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Style Guide: How should suit pants fit?

Style Guide: How should suit pants fit?

By Clare Sheng

A good pair of suit pants won’t gather dust in the back of the wardrobe. They are a go-to staple that you can dress up and dress down. So what constitutes a good fit?

Just like suit jackets and business shirts , the number one rule of buying pants is fitting the widest part of your body first. For example, if you have a wide waist, you want to make sure you have enough room here, and then consider having the legs altered accordingly.

The same rule of thumb applies if you need more room in the seat of your trousers rather than the waist. It’s important to remember that the seat can’t be let out, because there is not enough fabric left in the seams. So with this in mind, always ensure this area isn’t too tight.

Here are the things to look for, so you can shop for your body type and save on alterations costs. And a final word before we dive in – always make sure you sit down and bend over when trying on a new pair of trousers at the shops. Even if they fit well when you’re standing up, that doesn’t mean you’ll be comfortable when sitting (and there’s nothing worse than knowing your best pants aren’t comfortable to sit in if you’re headed to a wedding with a long bill of speeches or a full-day conference).


Aside from taking a pair of pants up, the waist is the easiest alteration to make. Usually the waist can be taken in or let out by up to five centimetres.

If you need more room in the seat or the legs, then remember the waist can be taken in if your pants fit well elsewhere but are a bit loose around the waist. If, however, your waist is the widest part of your body, make sure you find pants that fit you in this area.

The other consideration to make is whether you prefer low- or high-waisted trousers. We recommend that you sit down and bend over when trying on your trousers to ensure the waist won’t get pulled down too low in your day-to-day movements. You don’t want to feel as though you constantly need to pull your trousers up. If you have a large behind, look for high-waisted pants.


If you have very muscular thighs or quads, first of all, well done to you for sticking to a gym schedule. Secondly, it’s important to note that you will more than likely need to have your suit pants altered so they fit you properly.

Buy a pair of trousers that fits around the thighs and sits well around the seat. You want to be able to sit down and bend comfortably without the dreaded feeling that your pants will rip at any moment. When the thighs and the seat fit well, the waist can easily be altered to fit and the rest of the legs can be tapered, if necessary.


The crotch and buttocks area is called the seat of the pants, and the shape of the seat is something to be mindful of. This is because the length of the crotch can only be shortened or lengthened slightly, but the shape often cannot be recut. Therefore, it is imperative to check that the seat of the trousers sits well against your body.

If the pants wrinkle around the middle of the thighs, this could mean that the seat is too short. If the crotch sags, it is too long.

Again, remember that the seat can only be altered slightly, so try to buy trousers that are cut to suit your seat shape. Other areas of the pants like the tapering of the legs and the waist are far simpler and cheaper for you to have altered.


Getting trousers taken up is a relatively simple process, but an important consideration, as trousers pooling at the ankles will bring your look undone.

The ideal length for suit pants is sitting above the heel of your shoe with a half break (this is the dimple that forms where your trousers sit on top of your shoes). Slim-fit trousers can sit slightly higher than this so they only have a slight break at the front.

For even more on how to choose a perfectly fitting suit, download our free ebook below.

Make your suits last longer… it’s easier than you think

Learn how in ‘How to Care for a Suit Every Day’ – a FREE chapter for you, extracted from our best-seller The Suit Book.

The Fitting Room on Edward

Trusted by men across Brisbane to alter and mend their favourite pieces, we are the largest suit alterations tailor in Queensland. Our services include alterations for off-the-rack suits and styling advice, and we are the official Brisbane tailor for brands including Hugo Boss, Canali and Mitchell Ogilvie.

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