What makes a pant look in or out? Right or wrong? A lot of men just don’t know, and that’s totally ok– we’re here to help.
While trends rapidly come and go, there also exists in fashion the phenomenon of “the right thing for right now,” which is more than just a trend. It’s a look that can last for up to a decade. It’s what makes something look current, and in the world of menswear, it’s what’s meant by a “modern classic.” I’m sure there’s a long German word for this idea; I just can’t think of it at the moment. But you don’t have to speak German or have a personal stylist to show you what looks good right now . All you need are a few key points to help you look right, all the time.
THE ANATOMY OF A PANT
It’s important to understand the anatomy of a pant and the key points that make it fit the way it does. It’s these factors that give a pant it’s balance and silhouette.
1. Leg Opening - Sometimes referred to as the bottom opening, the leg opening of a pant is exactly what it sounds like. This measurement is one of the most critical design points, and relative to the knee circumference it decides whether a pant is boot cut, straight cut, or tapered. The fact is that at any given point in time one of those is going to be the “it fit”, it’s just a question of which and when. While bell-bottoms for women always seem to return with a vengeance (and this gal is proudly one of the offenders) I’m not so sure I see that cut/style/trend coming back for men anytime soon…
2. Rise - The rise is the part of the pant that decides where the waistband sits on the body, in both the front and the back. The front rise is where the zipper is, and the back rise is the seam that separates the two sides of the pant. High-waisted pants for guys are extremely fashion forward (think Joaquin Phoenix in Spike Jonze’s Her), and as with many forward seeming things, may be inevitable. Generally though, mid-rise pants that sit below the belly button and comfortably at the hip are most common right now, and low-rise pants also have a place in today’s fashion landscape.
3. Thigh - The thigh measurement is the circumference of the fabric at the thigh. This measurement, along with the low-hip and high-hip circumferences, will determine the slimness or bagginess of a pant. And relative to the knee and the leg opening, it will determine the shape of the leg.
Another factor in accessing a pant’s relevance is drape. In other words, how it hangs, or what we call in the business, its “attitude.” Drape is the result of fabric density, and all fabrics have different drapes. The drape has to do with the fabric weave and the fabric weight. Take denim for example. Denim is a twill weave and can range from heavy to light weight.
So what makes a pant the right pair right now for you? And how do you decide where your style fits into the above categories? You may not be a fashion expert, but if you’re reading this blog, you probably at least have a general idea of what you like, and you can find that in a pant that’s a “modern classic,” or the right pant for right now.
...IT'S YOUR TURN
Now that you know exactly what to look for in the perfect pant, the last step is start finding the right pair for you. There's thousands of retailers out there, each offering a different fit and fabric. Our suggestion? LAD's very own selection of chinos is a fine place to begin.