Buying pants for him is decidedly different than shopping for yourself. Whether you’re shopping for men’s jeans, trousers, corduroys or dress pants, you should know that there’s a fine art to selecting the perfect pair that’s both stylish and comfortable. To simplify the process, you need to approach this task with authority. Here’s how to find a great pair of pants for the man in your life.
Men all have a body “type”—that is, a particular build that looks best in a certain pair of men’s chinos or khakis, for example. You might think that you know his shape, but pants-buying time is the perfect occasion to figure it out, once and for all. A man’s regular build is fully proportional from top to bottom. Characteristically defined by average size shoulders, a slim midsection and slender legs, a regular body type looks phenomenal in pants that are well fitted from top to bottom but don’t hug the frame too tightly. Narrow cuts are always appropriate, as are slim fits if you prefer something that is more on-trend for your guy. A straight cut works well, too, so long as it falls in an even line from the waist to the ankle.
Men with a husky build naturally have stronger, thicker legs and a full waist with narrower shoulders. The key here is to select men’s pants that are beautifully designed to flatter his proportions. Opting for anything too wide, however, is a mistake, as this will simply overwhelm his frame. A relaxed fit in his exact size is always flattering, as it negotiates his shape perfectly and won’t hug his body or constrict movement in any way.
Those with slender builds are naturally lean from top to toe, with shoulders and waists of equal proportion and slim arms and legs. It may be tricky to find the right pair of pants for men of this shape, as they sometimes run the risk of being a touch too big and can overwhelm his body. Make sure to avoid anything that’s oversized or baggy. In general, it’s best to opt for pants that are designed specifically for the slim body—which means straight or slender cuts designed to suit the frame.
Comfort, slim, traditional—what’s the overall difference between each style? It’s helpful to understand how various options complement each body type. To begin, recognize that not every style is going to appeal to every guy. Those who prefer a trendy look will undoubtedly gravitate toward a pair of slim-fit pants, which is snugger through the hips and thighs and generally features a low rise with narrow legs.
A classic or traditional cut style is defined by a full fit through the hips and thighs with a waistband that is situated at the waistline. As the name suggests, this style is even from thigh to ankle for a more simple look that goes well with everything from a dress shirt to a basic men’s sweater. By contrast, a comfort pant is designed with many of the hallmarks of cozy loungewear. These styles feature flexible fabric that moves with you, along with concealed elastic panels at the waist that make them even easier to wear.
Getting his measurements before you embark on your hunt for a great pair of pants is key to finding the perfect fit. You’ll need a soft tape measure to accomplish this. First, wrap the measure around his waist so that it’s touching the navel. It should be even and smooth as it wraps around the body, but not hugging the body tightly. Note this measurement, then focus on the inseam. You can accomplish this easily by measuring a pair of pants that he wears regularly. Just fold them in half and place them on a flat surface so that they’re nice and smooth. Position the tape measure at the base of the crotch seam and bring it to the bottom of the pant hem. Remember to factor in his shoes, too. It’s generally best that the pants’ bottoms graze the top of the shoe, but some guys might prefer a longer or shorter hem. These measurements aren’t quite necessary if you’re shopping for pajama bottoms or men’s activewear pants.
Once you’ve locked-down fit, you can focus on the best style of pants for his needs. Think about where he spends most of his time. If he’s often in meetings at the office, then smart dress pants to pair with an immaculate dress shirt are essential. If he leads a more low-key lifestyle, or if he’s a student who just needs something for the occasional dressy moment, a pair of tailored trousers will work beautifully. Of course, you can never go wrong with some comfortable activewear when he’s off the clock and settled into a relaxed state of mind. No matter your choice, always consider his comfort above all else!