No national archetype can be said to be definitively better, but in the most simplistic terms, the Italian look
flatters the slim man, the British style enhances the stature of the man of slim or average build, and the American
cut suits the average to larger gent. Men with athletic bodies may pick and choose.
The decision related to the style of trousers you wear will be in large part dictated by the style of coat you’ve
chosen. Remember that the trousers do more than just clothe the legs in isolation. Rather, they extend and finish
all the styling cues of the coat.
When looking at the pairing of coat and trousers, whether as separates or the parts of a suit, the trousers can never
be evaluated in isolation, in the same way that one part of a couple cannot attend marriage counselling alone.
Therefore, after checking the fit of your trousers, slip on the accompanying suit or sport coat that you intend to
wear with them.
A super sleek-cut coat as purveyed by many Italian and French houses is best complemented by similarly slim, uncuffed
trousers ending in relatively narrow hems that just ‘kiss’ your sleek lace-up shoes.
Conversely, a more structured coat of the sort cut by Savile Row traditionalists and Anglophile Americans can
continue into fuller-cut trousers, possibly with pleats and substantial two-inch cuffs that break over wingtips or
brogues with all the elegance of Hokusai’s “Great Wave off Kanagawa”.
Ask yourself these questions: How structured are the shoulders of your coat? How many bulk-building elements, such as
pocket flaps, ticket pockets and turn-back cuffs are there? How wide and volumetric are the lapels? What is the
diameter of the sleeves and how much does the skirt flare? If you tend toward items that create volume on top,
common sense dictates that you’d require fuller-cut trousers in order to balance proportions below.
“Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others because you were born in it,” wrote George
Bernard Shaw, decreeing blind adherence to geographic fealty to be the worst sort of hubris and foolishness. That’s
certainly the case when it comes to trousers, which should be chosen entirely on the basis of taste and good form,
regardless of one’s nationality.