4 Simple Things To Keep In Mind When Buying Off-The-Rack Pants

Start with good fit and then proceed to the tailor.

Tailored clothing is uncontested when it comes to looking your best. To have your own wardrobe specifically made to your measurements immediately improves your appearance and helps you stand out from the crowd. 

Take pants, for instance. Men tend to take them for granted, but ill-fitting pants only look sloppy and unflattering. Those on the shorter side will appear stubbier, and heavyset men may draw more attention to their figure. But with the right fit, ready-to-wear pants can denote a more expensive quality—all you really need is a pair, a good tailor, and the following tips. 

1| The Hem
Off-the-rack pants are hardly finished, which means you still need to take a trip to your neighborhood tailor to have them hemmed, regardless of the fit. Hit two birds with one stone and please bring the rest of your chinos and trousers for hemming.  

2| The Break
Forget the John Lloyd route: Pants should generally graze your shoe, and have only one break or that crease where the hem and shoe meets. If it breaks more than once or hits the soles of your shoes, it’s too long. Conversely, not everyone can pull off ankle-length pants, so stay on the safe side. 

Remember also to bring the shoes you plan to wear with your pants in order to get an accurate assessment of where they should be hemmed.  

3| The Fit
Here's the modern way to style chinos: no pleats, roomy, with a straight leg or a slight taper. And by slight, we mean barely noticeable; please don’t turn your pants into a skinny affair. Trousers, on the other hand, should drape smoothly over your rear. They should not appear stretched out, nor should they look billowy. 

Jeans have more leeway. Denim becomes more relaxed as the cotton stretches over time, allowing for a laidback fit.  


4| The Rise
The rise, or where your pants sit on your body, also matters. For chinos and trousers, a mid-rise that sits just near the belly button is ideal. Meanwhile, how high your jeans sit depends on your preference. We like denim that sits on the hip bone, just a little lower than chinos, but not “low-rise” enough. 

A note: Altering rise can be difficult, so get this right when you're at the store. 

Shopping at the nearest store doesn’t have to mean stepping out like a clone of of all the dudes sporting the same damn thing. It’s all about making that off-the-rack item look made-to-measure. 

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Sam Beltran
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