Warren has joined the FashionBeans contributing team with a specific quest in mind – to rid the world of common fashion mistakes (or faux pas) men make on a daily basis. We are not going to insult your intelligence by breaking down why you should not be wearing socks with your sandals; anyone with an ounce of style will already know this. However, we are going to be tackling some key topics that will hopefully take your outfits to the next level.
Whether you consider yourself a style icon or a fashion newbie, hopefully this series will prove to be a valuable insight into oft overlooked areas, whilst also making you fully consider your purchases and outfit choices in the future.
I once asked a friend of mine if he knew where the waist of his body was. He immediately – and foolishly – pointed to the abdominal area of his body; specifically where the hipbones are located. He then asked me why I had come up with such a seemingly odd question. “Just a random thought” I replied.
The real reason was that his jeans were a clear fifteen centimetres below his waistline, showing fifteen centimetres more of his chequered boxers than need be. My problem with this is not really a teenage bout of exploration and experimentation, but with the adults who, in reality, should know better. I don’t even have a problem with trousers being either slightly lower or above your average waistline but for some people, it seems that the sky is the limit – or the floor in this case.
The Faux Pas
When you visit a retail outlet and approach an [often not-too-concerned] attendant in search of a pair of trousers, they will usually ask you what your waist size is. I am yet to meet an attendant asking for my knee or naval circumference. The idea is that trouser manufacturers provide a universal unit of measurement to make sure that everyone understands which trousers fit; or rather, don’t. This also suggests that the proper way to wear trousers is on your waist.
However, on a daily basis, I see people who somehow do not comprehend this standard method, resulting in hideous monstrosities from both ends of the waist. On one part you have a group who have to broaden their knees in order to prevent their trousers from tumbling down, and on the other end you have people who end up with weird shapes in their groin and bottom areas, with fabric going in places where it definitely should not.
I could only think of three reasons why an individual would decide to wear trousers in such manner.
- Some people want to associate themselves with one culture or another. And that’s OK, really. But please keep in mind that extremes rarely go down well in society and that probably – in reality – you do not look like the person you are envisioning in your own mind.
- There are those people who have high hopes of attracting a mate and they think that wearing trousers in such a manner is the key to a successful coupling. We all know this is not the case because, unless you can pull off underwear as well as David Beckham can, you probably should leave it hidden.
- My final explanation is that some people simply couldn’t care less about what they are wearing and how they are wearing it. In this case, I’m sure they’re not reading this article so let me move on to the next section.
Wearing Trousers the Correct Way
First off, please make sure you know where your waistline is, because that is where you should wear your trousers. Slightly below or above is perfectly OK.
Many menswear sites will go to great lengths to ensure their clothes are being worn right. ASOS have an excellent graphical depiction identifying the waist:
That is where you should measure if you want trousers to have a perfect fit.
You now need to find a style that suits you most, and this can be slightly tricky. There are a lot of styles which mimic the look that you want to achieve without making you look like you’re trying too hard (or have no clue as to what you are doing). Not all trousers fit exactly the same. This depends on a number of factors such as material, cut, wash and make of the trousers. If you put your mind to it, you will succeed in finding that elusive pair which will define your look. It will often take years of work, occasional graft and the odd barter but in the long run, it’s a hefty reward.
Tailor the specifics around the appeal you want to achieve. For a laid back, relaxed look, try looser, carrot or worker trousers. The key point to bear in mind is that you should still wear your correct waist size! You do not need to oversize the waist in order to achieve a comfort fit through the leg – this is exactly why there are comfort or carrot fit trousers on the market.
If you are looking for a smarter, strait-laced look then a pair of straight, slim or skinny trousers are your best bet. It’s all about marrying the desired look to the clothes.
Wearing Trousers by Frame
If you are clueless as to which trousers are best for you, there are a few safe guidelines to go by.
Knowing what to look for and what to buy will save you time, money and embarrassment. Get to know your body shape well and stick to what works if you want to always look your best.
Being tall can make you susceptible to being rather dull and boring with your trouser choices, due to you not wanting to attract attention to your long limbs. In reality, you should be embracing your height; you have the length to mix it up, and you should be wearing a blend of style and colours. Most people are not aware that solid block colours actually work extremely well in creating a divide from the top and bottom halves of your outfit, breaking up your long linear structure.
For those who are looking to take emphasis away from long legs, try to avoid skinny jeans because they will only draw the focus to your legs and make you look even taller than you are. However, for those that have learnt to embrace their height and slim frame – why not try a slim fit that will accentuate your natural gifts subtly?
Wearing wider or pleated trousers will add bulk to your shape, giving you a more proportioned silhouette. You can also experiment with bulky styles such as carrots, loose and worker fits – these shorten the length between your crotch and your feet, making your legs seem shorter and more proportioned. Another way you can break up the length of your legs would be to give the bottom hem of your trousers a couple of turns upwards. Not only is this a major trend this year, it will add some bulk to the bottom of your legs, taper the trousers to your leg shape, and give a definitive gap between the end of your trousers and your footwear – which helps make your feet look more proportioned as well.
Your length gives you room to wear accessories which also help to break the lines; wearing a belt and mid-length socks under your trousers will not only add personality and detailing, but helps add distinct sections to your long frame. Look for patterned socks, a wide belt and avoid ankle socks unless you are wearing shorts.
What you should avoid in this case are bulky trousers because they give you a stockier look which creates a shorter stature. So avoid carrot, drop crotch and cargo pants.
When choosing trousers try picking a slimmer fit, coupled with solid colours to give you a longer, leaner look. Another great way of creating the illusion of a longer leg is to pick a shoe colour as similar to your trouser colour as possible, so there is no definitive break in your leg line.
Slim profile trainers and shoes will work wonders for you when paired with trousers, as again they give the illusion of a longer leg. If you want to wear boots, then look for slim fitting versions and tuck your trousers in (with boots done up) to create a sweeping leg line all the way down.
As for accessories, picking out a narrow belt will create the illusion of longer legs and give you more length. The same idea works for socks – try avoiding bold or patterned socks (as they break up your leg line) and stick to solid muted colours and a thin material to make your legs look longer.
Wearing trousers that fit well is key. Avoid skinny trousers as they will take on your exact shape and contribute to an unflattering (often bulging) look.
Moreover, you should also avoid bulky trousers such as carrot fits or drop crotch, as they will make your middle body section look even bigger.
Not with any other body type has it been more important to stick to your waistline – by doing so, you can hide any excess weight you are carrying. Also, try straight fit trousers or jeans to give you an elongated shape; this will help hide your broader figure and create a leaner look.
No matter what your body type, visit shops that stock different brands and styles to source out those that are most befitting. It will take you some time to really find the best fit for your body shape but you will eventually find what works and may even notice that some brands work better for you than others.
If readers have any suggestions of brands that work well for particular body shapes, then please let us know in the comments section…
Current Season Trouser Styles
Loose / Carrot Fit Trousers
Skinny / Slim Fit Trousers
Whether you feel the modern take on trousers just doesn’t cut it or you’re an in-between man – failing to find a pair that sit just right – it’s your responsibility to take it upon yourself to alter this.
Add an edge or stamp your individuality with statement accessories because, as far as trousers go, these are far too often overlooked. As men look to separate themselves from the herd, turning to the perfect belt or braces is not unheard of. The added consideration will instantly take your outfit up a notch, giving you something distinctively unique… style.
Conclusion / Sign off
It should be an obvious notion, but trousers have a basic unit of measurement which comes from the idea that the proper way to wear trousers is on your waist. Not fifteen centimetres below, nor fifteen centimetres above. I hope our quick, fairly blunt lampooning of a modern faux pas has nudged your wardrobe in the right direction.
Give us your thoughts and experiences about the topic, or share any tips in addition to this article below.