March 11, 2011  ·  style

The wax and wane of trouser fit

The prevailing cut of pant legs is a rather cyclical thing in men's style, it seems. Overall fit trends slowly between relaxed and tailored, with knee-to-ankle finish cycling from straight and tapered leg with the occasional unfortunate and short-lived deviation into boot-cut. We always advocate a tailored (but not tight) fit with a straight leg, and these photos demonstrate why.

LEFT: We miss the great music and counterculture of the '80s, but unlike J.Crew here, not the pant styles. The problem with pants that taper from knee to ankle is that they produce an unflatteringly large proportion of scale from top to bottom, resulting in a bulky-looking pelvic region. Also, a small leg opening makes any footwear look like clown shoes in comparison.

MIDDLE: Italo Zucchelli of Calvin Klein introduced a bunch of very loose, relaxed pant styles in the new CK Collection runway show, and while we applaud his efforts to try something different, we are totally not feelin' it. This is how Gordon Gecko rolled in the first "Wall Street" movie; it signals that the wearer is a flabby old dude trying to conceal his actual body shape.

RIGHT: Tailored fit, completely straight from knee to ankle (shown: Gap khakis). This looks good on almost everyone. As long as you don't pick a particularly high or low rise, you should be able to stylishly sport trousers like this until they wear out.

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