How to Buy Trousers: A Man's Guide

8 things to bear in mind when choosing your next pair

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We all love a good coat, dinner jacket, tailored shirt or cashmere sweater. But all of the above are nothing if your bottom half looks a bit neglected.

Essentially, you need get your trousers right, and it’s trickier than you might think.

To help you get your trousers looking spot on, we’ve enlisted the assistance of eight of the country’s best tailors to give you the final word on length, fabric, colour, quality, fit and occasion. You should never settle for poorly fitting trousers, and now you don’t have to.

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1 | Always buy half-lined trousers

"Navy wool trousers always work, but make sure they’re half lined, or they’ll itch over the thighs if you get warm when dancing. The ideal trouser is slim cut with a normal waist and narrow foot; it’s timeless and always works. As a guide, look at the French student revolution in May 1968 – that’s the way to go in terms of trouser fit."

Christopher Bastin, creative director at Gant
 

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2 | Pay attention to fabrics

"When you're investing in trousers, there are some fabrics to avoid. Hopsack, for example, will always lose shape, and the same applies to cashmere. If the blend is over a certain amount (20%), the trousers won’t last very long."

Mehmet Ali, design director at Hardy Amies
 

3 | Fit is everything

"Fit is crucial because however well made the trousers are if they don't fit you will never wear them. Look inside the trousers to see how the seams are constructed. If the seams are not flat then the outside seams do not lie properly and check to see if there is sufficient inlay to let them out at a later date. I hate short pockets and polyester pockets."

Jeremy Hackett, founder and chairman of Hackett London
 

4 | No skinny trousers with suits

"Avoid skinny trousers with a suit; you will look like you belong on the Apprentice. And steer clear of manmade fibres and white… pale cream is OK. What’s more, you can never have enough pairs of grey trousers. Flannel in winter and plainweave in summer."

Christopher Modoo, creative and buying manager at Chester Barrie
 

5 | Consider the construction

"Handmade trousers will benefit from a stiff waistband, curved metal fly zip, hand finished fly, hem and pockets, hand-sewn curtains (inside, covering the waistband) and decent sized pocket bags. But ready-tailored trousers just need to be robustly sewn, in good cloth, and fit well."

Patrick Grant, creative director of E Tautz and Norton & Sons
 

6 | Pleats have their place

"Pleated trousers are much more accommodating around the middle region, especially if you’re sitting down. I’ve always adored those big pleated trousers and boxy jackets that David Bowie wore as the Thin White Duke. Also, the more mature gentleman might avoid leather..."

Richard James, Savile Row tailor
 

7 | Get the length right

"Ideally, if you’re short or stocky, you should be looking for a half break or full break in the trouser, so it hits the shoe perfectly. It’s also worth the effort of getting your formal trousers angled at the hem – i.e. 1cm longer at the back than the front – this will allow them to the shoe in a much cleaner way."

Charlie Casely-Hayford, founder of Casely-Hayford
 

8 | Keep them up correctly

"Personally, I do not like braces at all. I do like fabric side adjusters; they cut a very elegant shape, and belt loops are always good providing you have a nice belt. Trousers with belt loops should not be worn without a belt."

Oliver Spencer, menswear designer

 

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