Amongst a man’s arsenal of clothing, dress pants are one of the most underrated pieces. People usually dismiss dress pants and pay little attention to them, but as long as you know how to, a well-chosen pair of dress pants is able to not only make you look extremely presentable but also exceptionally flattering (i.e. making your legs look longer).
In today’s article, we have selected 5 simple and easy-to-do hacks that will help you look taller effortlessly!
1) AVOID LOW RISE PANTS
If you don’t know what “low-rise” or what “rise” means, we have the definition and sample image for you below:
How low or high a “rise” is referring to the distance from the top of your waistband, all the way down to the crotch.
(Different types of rise. Image source)
In recent years, “low-rise” jeans have been gaining traction in terms of their popularity, but the main and glaring issue is that they’ve applied these same rules to dress pants as well.
Contrary to popular belief, it just doesn’t work this way. “Low-rise” pants have a tendency to make your legs look shorter than they actually are because the proportion of your legs is shortened. In short, it robs you of your height and makes you look sloppy.
(Low rise dress pants make your legs look shorter. Image source)
A rule of thumb to follow is this: when it comes to dress pants, always wear pants that are higher than what you normally wear for jeans or shorts.
On the other end of the spectrum, make sure to not wear your dress pants too high especially if you have a comparably smaller torso. You want to look smart, not like a clown. For higher waisted dress pants, we suggest speaking with your tailor to get an accurate and proportionate rise.
At Common Suits, we have an ideal ratio that achieves a flattering body – leg proportion.
(An example of high waisted dress pants. Image from Common Suits)
2) WEARING BELTLESS PANTS, OR PANTS WITH A SIDE ADJUSTER
Let’s take a look at the optical game below, which rectangle looks lengthier?
(Belt vs Beltness illustration. Image from Common Suits)
Believe it or not, both rectangles are of the same height, but the rectangle on the right looks slightly lengthier. This is because the rectangle on the left has a brown horizontal line which divides it into half.
Through this example, the rectangle represents our body, and the horizontal line a belt. The lesson is: A belt is unable to make us look taller. Furthermore, without a belt, our legs can be perceived as longer than they actually are.
Thus, a pair of well-fitted dress pants should fit perfectly around your waist without a need for a belt to hold them up. If you are wearing a pair of well-fitted pants with a side adjuster (or beltless pants), you are sending a subtle signal to people that you pay attention to your style as your pants are made-to-measure or bespoke.
3) MONOCHROME SOCKS AND SHOES
With trousers with a slight break, your socks will occasionally be visible while engaging in movements such as walking or crossing your legs.
What you need to ensure in this scenario is that your socks and shoes do not have a huge colour contrast with your dress pants.
In order to optimise this combination, you’d want your socks and dress shoes to have a similar colour which does not contrast with your dress pants in a way that ends up being a colour mismatch. A good example is:
(Dark brown cap toe Oxford makes good ensemble with black dress socks and dark charcoal dress pants. Image from Common Suits.)
Opt for a monochrome colour scheme instead of flashy socks as it helps make your feet and legs transit seamlessly, and as such your legs will be perceived as being longer.
5) TRY STRIPED TROUSERS AND AVOID HORIZONTAL CHECKS
(Pleated stripes trousers. Image from Common Suits.)
A pair of dress pants in striped pattern helps to elongate the vertical leg line visually.
On the other hand, any pattern with horizontal checks will shorten and broaden the visual effect. Do avoid that particular pattern if you want your legs to look taller and slimmer.
Last but not least: an impeccable fit is everything. A pair of baggy or skinny dress pants will not make you look presentable or professional no matter how expensive it costs. A pair of dress pants in a balanced fit will be your top choice.
We’ll share more on how dress pants should optimally fit you in the future.