Friday, January 14, 2011

Dear Shopping Savage...

Dear Shopping Savage,

What is the appropriate length for a man's work pants? I'm noticing more guys wearing them shorter these days.


Pants Length Question


Dear P.L.Q.,

If you're asking whether or not its acceptable for men to wear high water pants, the short answer is no. The only exception would be for the man who's vocabulary included the name of fashion designer Thom Browne and was familiar with his suit aesthetic. But if the pant hem offender in question is not in the know of Browne then his pants have just become fashion faux pas fair game.

A man's pant break options fall into three major categories: medium, full and short. Most men opt for the medium break as it straddles the line best between the two more "extreme" breaks. It's referred to as the safest of the pant breaks because you would have them tailored to fall midway between the top of the sole of your shoe and its opening. A man of average height is most likely to wear this pant length. The full break is considered trendier since its tailored for a deeper crease in the front of the pant, landing its hem at the heel. Besides the trendy, most taller men prefer this hem to avoid a high water upheaval.

Lastly, the short break, e.g. "high waters", is the shortest of breaks for the most confident of men. The hem of this pant tends to hover, its break barely skimming the shoe's opening. Since the fashion-forwardness of this hem is usually accompanied by a deliberate "look", your average man's pant hem, nor your average man, would fall into this trendy category.

Which means what you are seeing daily are either pants purchased in incorrect lengths, alterations done before laundering or improper care altogether. Cause aside, men have come to compensate for this short-coming by wearing socks in the same hue as their pants to bridge the garment gap. And though its quite okay for a man to match his socks to his pants, it is not okay to attempt to pass off missing material as a fashion standard.

In the future, gentleman guilty of this sartorial snafu should plan to purchase pants long enough to launder and tailor without having to create a pant hem that hangs somewhere in the textile balance. To borrow (and adapt) a childhood rhyme: the water is low and the land is dry, there's no reason for your pants to be so high. Especially without good reason or good fashion sense.

Click here if you want to know if the type of pants you're buying are the best for your body type. It may be high time to break-up with ill fitting pants to get the pant break best for you.

Need sartorial advice? Email me:

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