Low vs. High Waisted Pants

Should you wear high-waisted pants? That is the question.

When it comes to men’s clothing, most gents seldom take the rise on a pair of pants into consideration when buying them. The first few things that they probably pay attention to, is the waist and the length, right? Don’t worry, this was me before I learnt about the finer details of classic menswear too.

This is because most of us are too used to wearing pants (most commonly denim jeans) at our hip bones because of comfort, and we simply do not have an idea where our pants are supposed to sit on our body. Perhaps we think that low-rise pants are the norm because big name retailers are still selling them today ever since they became popular in the 1990s.

In this editorial article, let’s discuss what is pants rise, why it is one of the most important aspects of fit, and why you probably want to start wearing high-waisted pants from now on.

 

What is Pants Rise?

Pants rise refers to the measurement from the front of the pants waistband, down and under the crotch area, to the back of the waistband. Traditionally, men’s pants are meant to be worn at the natural waist, which is usually near the navel (belly button). If you Google “1930s menswear”, you will find many images and even fashion illustrations of men wearing high-waisted pants.

So, why is pants rise important? Well, this is because it determines where your pants sit on your body, which then creates your perceived waistline. Take a look at the images below of our Co-Founder, Ken, in a pair of high-waisted pants.

Pants Fabric from "Holland & Sherry - Crispaire" in Hazel

Notice that with a high-rise pants, it can be used to the wearer’s advantage as they give the impression of longer legs. It is not surprising that this is a classic menswear look because it makes the wearer’s body look more proportional.

 

Do Body Types & Sizes Play a Part?

Unless you are short-waisted, low-rise pants are probably inappropriate for you and not your best option. This is because the rise of your pants determines your perceived torso-to-legs ratio. Choosing the wrong type of rise will make you look disproportional; often times unusually top heavy.

Here at Assemble, our experience is that most of our clients greatly benefit from wearing a pair of pants with a higher rise. As most Asians have a smaller build, we greatly benefit from wearing high-waisted pants as it gives us that perfect golden ratio.

If you remember drawing classes back in school, you may recall seeing this diagram where we use 1 head as a reference for the proportions for the rest of the body.

Ideally, the torso is about 2 heads and the legs is about 5 heads. It is all about balance. If you have a long torso, high-rise pants will be able to counterbalance that and make you look more proportional.

Even if you have a dad bod or carrying more weight in your midsection, you can definitely still wear high-waisted pants. They will work for you as it hides your tummy and give you a more streamlined silhouette, compared to the otherwise not very favorable “muffin top”. Take a look at the image below.

You can definitely still rock high-waisted pants if you have Thor’s body from Avenger’s: Endgame. As the waistband will be much wider, suspenders will be a much better option to keep the pants up all day as compared to belts which will most likely slide down over the course of a day. In our opinion, suspenders work really well for bigger gentlemen and it has a really nice vintage look.

 

Consider the Aesthetics

There are a couple of other reasons as to why we are leaning towards high-waisted pants and why you should wear them. As a suit is supposed to give you a clean silhouette from head to toe, low-rise pants takes that away by making your shirt and/or tie become visible below the buttoning point of your jacket. Take a look at the image below for a comparison between a low-rise pants and high-rise pants under a jacket.

Left: High-rise Pants, Right, Low-rise Pants

Of course, some clients still have a preferred fit of low-rise pants. It may be for comfort reasons or just purely out of habit. To each their own, right? But still, it is important to note that if your suit jacket causes a small triangle of shirt showing below the buttoning point of the jacket like the one on the right, you will be drawing unnecessary attention down to your crotch; which is not ideal.

However, if you are matching low-rise pants with a sports jacket like in the image above; you can still look decent as the jacket would be unbuttoned most of the time.

Here are some images of our clients who opted for high-waisted pants for their suits.

Notice how their jacket flows seamlessly down to the pants. This is because their pants have a higher rise. As most single-breasted jackets these days are cut with open quarters, it is important to opt for high-waisted pants to achieve that clean silhouette. If you are opting for a double-breasted jacket, the pants rise may not be that big of an issue because your jacket will be buttoned up most of the time.

Also, with high-waisted pants, if your tie is too long, you can just tuck it into the waistband as it will not be seen. Of course, the right way is to opt for a shorter tie length, but we don’t have to let what you already own go to waste.

 

Conclusion

With that said, most low-rise pants in your wardrobe can still be worn casually with T-shirts, polo shirts, henley shirts, or even a button shirt with the appropriate length to be worn untucked.

If your job requires you to dress a little more formal, consider opting for pants with a higher rise as they really play a big part in terms of the fit, their appearance, and how you feel in them as well. Initially, high-waisted pants may take a little bit of getting used to if you are used to wearing low-rise pants. However, we think that it is really a look that will really grow on you.

If you have any other questions, feel free to his us up at +65 8742 6863 and we would be happy to assist you. You can also book an appointment by clicking here. Be sure to follow us on Instagram at @assemblesg and like us on Facebook!

Written by YINGHAO TAN

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