JBierly

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For those who have paid much attention to men's clothing over the years we can easily cut through the vagaries of fashion trends and easily identify what classic proportions mean and how the dial needs to stay within a certain range. I don't consider myself an expert on the history of men's suiting so this is hardly inclusive but to start let's ponder on a few extremes.
As a perfect example: super long Zoot suits probably are never going to make a come back.
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As less extreme examples, the very wide lapel and super low gorge of the late 70s probably is not coming back anytime soon, nor is hopefully the oversized over shouldered jackets of the mid 80's.
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And leisure suits, hairy chests with gold chains and the collar of the shirt draped outside the jacket probably (and hopefully) are dead forever. Remember this:
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Thank god for the oil crisis and the price of oil in the 70s - otherwise we would have never gotten rid of polyester and rayon.

But there are some fashion trends that are more lasting - indeed even classic men's clothing has a pendulum where things sway a bit and if sticks suddenly a trend can become classic. I suppose the modern tuxedo might be the best example of one fashion trend that became an iconic classic. And other trends do resurrect - sometimes with aplomb. Perhaps the best contemporary example is the thinner lapel more fitted suit that we might associate with the early 60's. The JFK, MLK look that received significant praise as worn by the fictional character Don Draper in Mad Men. Granted, it has been completely bastardized by Thom Browne and we now have the deplorable "skinny suit."
 

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JBierly

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But the underlying premise is not bad. If we don't swing the pendulum too far, if one has the correct body habitus (and that's a big if considering the majority of americans are overweight or obese), then a thinner suit can flatter a man's physique much better than some of the oversized monstrosities that I highlighted above.

So as a disclaimer, what I want to talk about now is not for the 6 foot 2, 250 pound man who is wide and large. Indeed, I just went shopping with one of my business associates who asked me for some help. He is a 50R with a 40 inch waist. I suggested a wider lapel on his jacket and full trousers. I do not think he should be wearing thin legged trousers.

But for a man of slighter build say the 5' 10" man who weighs 150 pounds and has a very lean build just how far should we swing the pendulum and what are the consequences. At least for me, I do reasonably well with thinner trousers although I must say I like them at least wide enough to get over my calves. And I really don't miss the late 80's with relatively wide cuffs and a large break on my trousers.

But perhaps the unintended consequences of a thinner trouser is that you need very little break (or they bunch and hang like the zoot suit picture above) and you even risk the look of the dreaded high water trouser. However, assuming you get the length right then I am deciding that it opens a new window to endulge.

And that is one's sock and shoe game. And I am certainly not advocating cropped trousers that reveal too much sock. More of glance of a colorful sock that might show off when one sits or crosses his legs. And I guess the question is will this be something that endures or will it too become just a fashion trend that is too extreme and fades as the pendulum swings back to normalcy. One thing is that at least for now I will at least indulge in it a bit. Brighter socks and nicer shoes show off a bit better if your trouser isn't covering half your shoe. So although I am not a big fan of overly burnished shoes like the following picture, I can appreciate the thinner leg, the lesser break and the slightly thicker cuff (maybe 2 inches).
View attachment 32401
 

JBierly

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I like the thickness of the cuff on the following trousers:
View attachment 32402
Too much sock here for me:
View attachment 32403

So to get the point of the post. The thinning of men's suits has lead to a need for shorter hems. The shorter hem makes one's shoes more exposed as well as showing a bit of sock even if hemmed correctly (no break or slight break but please not cropped!) This gives men a bit more band with to personalize their wardrobe with their sock and shoe collection. I also tend to favor the resurrection of cuffs perhaps a bit thicker with this look. Will this be an enduring trend or will it fade as quickly as it has arrived?
 

Winhes2

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Interesting points. I hadn't considered the narrower legs requiring shorter legs of fabric.

Having lost 28 lbs while adding muscle, and knowing how a few weeks off can change the shape, it occurs that more form fitted suits run the risk of needing replacement or letting out more often than less fitted suits. A fuller cut allows periods of indolence and fine dining. The budget-conscious may seek to purchase fuller suits.

The point about more bandwith to personalize socks would be right even if following the rule of matching the trousers if subtle accents are in the socks.
 

Peak and Pine

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You put a lot of work into this series and it deserves more than a Like. A consolidation of thoughts like yours, and with picture posts, is always a good read. That it be informative to boot is a plus.

(And now realizing that to boot and plus are redundant, it may take the sting off a wording correction or two I want to offer.)

You mean cuff height, not thickness. There is such a thing as cuff thickness, I employ it, but not relevant here. Hem is being used incorrectly. Hem is the finished edge of any piece of cloth, a leg or a napkin. In your usage, simply length will do. And there ends the nit pick.

Now the not-so-nit pick. You do not mention the guardsman's cuff, aka a slanted hem. A half inch higher in the front, a half lower in the rear; my measure. You can go as high as three-quarters each. Sorta simple to do with a straight hem, not so with cuff. So difficult that the few times I've done this I've severed the cloth below the desired length, made the slanted cuff and sewed it back with a hidden stitch. (I do not recommend this to others or any other clothing eccentricity I may now or in the future dream up.)

Good thread, good opening post(s). Thnx, as the kids write.
 

Searching_Best_Fit

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Speaking of pants *hem* line, since this is more of a preference rather than some hard rules, there is always someone who would argue his preferences as a hard rule. However, if we think about the *why* and *how* the hem line should be, it will be clear to know what to look: a set of clean vertical lines from waist to foot, front to back. What you want at the hem and how long it should sit at the ankle is then your preference.

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<picture copied for reference>​

In this picture you can see there are 4 sets (one from the back and three frontal looks) of pants legs shown from left to right. Interestingly, 3 with no breaks and one with full break (almost stacking). All with fuller cut at the thigh, but these comes with 4 different flavors of how the trousers is cut. From left to right:
  • full thigh with taper at ankle, no cuff, no break
  • wide thigh (pleats?) with strong tapering at ankle, cuffed, no break
  • wide thigh, flat front with no tapering and no cuff, no break
  • wide thigh, (pleats?) with little tapering at ankle, cuffed with full break
It is as if you want to look for the full/wide thigh cut with various options, this could be a sample picture to check with various options.

On the other hand, when one chooses the cut for his pants, he needs to choose the cut that flatters his own physiques. If one has big butt and thigh, it is unwise to taper too much at the ankle, or you end up with a chicken thigh look. Or if you have thin thigh with a flat butt, having a wide cut and full down make you look that your pants size is too large for you. Finding the right balance between the thigh and leg opening for your physique is the key for a good looking fit.

A side note: check this video of Michael Jackson about how his suit fit:


He is really lean with no butt so he can wear pretty slim trousers with no or high water break. Unless you have his physiques, you should not try to tighten the leg openings like that at all.
 

JBierly

Advanced Member
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United States
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Chattanooga
You put a lot of work into this series and it deserves more than a Like. A consolidation of thoughts like yours, and with picture posts, is always a good read. That it be informative to boot is a plus.

(And now realizing that to boot and plus are redundant, it may take the sting off a wording correction or two I want to offer.)

You mean cuff height, not thickness. There is such a thing as cuff thickness, I employ it, but not relevant here. Hem is being used incorrectly. Hem is the finished edge of any piece of cloth, a leg or a napkin. In your usage, simply length will do. And there ends the nit pick.

Now the not-so-nit pick. You do not mention the guardsman's cuff, aka a slanted hem. A half inch higher in the front, a half lower in the rear; my measure. You can go as high as three-quarters each. Sorta simple to do with a straight hem, not so with cuff. So difficult that the few times I've done this I've severed the cloth below the desired length, made the slanted cuff and sewed it back with a hidden stitch. (I do not recommend this to others or any other clothing eccentricity I may now or in the future dream up.)

Good thread, good opening post(s). Thnx, as the kids write.
Your corrections make sense - cuff height certainly and length. I suppose I was thinking of how the hem line of women's skirts can vary (hence in quotes.)
 
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