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UNIT 121: Different types, features and fits of trousers


Try to include:

  • The History of trousers, e.g. Denim/Levis, Beau Brummell, flares.
  • Different types of trousers, e.g Thai fishing/fisherman pants, Dungarees.
  • Different features of trousers, e.g. pockets, turn-ups, button flies.
  • Different fits of trousers, e.g. skinny fit, looser fit.

We already had talk about the History of trousers on our previous post so, let's talk about the rest of our task:


Different types of trousers:

Different features of trousers:

Trousers contain various features from top to bottom, waistband to hem, that are important to consider for fit and appearance.

The Waistband

Starting at the top, pants most commonly feature a waistband. The waistband is a thin strip of fabric that wraps around the waist and features the some of the securing mechanisms needed to hold them on the body, namely a button or hooks.

Belt Loops

Attached to the waistband are the belt loops, which hold the belt in place around the waist. It is traditionally said that pants with belt loops should always be worn with a belt; otherwise, it looks like you just forgot to put it on. However, going beltless is popular for a casual look.

Suspender Buttons

Though you will almost never find them off the rack, some pants are tailored with suspenders buttons on the inside of the waistband. These pants tend to be higher in the rise and pleated, as the suspenders help pull the pants upward rather than inward, creating a smooth line down the leg and pleats.

In terms of design, most pants are designed to be used with either a belt or suspenders, but not both.

Side Adjusters

For reasons of greater formality and uninterrupted lines, some men/women prefer trousers with side adjusters. These are usually small buckles, one at each hip, attached to cloth tab or strap that enable you to cinch the waist an inch or so on each side.

The adjuster can be placed center of the waistband (as shown above) or lower, on the seam that joins the waistband to the rest of the pants.

The Rise

Below the waistband is the area called the rise, measured from the seam at the bottom of the crotch to the waistband. This may be in the range of 9-13 inches depending on the size of the pants and whether it is low-, mid-, or high-rise.  For a while now, low-rise trousers have been in fashion, meaning the pants sit around your hip area. Rise plays a significant role in determining the visual proportions of your body.


In brief, pleats are folds of fabric in the trouser rise. On flat-front trousers, as the name states, the fabric in this area is smooth. Pleats can either be forward facing, in which the folded fabric points inward, toward the fly of your pants, or reverse—pointing in the direction of the pockets. The British style generally favors inward-facing pleats whereas pants in a more Italian, specifically Neapolitan, style usually face outward. In terms of which is better, forward pleats usually receive less criticism as they tend to remain flat, while outward ones may open and stay open, resulting in ballooning fabric. The number of pleats that you have can vary: usually, one or two, though some men have experimented with three and even four pleats.

The Seat

On the opposite side of the rise is your seat, where your bum seats. There isn’t much to say here except for the various pocket options. Usually, you have two rear pockets on the seat, though these can either be welt pockets or welts with a single button on each. This gives you a clean rear seat. Any other possibility–flapped or patch pockets–would be present only on casual pants. Whatever the design, these rear pockets are mostly useless since loading them with anything more than a business card, will make it annoying to sit down.

Front Pockets

Continuing the discussion of pockets, you will most likely have two of them on the front of any pair of pants. By far, the most common pocket style on trousers is slant pockets.

If you’ve owned a pair of jeans, you are likely familiar with the coin pocket, a small, seemingly useless pocket that nests inside the larger one on the right front. Originally, it was developed by Levi-Strauss to enable men to carry their pocket watches while wearing denim. The coin pocket is responsible for the term “five-pocket pants.” However, an added coin pockets can appear in pants that are more formal than jeans too, such as summer chinos.

The Fly and Front Closure

In order to get your pants on and off, you need to have a means of opening and closing them. This work is done by the fly and the button closures on the front of the waistband.

The front zipper is usually a standard and therefore very forgettable detail on a pair of pants. However, more fancy designs can feature a button fly as well as an elaborate system of a flap (sometimes called a French bearer) and inner buttons to fasten up the pants.

Pants Leg Cut

The legs on a pair of pants can be straight or tapered, wide or slim. For a sharp appearance, some tapering should occur, meaning the legs should get gradually more narrow as they move toward the bottom. This can happen top to bottom or start closer to the knee, which is an important consideration if you have large thighs. In recent years, slim legs have been in fashion, and, to some extent, they have always been part of the classic Italian style.


Legs may also be lined on the inside, either down to the thigh or fully, especially if the pants are a light color or one that is either sheer or rough–summer fresco cloth is both. The lining prevents your skin and underwear from showing through and also protects your skin from abrasion.

Cuffs or Turn-Ups

Cuffs make a pair of pants less formal, probably because they add more ornamentation, and usually more ornamentation means less formality. Thus, you won’t see cuffs on a tux or even most business suits. For suits that are a bit more casual, like flannels or linen, you can get away with cuffs, usually in conjunction with other casual elements, like patch pockets on the jacket. Cuffs on pants are not a minor detail as they are immediately noticed and lend “weight” to the bottoms of the legs. In this way, they have the effect of visually shortening your legs.

 Source: https://www.gentlemansgazette.com/features-of-a-pair-of-pants/

Different fits of trousers

When do Pants Fit Well?

In general, you want your trousers to fit well but what exactly does that mean?

  1. They shouldn’t be too loose and baggy, nor skin tight.
  2. They must have the proper inseam length, which means neither too short nor too long. A slight break is great but not required. A big break means your pants are too long
  3. They must have the right circumference around your waist, seat, thigh, knee and ankle.
  4. You want clean lines and as few wrinkles as possible
  5. Pleats should not gap.
  6. The most difficult part of the fit of pants is the back view when you do not wear a jacket.
  7. In my experience, pants that sit on the natural waist have a more flattering fit than pants which are cut low.
  8. No matter how well a pair of pants fits, over the course of the day it will move. A belt and side-adjusters will help to keep it in place, but only a pair of suspenders can guarantee a great fit all day long.
  9. Some people like wider cut trousers, others like a trimmer cut but both can fit well. Of course, a pair or very trim pants will have to be slightly shorter as a break would just look awkward. Moreover, it is harder to achieve a perfect fit with slim trousers.
  10. Lightweight fabric trousers will wrinkle much more quickly and look like they do not fit as well as an identical pair of pants cut from heavier wool or tweed fabric that drapes and hangs well.

Pants Fit Guide

Skinny Fit

FIT: Sits below waist

LEG: Skinny through seat & thigh

Slim Fit

FIT: Sits below waist

LEG: Slim through seat & thigh

Original Fit

FIT: Sits at waist

LEG: Traditional fit through seat & thigh

Regular Fit

FIT: Sits slightly below waist

LEG: Traditional fit through seat & thigh

Relaxed Fit

FIT: Sits slightly below waist

LEG: Extra room through seat & thigh


Loose Fit

FIT: Sits at waist

LEG: Roomier through seat & thigh

Leg Openings









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