Style Checklist: What to Look for When Buying Pants (B)

Pants are a very important part of any man’s closet. Finding the right pair of pants might be tricky, but once you grab that pair of pants that fits and looks just right, can make sure it will be worth it!

Whether we’re talking about khakis, chinos, dress pants or jeans, there are a few rules any pair of pants should conform to. Whenever you put on a pair of pants, there are a few factors you need to consider that tell you whether they will look good or not. Here are a few guidelines you can follow when you go shopping or dress up; and a list of the elements you should always have in check. Some rules apply only to dress pants, others to casual pants but we wanted to mix them up, as today pants come in all sort of combinations and designs. Before we begin, we need to point out a rule of thumb: never stuff your pockets, that really changes the way a pair of pants looks!




Generally, a well-fitting pair of pants should go from your waistline down to the top of your shoes. It is recommended that your pants cover a small part of your shoes, key word here being “small”. Sometimes men wear such long pants that they simply make the shoes invisible. Also, pulling your pants up and tying them firmly with a belt is no solution either.

You can show some skin, but it has to be done from the cut of the pants!


We know that some guys and especially teens have trouble finding pants that fit right both on the waist and in terms of length. To solve this issue, you can simply buy longer pants and have them tailored to the size you want to have. Continue reading, as we will also talk about cuffs and folds, so make sure that you incorporate those elements as well when you establish if a pair is right or not.




The waist is a very important part of any pair of pants. But before we go to the pants’ waistline, we need to talk about yours. Measuring your waistline is very important, as the number describing your waist is your pants number.


Whichever style they are, your pants should fall at your natural waistline


Secondly, make sure that when you put on any pair of pants, their waistline falls right on your natural waist. Not higher and not lower. You should be able to put two fingers in your pants and still be comfortable. If the pants you try on meet all these criteria, you can go to the next step, if not, go to the next one!




Once you established what the right size and length of your pants is, you need to consider how many times your pants you want your pants to fold. Just before your pants meet your shoe, they generally tend to fold one or twice. Even though in the past it was more acceptable for pants to fold twice, now we know better and see that the best way to go is to have either one fold or no fold. This depends on your choice. Also, some men prefer to show their socks or ankles. This is not something bad, but you should do it right: if you want to show off your ankle, you can either roll your pants up or wear pants that are constructed like that. Never cut them or wear a smaller size, it will be telling and it doesn’t look good!



There is an ongoing debate about pleats and their role in the structure of pants. They seem to go in and out of fashion and in the end, the choice is yours to make. There are a few differences between pleated and flat-front pants, which we are going to discuss next.


Pants with pleats (left) and pants with no pleats (right)


Pleated dress pants have a rather classic look. Pleats add detail to the trousers and they are best suited to flatter men with larger bodies. They can also be a good option for men who have a bigger upper body to wear, as they will balance it out, making you appear more proportionate.

Some pants have one pleat, others have two or more: there is no exact rule on what looks optimal, the best thing you can do is try on several pairs and discover which one looks best on your body type.

On the other hand, flat-front pants are modern and make a great choice if you are going for a business casual look. A pair of flat-front trousers looks slimmer and more tailored. This option is best for men who are slim or of average size.




There are three major types of cuts when it comes to pants: slim-cut, regular-cut and loose-cut. Of course, any man should be able to wear regular-cut pants (this has nothing to do with size). Wearing a different cut is useful when you want to emphasize or to camouflage a certain aspect of your body.

Slim-cut pants will generally fir very close to the body and have the tendency to make you appear thinner. However, if you want to wear slim-cut pants, make sure you are not wearing pants that are a few sizes too small. They should still fit right in all areas, the only difference being that they have a slightly different cut than regular pants.

Regular-cut pants are probably the best choice you can make: regardless of your size, they will frame your body well and we know that the things that fit just right are the ones that look best on you.

Loose-cut pants are more roomy and appear to be wider. They are not baggy pants but rather “wide-leg” pants and they simply have more flow to them. These pants are right for men who wish to have a rather retro look or for bigger guys who feel that they could use some extra room (especially when sitting, etc.).




Dress pants, but sometimes casual pants as well, have small bands around the ankles. These are called “cuffs”. According to most stylists, they are a great element that makes the pants look better. Cuffs add a little extra weight to the piece, helping them stand straight at the bottom. A cuff should touch the back of a man’s shoe and end just on top of the front of the shoe. You can check for a pointed beak where the fold of the trouser sits on the shoe, which is an indicator of good fit.

Cuffs (or their absence) are great visual elements; they contribute to shaping a man’s overall look. For example, they make your legs appear a little shorter, therefore making your face and chest stand out more! If you don’t want your legs to appear shorter, you can always opt for a pair of pants that has no cuffs. Pants that have no cuffs are considered casual.


Pants with no cuffs (left) and pants with cuffs (right)


You will generally find cuffs on pleated pants, as the two combined will create an overall balanced look. Plain-front pants are a lot of time cufless. Of course, you can find a pair of pants that is in between, but then you will be drawing a lot of attention to your pants, so unless you want to do that, you should stick to the rules; the mantra being: pleated pants have cuffs, unpleated trousers have no cuffs.

As a note, remember that while cuffs make a pair of pants more formal, if you are wearing a tuxedo or any kind of black tie attire, the pants should never have cuffs.

Moreover, if you really want to pay attention to details, you should know that cuffs come in different sizes. Therefore, tall men look better if their cuffs are wider (1.75 inch / 4,5 cm) while shorter men look better in pants with smaller cuffs (1.6 inch / 4,1 cm).




The crotch of your pants should be where your anatomical crotch is. There is no debate about that, no reason why it should be elsewhere. There is no point in wearing pants that are too loose, and there is no point in strangling yourself by wearing pants that are too tight.

If you want to be comfortable, you should wear a pair that fits, not a pair that is too big and if you want to showcase your crotch, you should also wear a pair that fits and a pair of well-cut underwear.




The color of your pants is also an important factor you should look out for when choosing a pair of pants. You should be able to coordinate the color of the pants with the rest of your outfit. There is no point in buying a pair of pants if you don’t have anything to wear them with.




Color coordination can be tricky, but if you take the time to see what goes well together, you can get fantastic results.


Pants can be the central piece of an outfit if they have a print for example.


Remember that some colors are neutrals. This means that they go with any color or texture. These are: white, black, gray, khaki, beige, dark blue, ivory, etc. Jeans are also neutral and can be matched to anything. If you for a neutral pair of pants, make sure that your other clothes have bolder colors, as wearing only neutrals will make you look bland.




Depending on the style and purpose of a pair of pants, there are many fabrics to choose from. However, we only have one quick tip that you should check: always make sure that the fabric from which your pants are made is natural. Natural fabrics such as cotton, wool, can breathe, are comfortable, more durable and look great! Synthetic fibers, even though they cost less can cause itching and even rashes, they don’t fall on you as well and never look right.


Whichever type of pants you want to purchase, you should always know that these guidelines are flexible and that the main aspect you should be looking for is comfort. Of course, comfort looks good. A pair of pants that doesn’t feel comfortable is not the pair for you! Make sure that the style and color reflect your personality and that you feel great in your pair of pants.



Fraquoh and Franchomme






Further reading:

The guide to shorts

The professional way to choose the colors of your clothes

Coordinating the colors of your clothes

P.S. What type of pants do you like to wear? Do you prefer colorful pants or pants that come in neutral colors? Share your comments, questions or feedback in the comments space and don’t forget that you can follow us via e-mail or on our social media!


14 thoughts on “Style Checklist: What to Look for When Buying Pants (B)

    • We’re glad you added it to your checklist, now you should be able to buy the right pants, even if you do it online!

Your Comment and Input