Some people try to improve their lives in really admirable ways - such as with every New Years, they make resolutions to lose weight, quit smoking, or save money. One of my resolutions this year is to build a new pants wardrobe. It’s admittedly silly and trivial, but on the upside, since it requires no sacrifice or discipline on my part, I’m likely to actually meet it.
The problem with off-the-rack pants, I find, is that even with a good cut, it can be hard to get the back to fit well. That’s because so much depends on how you stand. If you stand with your hips forward and knees locked – like an auditioning porn star, as my friend David put it – then your pants will crumple under the seat and ripple through the back of the leg. It’s a minor thing, but once you get obsessive about how clothes fit, it’s hard to not let these things bother you.
So earlier this year, I resolved to replace all my trousers through my tailor, and in doing so, I’ve had to think about what pants might be necessary in a good, basic wardrobe. Not to say this is what everyone needs, of course. Only me. But perhaps if you wear sport coats often, you’ll find some of these suggestions useful.
If you spend time worrying about how your clothes fit, you end up learning things about how your body and posture differs from the typical person that you didn’t know before. For me, one of these things is that I stand with my hips slightly forward. Like an auditioning male porn star.
What this means is that RTW pants will usually have a back balance that’s too long. That fabric will bunch up somewhere. You can see this in the picture on the left in the second panel. These are actually quite well fitting for RTW pants, but you can see the fabric bunching up under the seat, ruining the clean line of the trousers.
Unfortunately the only real answer to this problem, once you have discovered it and are unable to banish it from your perception, is to get custom made trousers. I had these made by Will Field of Field English Custom Tailors in Georgetown (see my earlier interview with Mr. Field here)*.
I wanted trousers to be worn at night with my velvet evening jacket, as in the top picture (relevant SF thread here). Mr. Field had a nice length of black barathea that seemed up to the task. I also added some details borrowed but modified from tuxedo trousers, like the braid running down the side. Mr. Field improvised some details of his own, like the beautiful paisley lining of the waistband, that only a select few will ever know about. Plus everyone who reads this on the Internet. Let’s move on.
You can see the difference in the picture on the right on the second panel. All that bunching up under the seat on the RTW pants? Gone. Just a nice clean line on both sides of the trousers. The braces help in this regard, but the biggest difference is that the trousers are cut properly.
*Other than the pleasure of his company over the time I have known him, I have received no special treatment or compensation from Mr. Field to write this. Any and all mentions of products or brands on my Tumblr are purely of my own volition and unpaid.