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Men's Trousers: Getting the Right Fit

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 1 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Men’s Men Male Trouser Trousers Fit

If you’re keen to buy a pair of trousers that fit perfectly, look good and feel great to wear, here are some useful tips.

There was a time when buying a pair of trousers meant going to a tailor and having them made. Although these times have now past, in the majority of cases, and shops are full of a variety of trousers, easy access to a vast choice doesn’t always mean it’s easy to find something that fits. The age old idea of being measured to get the right fit was sensible in a number of ways, not least because taking a man’s own individual measurements meant the end product should offer a great fit.

Where women’s clothes use a range of supposedly set sizes, such as 12, 14 and 16, but where actual measurements can vary a lot between different manufacturers, men’s trousers at least have a much more sensible approach. Rather than using an assigned number sequence to designate the size (like 12, 14, 16 etc) they use the actual waist and length measurements. This means the size can’t deviate too much from what it’s supposed to be, so you’ve got a better chance of getting a good fit.

Men’s formal trouser waist measurements usually include:

  • 30”
  • 32”
  • 34”
  • 36”
  • 38”
  • 40”
  • 42”
  • 44”
  • 46”
And the lengths on offer include:
  • 29”
  • 30”
  • 31”
  • 32”
  • 33”
  • 34”
  • 35”
Sometimes more casual trousers may use other fits, such as small, medium, large, x-large, XX-large and onwards, but again they usually have several leg length measurements to choose from. Where trousers are labelled as small, medium, large etc, you may need to make extra checks to find out exactly what waist measurements these equate to.

In some cases, the details will be available on either the product label or label inside the trousers. In other instances, you may need to check with a sales assistant or on the website of the shop in question, where you should be able to download information regarding the sizing guides of clothing.

Trousers also come in various different styles and cuts, which plays another part in influencing the fit, although perhaps not as much as with women’s trousers. Some of the common types of men’s trousers you’ll see in shops include jeans, chinos, cargo, formal and casual. There are also different options such as with or without pleats or turn-ups.

Finding Your Measurements

When you’re getting the right fit with trousers, it’s essential you know your exact measurements to start with, otherwise you’ve got nothing to base your clothing choice on. Even if you always knew you were a size 32” waist 10 years ago, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will be now, so it’s always worth getting measured regularly to spot any changes.

You can either measure yourself or be measured, for example in any good men’s clothing store or suit department. To obtain your waist measurement, put a tape measure around your waist – at your natural waistline – and take the measurement. It’s best to opt for inches, as this is generally the standard way of labelling trouser sizes, but you can always convert it at a later stage if you only have a tape measure in centimetres.

The length of trousers you require is dependent on your inside leg measurement. To find this out, measure from the crotch to just below your ankle, or where your trousers normally fall (or where you’d like them to fall) just above your shoes.

Once you’ve obtained these two measurements, make a note of them…then you’re ready to hit the shops and start looking for trousers in your size! Don’t forget to try them on before you buy, as this will save time and hassle if, for any reason, the style of fit isn’t quite right.

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[Add a Comment]
Where can I get trousers 38" waist with a thigh measurement of 29" in Navy blue that do not cost a fortune??? I am desperately trying to find school trousers for my grandson who is built like a rugby player!!!!
Lizzie - 7-Sep-12 @ 1:14 PM
What size chinos should I get if my waist size is 30 and and length is 34 pelase help me need assistants.
Help!!!! - 15-Jul-12 @ 7:35 PM
Great, but what if you have a size 31 inch waist? There's a big difference between 30 inch and 32 inch trousers. The one will be too tight to do up, and the other will need a belt. This is something new and strange in the UK. A few years back it was easy to get a size 31.
Inbetween - 8-Jun-12 @ 6:54 PM
There are two more important measurements in trousers for me which seem to be nearly always overlooked and make probably 99.99 percent of all trousers ive seen no use at all. They are from the crotch to the waistband ( I don't know what this measurement is called) and the depth of pockets are important in not losing your cash etc.
chris11556 - 19-Feb-12 @ 6:46 PM
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