In my experience, one of the trickiest garments to find off-the-peg is the trouser; too long, not long enough; too tight on the thigh, to baggy on the thigh; too high in the waist, too low in the waist; the list of complaints is endless.
In fact, the reason I fell into tailoring in the first place was my quest for the perfect pair of trousers. Indeed, one of the first blocks (the template a tailor uses for drafting patterns) I drafted under my own steam was the trouser block. This template fits me to perfection (and a good incentive for maintaining one’s weight!). Since then, I’ve never looked back.
Whilst I don’t wear trousers as often I used to (the joys of self-employment means any day can be a jeans day and they are more practical for bending, kneeling and stretching during the fittings), they are still my preferred garment option over skirts.
A dress or skirt may add height and/or slimness but nothing beats the practicality of a trouser. Great for keeping warm in winter, cool in summer (wide leg linen being my preference when the heat is on), modest when it’s breezy…need I go on?
So, back to my perfect trousers
What style would I go for? Flat front v pleated; straight leg v wide leg. Of course the choice pretty much depends on your body shape and when/how you’ll wear your trousers. For example, I prefer a straight leg trouser as I walk everywhere and need to wear flats in order to do so – so the straight leg, ankle grazer means I can walk to my destination in flats and change into heels upon arrival. Likewise the flat front trouser, is always my go to style; they are far more slimming than their pleated sister, which adds an illusion of width. I also find the flatter the front, the slimmer the leg, the taller the illusion (being very short I help anywhere I can find it).
… and what about turn-ups? Well they look fantastic, on everyone else! My legs are too short for turn-ups, or at least that’s how I feel.
So we have a style, what about the details? I like trousers with a bit of a detail – pockets are a great way of adding detail and interest. However, functioning pockets aren’t always flattering for example side hip pockets can give the illusion of saddlebags, which flatters no woman. However, a mock pocket at the front hip, breaks up a flat fronted trouser. Ask yourself – would you use a functioning side pocket? Probably not (saddlebags need I say more?) so why not just have a pocket for style and detail rather than use?
To waistband or not to waistband – the final question. Again, it’s all down to preference, I prefer a waistband if I’m wearing a shirt or blouse.
However, there are times when a no-waistband trouser is the best option. I find it the most flattering style if you’re going to wear a sweater, or perhaps a lose fitting blouse or semi-fitted shirt. The no-waistband trouser is no good if you’re a tucker-iner. It just doesn’t look right – too much area from the crotch to the waistband to be flattering. I wear mine with a skinny rib polo (winter) and vest (summer).
I’m not fussed about belt loops, especially as all my trousers fit to perfection around the waist – there isn’t much need for them. However, if I’m having a loop, then I’m going to use it. My biggest bug with off-the-peg trousers and jeans is the lack of belt loops at the back – I prefer three loops placed in the small of my back (from the centre back seam and a couple over the bottom area so the belt doesn’t ride up from the waistband). A couple at either side and a couple at the front – again you’re designing your trousers so the number, and depth of the waistband/loops is entirely up to you.
Well that’s my perfect trouser (or three pairs) analysed and designed by thinking practically about my loves, hates and needs.
How does your perfect trouser stand? Low slung, and slouchy to wear with platforms and a bit of attitude, or are you hankering after a sleek cigarette trouser for work? The choice is endless, you just need to decide.
Bespoke trousers available from £250. Email for more details.