Part 11: Do Your Slacks Fit?


Ok, I know I said I was going to do questions, but I'll do that next time.  There will also be an article about silk, since several folks on the list are curious about the different types.

Meanwhile, I'm going to spend a few electrons on slacks. Or trousers.  Call them what you will, but in the UK, "pants" mean "underwear" so I prefer the other words so Brits don't giggle at me.

The first thing to note is that the following notes apply to both men and women's slacks, and almost all of them apply to jeans as well as to chinos, shorts, suit trousers, or women's fitted skirts.

Picture yourself standing in front of a mirror, wearing your slacks.  We'll start at the waist, since slacks are suspended from your waist.  If you are a person that is not plump, the oval described by the waistband of your slacks as you wear them will be parallel to the ground.  If you are a plump person, this oval will tend to dip down in front instead of going across your body at the belly button.  This will result in extra fabric between the front 'waist' and your crotch; there's not much you can do about this if you're buying off-the-rack slacks; you just have to minimize the results by shopping carefully.

The second thing to notice is the area right at your crotch.  There should not be radial wrinkles emanating from this area.  (Remember Berke Breathed's drawings of stupid people?  Most of the men had these wrinkles in their slacks.)  Wrinkles of this sort mean the slacks don't fit -- usually means they are too tight.

The way that slacks (not jeans) should hang is exactly that: they should HANG from the waistband, with only a small amount of shaping as they curve around your thighs near the zipper, or down towards your ankles.  If you were to take a piece of string and tie it around your belt, the slacks should follow that line down to the floor (or toward your ankles, if tapered slacks), with only some small variations.

In the back, the slacks should fit in a similar manner: no radial wrinkles, and no butt-hugging contours.  That imaginary string should just drape over your buttocks and go nearly straight down.  The center-back 3" or so of your slacks will of course be shaped to circle around your thighs -- but no butt-hugging.

Once you're sure the slacks fit 'up top' all you have to worry about is if they're the right length.  This length is called the "inseam" and it is the length of the slacks from the top of the inside seam at your crotch to the cuff of the slacks.  Know your inseam length; it will save you grief when shopping. Your inseam measurement will be affected most by the slanting waistband problem of us plump people, if you gain or lose weight, but mostly it will remain in the same general range. Avoid "highwater" hems on your pants, or else you'll look like Dilbert.  No one should be able to see the ankle opening of your shoes when you are standing up straight.

Men whose pants keep slipping down can wear suspenders (and the Brits will giggle at this, too, which means "garter belt" to them, if I'm not mistaken).  If you get snazzy bright colored ones, they'll look more like a fashion statement and less like you're a hayseed.  Get good advice from some of the upscale men's department stores on these (like at Macy's) as I don't know much about them.  I've got a pair of rainbow ones that I've had since I was hooked on Mork & Mindy, but that's about the extent of my knowledge.  Oh--that triangular metal bit on the suspenders can be adjusted up and down the straps for comfort.  Put it at the level of the lower edge of your shoulderblades, to start with, and adjust from there.
All material (c) 1999 Cynthia Virtue Email Author with comments
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