The Basic Straight Leg Flat Front Pant

Choosing the right pant fit and leg shape is one of the most important parts of getting the right look in a suit.

Do you want to look more youthful, slim, and eager?

The Skinny Leg "Rocker" Fit

Or is your style more one that connotes power and solidity?

Is your style more traditional or is it more daring?

In terms of recent fashion there are two competing trends to look at.  The first is the “skinny jeans” trend that has been going on for the past 5-10 years.  To a younger guy, a pant just doesn’t fit unless it is tight.

Cary Grant in a Wide Leg Pant

“Old men” might want a pant that comes up closer to the navel, but lots of younger guys prefer a pant with an ultra low rise similar to women’s pants.

A pant from H&M aimed at young men.

The second (and contrary)  trend is a return to the classics of the early 20th century.  This means a return to a higher-waisted and often wider leg pant.

Men who are interested in this trend tend to reject the youthful “dressing down” looks of the 90s and 00s—instead of looking younger, one wants to look “like a grown-up” after the fashion of golden age and silent film stars.  In addition to 1930s-era suiting, many men who look toward this trend find inspiration in classic denim and workwear.

A Full Wide Leg Flat Front Pant

We can, of course, make pants in both styles—-or even a hybrid of the two styles.

A Slim Tapered Tuxedo Pant

Perhaps the main thing to understand about pants is that, like all human clothing, the idea is to stylize the figure and the question is what each style means.

For some men, for example, the skinny leg style just doesn’t work.  This is particularly the case with athletic men who ride a bicycle to work or do frequent squats.

The style ends up failing on men with muscular thighs because the ankles and calves end up looking too skinny (and even fragile!) in comparison to the thighs.  The initial impression is that the ankles might shatter under the weight.  Going with a wider leg inevitably seems like a better fit, while a skinny style just feels too tight and off balance.

A 1920s Style High Waistband

Similarly, on men with a larger belly, the slimmer leg can give a top-heavy “muffin top” look to the suit which is always unfortunate.

Our "Jean Fit" Dress Pant--Slim Fit but Bootcut for More Athletic Shapes

On the other hand, for men who are very slim and tall with narrower shoulders, one inevitably wants to make the pant legs thinner.  If the jacket has fairly narrow shoulders and a narrow waist (which is the case on men with a smaller chest size), a wider leg pant throws the look off balance.

Overall, one wants to pick a pant style that fits with one’s individuality.

If you want to convey solidity and authority and to look like Cary Grant, one should choose a wider leg pant.

To look young and eager, a slimmer leg is better.

But the pant is designed to stylize the body—-and choosing a look that flatters your individual body type is important as well.

We make all of our pants and bespoke suits one-at-a-time to fit each client’s body and style here in our studio in Denver, Colorado.  Find out about our muslin fitting and how we can fit clients around the world.