Pants are dumb. I have thoughts on pants.
My body type can be best described as ‘husky,’ to use the early ‘90s parlance. While I wish clothing manafaturers would cut pants that fit me, I totally understand that my proportions are not… average.
Here’s the problem:
- If I get the right waist measurement, the inseam and rise are too long.
- If I get the correct inseam and rise, I can maybe fit my left quad into the waist.
This has been my reality to date.
A couple years ago, the Gap started making a 34 in. waist pant that fits me less terribly than any other non-custom pant. The inseam is a bit long at 30 in. and the rise provides a look best described as “saggy britches.” However, I’ll take what I can get and ameliorate the situation using a sturdy belt and rolled cuffs. 1
Over the last month, I decided something had to change. In pondering what could be done, I remembered a podcast from late last year. It was an episode of freakanomics called, “How Did the Belt Win?“
The main thread (see what I did there) was that belts and suspenders have gone back in forth as the dominant leader in the “plumber’s crack avoidence” market.There is talk of fashion trends, wedgie avoidal, monarchical mandate, sword belts, modern social norms and even concerns of cutting into the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve like a tourniquet.
With this in mind, I decided to give suspenders a go, social norms be damned. I picked a relatively cheap pair for the experiment, and waited for the two days shipping (#firstnerdproblems)
Once they arrived, I quickly tried them on. Lo and behold: They looked ridiculous.
The suspenders accentuated my dad gut and placed the waistline of the pants roughly two inches higher than normal.
After taking a deep breath, I realized that the higher waistline actually provided the pant fit I was looking for. The hem of my pants fell where I wanted and the “saggy britches” morphed into “there might be an ass in there.” The suspenders actually made these untailored, readily available pants fit.
Ok, but what to do about the whole upper half of my wardrobe making me look like an over-fed mountain dwarf?
The solution unvailed an unintended benefit of the suspender experiment. It was decided I was to wear a decent sweater or button down shirt to cover the suspenders. Now I had a decent top and pants that fit! If only my mother could see me now! 2
I’ve always rejected the notion that dressing well impacts your mood. But I must say that standing there in my apartment, giving myself a once over, I felt much more… well… adult. There is plenty of psychological study around the impact of dressing well, so I shouldn’t have been surprised.
If you’re tired of fixing oddly fitting pants with an uncomfortable belt, consider trying suspenders. At the very least, remember that dressing well can actually improve your first impressions and social norms don’t always have your best interest in mind.