The World of Trousers

National preferences often dictate the cut — but your choice of trouser style should ultimately be governed by higher concerns.

Biscuit beige pleated wool flannel Aleksandar trousers by Kit Blake (Photo by Rikesh Chauhan)

Observe the news and you’ll agree, international conflicts and schisms grow worse by the day. It’s heartening, then, to note that at least in sartorial terms, some consensus is being reached. Lately, the three main schools of tailoring — American, British and Italian — have grown far less dissimilar in their approach to coat shape, with most tailors now agreeing that the creation of a slim-waisted, Y-shaped silhouette with strong yet minimally padded shoulders is most desirable.

In trousers, however, regional differences remain. Italians will create trousers that fit close to the legs and are hemmed short, with no break, in order to show off a flash of sock or even an audacious glimpse of golden Mediterranean suntanned ankles. The British favour a trim, architectural fit, nonetheless fuller than the Italians’, with a small amount of break and the bottoms slanting toward the heels if uncuffed. Americans, meanwhile, have traditionally preferred a fuller cut, pleated pant, with a larger break (hence the continuing preponderance of over-long trousers on the Oscars red carpet).

Published

February 2020

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