Many men, especially those who dress business casual to work every day, don’t wear pants that actually fit properly. Simply look around you in any public place, and you’re sure to see men in pants with a too-long rise and a baggy fit. And this is certainly not the most flattering look. So when you shop for pants, take the time to try them on, and look for these four important things: rise, drape, length, and break.
Rise – The “rise” of your pants basically refers to the groin area. In recent years, men have commonly started to wear jeans with a low rise. For a sophisticated and well-fitted look, you must look for pants with a rise that actually lays close to your anatomical crotch. Anything that hangs down or sags simply looks unpolished. Also noteworthy is the fact that if there is too little fabric in the rise, the pants will be quite uncomfortable. There should be just enough fabric in the rise of your pants that it shows contour without being tight. Make sure that when you try on pants, you sit down and stand up again to make sure the rise fits properly.
Drape – When trying on dress pants, check to make sure that there are no visible horizontal lines around your hips, thighs and backside. If there are, the pants are too tight and the fabric is not able to drape correctly. And trust me, too tight pants are something you should avoid when determining what to wear to an interview or on a date. What you want is a nice, long and smooth interrupted line from your hips to your toes. And as an extra tip- a shoe with a slightly pointed toe can help you appear even longer and leaner, as it extends this vertical line.
Length and Break – I’ve placed these two factors together, because they really go hand in hand. In order to determine the right length for your pants, you must also consider the break. “Break” is the effect that occurs when the bottom of your pants gather at the top of your shoes and create a horizontal crease.
Long length and full break: If the length of your pants is more on the long side, the break in your pants will be a visible fold. If your pants are more on the short side, there will be no break at all. You will have a full break in your pants if your pant leg length is between the top of your shoe heel and the ground. The long length/full break is a necessity if you are very tall, or if your pant style has a full opening at the bottom, such as pleated pants or boot cut pants.
Short length and no break: It is very common to see both men and women walking around with too-short pants. Essentially, if you see fabric flapping around someone’s ankle when they are walking, the pants are simply too short. Therefore, I would generally not recommend getting pants tailored to be short with no break. When trying on pants in a dressing room, make sure to try them on with your shoes. Oftentimes, the pant length and break look fine when you’re barefoot, but when you then put your shoes, the bottom of the pants hover at the top of the shoes. This is not your goal.
Regular length and medium break: This is what I consider to be the ideal length and break for dress pants. It is accommodating when you are walking, as well as when you sit down. To find pants that are regular length with a medium break, look for ones that (or have them tailored to) sit just about inch above the back heel of the shoe. This is a good look for everyone, because it creates just one small horizontal break on the front of your pants where they meet the shoe. Pants that are regular length with a medium break appear classic, and fit any occasion.