P is for Pants


Pants – that’s trousers for you UK folk (not underpants!), are a staple in most wardrobes. They are, the hardest garment for most women to fit. Really, I find that I can spend hours trying to help a client find a pair that fits well. The most common fit issues are around the depth and shape of the rise (the rise is that seam that runs from the front to the back between your legs).

Fit of Trousers
  • Commonly the rise is too long (you get that dropped crotch look)
  • There isn’t enough fabric around the bottom and you get pulling across the crotch area
  • There is too much fabric and you get saggy bum
  • The rise seam cuts into you creating camel toe – too little fabric

Ideally you are after a trouser that sits flat when standing squarely on both feet, with no extra fabric and just enough fabric through the crotch area.

Other areas for fit:

  • If you have a small waist, you will need to have the waistband of most trousers taken in.
  • Ensure the trousers are a flattering length.  Have them hemmed for the shoes you plan to wear with them. Sometimes you may need a pair of trousers for flat shoes and a different pair for heels.
  •  If you have slim legs you may need to have the pants taken in at the thighs.
  • If you are an X, A or 8 shape you will probably need a higher rise trouser, otherwise when you sit down they will pull down too low.
  • If you are an H, I or V shape you are probably best with a mid-rise trouser.
  • If you can see the pocket through the legs of the trousers, have the pocket sewn close and cut it out


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  • I am a slim 8 with balanced mid-body but long rise. I have what is known as a skirt-body. I have taken to wearing skirts and dresses a lot this past year. No trousers I have ever owned ever looked as good on me as a skirt. Maybe I should get one professionally fitted, made to suit my figure.

  • Yes, it has taken me hours to find pairs that fit, too, and then often they’d get discontinued before I came back for more 🙁 Leggings + skirts are certainly a great option that I am using it more and more, but pants are still comfortable and necessary …

  • Good to know! I didn’t know others also found pant shopping to take hours. Plus, now I know why I often get those creases around the crotch. I’ll use these fit guidelines to refocus my searches for pants with higher rises and more seat room. I’m happy that mid-rises, and hopefully more high rises, are returning to stores instead of low rises alone dominating (at least seemingly near me). As with most things in life, it’s much nicer to have options.
    For other 8-shaped women, I’ve found Banana Republic’s “Jackson fit” pants to fit better than most pants. (Fortunately, the Jackson are still currently available. I agree with O’s comment that it seems once you find a pair that works for you & doesn’t stretch out/shrink too much, by the time you go back for another, they’re discontinued.) If others have recommendations for higher rise pant companies, would you please share in the comments?

  • I am a slim X-shape and have trouble with pants as well. I’ve been wearing skirts and dresses much more lately, thanks to your advice. I feel as though I need at least an 8-1/2 in rise. Theory pants have worked well, but are expensive, so I usually try to get them on sale. Halogen dress pants also seem to offer plenty of room in the rear. As far as jeans go, I’ve stuck with a bootcut style for several years now. I don’t have skinny jeans because I don’t really like how they look on my figure – I become all “hips”. I recently got some Jag straight leg jeans (14 inch leg opening) and they are as close to a skinny jean as I’d come. The wider leg opening balances out my hips and they have a 9-inch rise. I am happy with them.

  • Great advice, I also struggle with fit. I am a Figure 8 shape with a short waist.

    I have found the Wrangler Mid Twiggy a great skinny jean on my shape but have really found it hard to get good trousers that don’t sag in the bottom, give me unflattering lumps on the tummy that are a nice fit on the leg.

    Skirts and dresses are mostly great!

  • I prefer high rise (or sometimes mid rise) as I need to pull my trousers up over my rounded stomach – the joys of being over 60! I have an additional problem in being 5’1″ tall, so I need to check out petite ranges. I spent hours traipsing around London with my daughter in March and failed to find trousers that fit me properly! I came to the conclusion that I must be a UK size 13, as size 12 tended to be a fraction tight but size 14 was waaaay too baggy! I’ve had some success with Lands End (particularly for linen trousers) and M&S (Marks and Spencer to anyone who isn’t from the UK!)

  • I’ve been there too. There’s always something wrong with the trousers/pants I bought. I am an X shape with a bit broader shoulders and I always go for regular or high waist, so at least I am not showing off my bum when sitting. Another thing I do expect when paying a regular price is the right pockets. No surprise I am finding skirts and dresses more flattering. Wish for a post with dresses suitable for moms that have to run after their toddlers! Btw another great post! I wish I could have a bit more time to read them all but quicker!

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