "" because I know you can't ever be 100% sure when ordering without tried them on first, of course.
No it's not guaranteed to be the exact same size. But it should be close enough that it could be fixed. I used to buy pants based on the size on the tags without trying them on. Now I know that I need to try them on before buying them. I have pants varying from 32-36 in the waist that fit almost exactly the same.
 

bartil

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Oh, really? I haven't thought of that before, that it could be such big differences in the sizes. How hard is it to "fix" a pair of trousers in the waist, if it would unluckily turn out that they don't fit as they should? I guess it's harder to let out than to take in?
 

binge

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Many makers/labels/brands in the US do "vanity sizing" where the sized listed is 1-3" smaller than the actual size. This means that a 32" tag could actually measure to a true 33-35" waist. This is especially true with jeans but also happens in wool and cotton trousers as well.

Some examples of this can be found in the Buying and Selling forum. Click on any of the many threads with trousers for sale and you'll often see the seller list the tagged size alongside with measured size. It's not uncommon for the tagged size to be up to 2" off from the measured size.

The only concern I would have with respect to UK vs. US sizing is if the UK makers don't vanity size whereas the US makers do. In that case, a vanity-sized US 32 might actually be closer to a truly-sized UK 34.

As for alterations. The best rule of thumb is find trousers that fit in the thigh and seat; the waist can be altered up to 1.5" easily, sometimes up to 2".
 

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