Trouser details: Ways to customise your trouser style

25 July 2016

Trouser details: Ways to customise your trouser style

The French word for ‘suit’ is costume; what we would usually refer to as theatrical or fancy dress. The idea of stepping into a costume to play a role helps us understand the importance a suit plays. While psychological, a suit helps us to perform in our jobs, to assert a level of power and to receive respect from our colleagues, superiors and clients. Like doctors who wear a certain uniform to convey authority, a suit demonstrates we’re in a position of expertise.

While trousers have a simpler function and construction than a jacket, a lot of thought goes into keeping your lower half covered. Certain comfort is achieved through the trousers’ design and construction. They must withstand the wearer’s movement including standing up and sitting down, crouching and endless promenading. Precision cutting the garment allows enough give in the seat of the trousers and fits the right way around the crotch, which most men will agree is essential.

Pleating is one such tailoring trick that allows for extra fabric through the front of the trousers, giving more movement and comfort, and a classic tailored look. For gentleman with a wider frame, the pleats serve to break up the expanse visually and can slim the frame with the eye. Twenty years ago pleats were the standard until the flat-front trouser dominated. That’s not to say pleats don’t have their place, it comes down to personal taste.

Likewise pockets, though tradition does have a say. Straight pockets aligned with the seam are considered far more casual than the slanted alternative, largely because there is less involved in a straight pocket’s construction. That said, if the wearer is accustomed to straight pockets then it's their prerogative and the beauty of made-to-measure, though we do recommend slanted pockets for formal affairs. Other areas serve a less functional, but more decorative function, such as trouser cuffs. These are fashionable additions and their popularity wavers according to trend. Men who are shorter tend to avoid cuffed trousers as it can cut the leg line in half and make them appear shorter than they are.

One of the final flourishes is the choice between belt-loops or suspender buttons. Some might never deign to wear braces—they’re not for everyone; though if there are belt loops on your trousers, it’s a faux-pas to wear anything but a belt. Food for thought when building your ultimate made-to-measure suit.