Welcome back to our Ground Up Groomsmen Style Guide. This is Part 2 and it’s all about your pants. If you missed Part 1, click here to get caught up. Most guys don’t pay much attention to suiting, especially in today’s casual Mark Zuckerberg era, but I can guarantee if you pay attention to the fit of your suit on your wedding day, you’ll be so glad you did, especially when you look back at your photos.
Gentlemen, your pants can make-or-break that sexy James Bond look you’re going for on your wedding day, so listen up for a second and allow me to help because it’s really not that complicated. For starters, your legs take up about half of your overall height and visual appearance, so your pants are on display more than you might realize. From the waist-down, that’s a lot of fabric to deal with and it’s important that your pants fit well.
These are the three main things you should pay attention to with regard to your pants: Rise, Inseam & Break and Taper.
This is essentially the distance between your belt and your crotch. The longer the rise, the baggier your pants look and the shorter your legs look. This can also make you look shorter overall because there’s no real distinction of how long your legs are. Low rise or mid-rise trousers are preferred because the crotch of the pants hits where it should, at your crotch, not half way down your thigh. As you can see in this first photo, the rise is way too long which makes his legs look shorter. The pants also look baggy and they lack any real shape whatsoever. Now compare that to the bottom picture. His legs look longer, leaner and the rise is right where it should be.
Inseam & Break
The inseam is how long the pant legs are (no-brainer). The longer the inseam, the more break you’ll have at your shoes. Break is amount of folding the pants have at your shoes when you’re standing. The more break you have, the more sloppy and short you look. If you have a full break or more, it looks like you’re wearing someone else’s pants, not your own. Consider the rules for suiting different than the rules for your casual jeans. My advice is to have either a half break, or no break at all. Yes, your socks will show and if you’re not used to it you may feel like you’re wearing high-waters, but trust me, if you pay attention, you and your groomsmen will all look like bosses.
Take these next two pictures for example, the pant fit overall is good, but they’re too long and they’re puddling at the shoes. There’s absolutely no reason for all the extra fabric, so avoid this by going with no break, or at most a half break. The last photo – perfect inseam.
Taper is the overall fit and tailoring of your trousers. Avoid the one-size-fits-all straight fit. Let me ask you a question: Are your calves smaller than your thighs? If you answered yes, your suit pants should taper from about your knee down to your foot. This slims you out and makes you look longer, taller, leaner and meaner. This next example shows a nice taper and overall shape of the pants. In contrast, you’ll notice zero taper or shape in the bottom photo and as a result, the suits look big, baggy and zero sexy.
Are you buying or renting? If you’re buying a suit for your wedding, be super picky about the fit. Don’t always listen to the sales person. If it looks or feels baggy and long, say something and try on a smaller size. Get used to the feeling of your suit actually touching your body. A lot of things can be taken care of during the tailoring process but you need to be somewhat educated about what you want. If you’re renting, things become a little more difficult. Most rental places need to stock suits that fit the vast majority of guys, so the suits they have are cut baggy and long. However, places like The Black Tux are offering more modern streamlined and tailored suits to choose from. You can also test drive the suit well in advance of your big day so if it’s not perfect, they can send you a new one. Check them out for more details.
Suiting isn’t that complicated. You just have to WANT to pay attention to it and be somewhat educated. The bonus is, you’ll have amazing photos of yourself looking dapper, and if your soon-to-be bride isn’t used to seeing you wearing a suit, she’ll be absolutely blown away when she sees you.
Trying renting from one of our favorite places! The Black Tux
Want more style advice? John at 40 Over Fashion has created a FREE Style e-book! It is PACKED with tons of great advice for guys who want to feel better by dressing better.