Pants are useful for many reasons, and in Portland, men need them for at least 10 months out of the year. Whether work or play, you are going to want to look good wearing them.
Today, let’s go over some basics on Men’s pants. For the sake of simplicity I’m going to break trousers down into three categories:
1. Slacks – These are your dress pants, suit pants, formal wear, etc.
2. Khakis – These are the less formal khakis, chinos, etc.
3. Jeans – You probably know what these are.
Everything else is specialized. Carharts stay on the job site, pajama pants stay in the home, hiking pants stay on the trail.
Step #1: Choose flat-front pants over pleated.
Never ever, ever wear pleats. Pleats are outdated. The idea behind them is that men need more room and flexibility in their crotch and with the pockets. That was fine when they were popular from the 20s through the 90’s, mainly because fabric was not as flexible then. But now there is no excuse! If you want to wear pants in which you could smuggle drugs or kittens across a border, these are what I would recommend. They come with a giant crotch-void only good for adding 40 lbs to your frame or smuggling. Also the pleats push the fabric out further from the waist, adding weight to the legs all the way down the ankle. The 90’s are alive in Portland but most of us ditched the pleats long ago. You can barely find these in stores anymore, but older more traditional men will swear by pleats. Businessmen are baggier than gangsters these days and that is just weird.
Common pro-pleat myths:
“Pleats help the crease on the legs fall smother” Possibly true, but moot as the crease is a minor worry when you’re adding optical fat to your body.
“Pleats make bigger men look thinner” False, you may be ‘hiding’ fat, i.e. you can’t see what is the fat or just super baggy fabric, but if put in slimmed down flat-fronts the same man would get compliments for looking thinner. The baggier your clothes, the fatter you look.
“Pleats give my penis more room, as I cannot fit them in flat-fronts” (Real argument I’ve heard) False, don’t lie. People usually only try to hide what they don’t have (Push-up bra ring a bell?).
I’m sure someday pleated pants will come back as some ironic fashion statement, but even then I will be grimacing and scoffing in my flat-front pants.
Step #2: Choose your cut.
There are 4 main cuts these days in all three categories of pants:
Relaxed: These are loose, baggy pants. Just don’t do it. You live in Portland, there is literally a 1 in a million chance you are a gangster rapper. Even if you are a fan of gangster rap, dress like A$AP Rocky, not Snoop Dog[Lion]. If there is one thing to take away from this post, it’s to slim up your clothes. My general rule is to not have enough extra fabric on my body to dress a starving African child, because that’s just fucking selfish. So this is a no in all 3 above categories.
Straight(Boot Cut): This cut is the same from the thigh down to the ankle, no taper. Unless you are a stick figure, your ankles are thinner than your thighs. Don’t wear these unless you are wearing boots. Yes only in Jeans, with boots
Slim: This is what you should go for. Anyone can pull this off, it’s just a different name for tapered & because your legs are tapered, this looks good on anyone. Even if you don’t consider yourself slim, try them on, because most brands err on the side of not slim enough. What you really want is anything with “Tailored” in the name of the cut, i.e. Tailored Slim. If they actually fit & look like they were tailored to your body then you win at life. You will look pro without having to pay a tailor to do it! Fully acceptable and highly recommended in all 3 above.
Skinny: You probably already know if you can pull off this cut. This is not acceptable in Slacks usually, but this is Portland & we’re all already oxymorons in one way or another, so I say go for it! Show those chicks what you’re working with!
Step #3: Put the breaks on your breaks!
The break on your pants is how the fabric lands on the top of your shoes. The break depends on the pants you wear, but also the shoes you wear with them.
Full/Large Break: This or any pile of pant leg resting on one’s shoe is your first clue of a cluelessly dressed man. Think of the African children and tighten it up boys. This break is never acceptable in Slacks & to me only acceptable in Khaki or Jeans if rolled up(turning it into No Break).
Half/Medium Break: This is the conservative industry standard. All of Congress & any CEO over the age of 35 is sporting this break. So obviously it’s boring, not recommended unless running for office.
Quarter/Small Break: More stylish & tailored look. Highly recommended if you want to look better than others, with no one able to put their finger on why. Also, this will not cause any ripples with bosses or conservatives.
No Break/Rise: This is the one I go for. It is the most fashion-forward. People will stare, comment, perhaps even make fun if they are intimidated by your prowess. This today is urbane defined, and the only way to wear your pants if you want to make moves outside of walking. Careful on this one, like liquor, a little goes a long way. It’s called a Rise, not highwaters. This shows off the shoes and socks without having to sit down. You must have slim or skinny cuts to pull this off. Ankle is the businessman’s cleavage. Wear it well. Better picture below.