The Right Trousers for Your Body Type
THE STOUT MAN
A larger gent should always seek out trousers that stretch out his vertical line. One common mistake made by bigger men is to wear their trousers too low. This has the negative effect of pushing the crotch of their trousers lower, thus diminishing the length of their legs. Worse still, when the waistband hits below the natural waist, they fall victim to having their belly roll over it in a truly unsightly manner. Thus, the larger man must have the waistband of his trousers sit higher, at his natural waist, which will immediately provide greater comfort. His trousers will sit securely, rather than be compelled downwards by the evils of gravity and the egg-shaped structure of his torso.Furthermore, a larger man must have the fork of his trousers as high as possible to lengthen his leg line and create that invaluable commodity of daylight between his legs to define them. Reverse pleats (facing the pockets) can enhance the vertical line of his trousers and also allow greater comfort when he is seated. The stout man must choose fabrics that drape well and allow for a strong crease to remain in place over the front of his trousers, again, to enhance his vertical line. This crease should err toward the inside of the leg to create a narrowing effect. However, fabrics should not be overly heavy. Colours should be dark and solid, or with subtle vertical patterns such as mini herringbone or faint pinstripes. Some experts advise big men to “dress large” and take fuller-cut trousers ending with a cuff that helps anchor the trouser bottom. However, a more fitted trouser leg, particularly from the knee downwards, can create a sleek transition from trouser leg to shoe. While cuffs can bring the required weight to anchor the front crease, they may also add bulk. Ultimately, the need for them depends on the style of the suit and the type of shoes you favour. In both instances, the more structured your style, the greater the inclination towards cuffs. Finally, trousers with larger waist sizes often have correspondingly wide hems that, if left unaltered, can devour your shoes. It is important that the hem of the trousers be altered to correspond with the larger man’s shoe size. Avoid too great a break, as this builds up volume in the lower part of the leg.
THE LEAN MANFred Astaire was one of the most stylish men who ever lived. According to his biographer G. Bruce Boyer, “No other man has influenced American style more profoundly than Fred Astaire. Replacing the stiff-suited, aristocratic uniform of the day with his looser, more democratic look of tweed sport jackets and easy-cut flannels, Astaire became a new model for the Century. Nonchalance, natural charm and effortlessness would now replace the pomp and circumstance of men’s style that preceded it.” But what you don’t notice, unless you catch a glimpse of Astaire in a rare moment of dishabille, is how incredibly thin he is. That’s because Astaire was a master of using clothes to create a greater sense of muscularity to his whippet-like frame. When it came to trousers, he favoured cuts that created a greater sense of bulk. He wore his pants at his natural waist to endow his 5’9” frame with greater height. He favoured forward pleats that add a certain soft volume to the hip area, and his trousers were full-cut but well proportioned. They ended invariably in substantial cuffs complemented by sturdy lace-up shoes.
THE STATUESQUE MAN
Actor Gary Cooper stood at 6’3”, but because of a lean frame and athletic shoulders, he had a tendency to photograph much taller. Even before Fred Astaire made his way to Anderson & Sheppard, Cooper was already a customer of the Mayfair firm renowned for its legendary drape cut, which creates volume that is perfect for leaner, taller men. Full-cut trousers help give a tall man a sense of dynamic muscularity.Tall, slender men should select coats with elements that emphasise horizontal lines, such as bolder patterns, patched pockets, additional ticket pockets and even turn-back sleeve cuffs. Similarly, they should look for trousers that are slightly more generous in cut. Taller men can also afford larger-diameter cuffs and slightly longer breaks across their shoes. However, their trouser hems should always be in proportion to their shoe size.