buying dress pants
March 11, 2005 4:07 PM   Subscribe

i need a new pair of dress pants. the problem is that i can't find *anything* that isn't for chubby people! even when I go a waist-size down from what I am (to 30), the pants fit at the waist and then slightly balloon out until the legs taper. I've checked Daffy's, Sym's, Century 21, Banana Republic, Zara (all in NYC). No luck. Can a guy find a pair of slim, "sexy-ish" dress pants any more (ie 60s-style), or is our country just too fat? And i'm not talking about a pair of $300 Prada pants, those are out of the question. Can anyone help?
posted by yonation to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by lbergstr at 4:20 PM on March 11, 2005

Club Monaco, ESPRIT, Mexx, Armani Exchange... all have stores in NYC, all have European styling. My 29" waist husband gets all his clothing at these places. Oh, and Le Chateau used to be good for this sort of thing, but I haven't been there in years.
posted by xo at 4:25 PM on March 11, 2005

Oh, again: and Kenneth Cole.
posted by xo at 4:25 PM on March 11, 2005

That's the mainstream style now. Sort of fitted at the waist, and fuller in the leg. Has very little to do with the fattening of America, afaik.

Narrow legged pants are rather trendier, so I'd try a more "fashion forward" store, or the "young men's" department, or maybe a golf shop, as some of the newer golfers are wearing the narrow leg pants.
posted by jlkr at 4:31 PM on March 11, 2005

Gotta echo jlkr's comment: this is a cut issue, not size issue.
posted by arielmeadow at 4:47 PM on March 11, 2005

Try A.P.C., perhaps? Not as pricey as Prada; about the same as the more expensive Banana Republic trousers. They're on Mercer Street.
posted by scody at 4:48 PM on March 11, 2005

J.Crew's lightweight wool pants (I have a few pairs in various greys) seem to be pretty slim fitting to me. They are all flat front, which I'm assuming you're looking for.

This may be too 'classic' of a look for you , but I've found the clothing at Brooks Brothers to be well made, and suited to my slim figure. As a bonus, you can buy their suit items as separates, so you could get the trousers and use them as normal dress pants (and then get a jacket to add some versatility.) BrooksEase Plain Front Trouser

(I just saw on their site that you can get 25% off now (through March 20th) if you open a card there. So you could get an great suit for about $500, I bet)

I know you didn't ask about shirts, but their non-iron shirts are effin' amazing. They might be $70, but the convenience (and lack of cleaning bills) is worth it for me. Slim-fit is available.

And no, I don't work for BB, I've just had great luck with their clothing.
posted by ArcAm at 4:56 PM on March 11, 2005

just a suggestion.
posted by dorian at 4:58 PM on March 11, 2005

While you might not like the $300 price tag, generally European cuts are far more flattering to guys with narrow waists/shoulders. If you really want your ass to look good, you're going to have to pay for it, sadly, but certainly not $300. Try on some "fashion-mainstream" names: DKNY, Armani Exchange, etc. They'll probably run you just shy of $100.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:01 PM on March 11, 2005

I have a couple pairs of pants from Express's "Producer" line. They fit great on me, and I was built without any hips. Check out their "tailored pants" here.
posted by PhatLobley at 5:07 PM on March 11, 2005

You can also try women's pants if you want a slimmer, more European cut, honestly.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 5:16 PM on March 11, 2005

Response by poster: thanks for all the suggestions, guys! much as i hate it, tomorrow will be a soho shopping day in new york for me. also thanks for the social-justice link; i try to support good companies as much as i can. also, i still have to insist (and this may be my incipient grad student training) that culturally, we wear bigger pants because we are on a whole fatter, and want to show it less. imho.
posted by yonation at 5:56 PM on March 11, 2005

are you sure about Zara?--i've gotten tons of narrow pants from them. (Altho wider leg is in style now everywhere except for Italy)
Prada and Kenneth Cole may be all you have to choose from.

i second APC tho, and for expensive--Costume National on Wooster St..
posted by amberglow at 6:02 PM on March 11, 2005

Response by poster: yeah, screw zara. wide and completely not fitting.
posted by yonation at 6:23 PM on March 11, 2005

If you just want to look great at social functions there are a lot of good suggestions here, especially in terms of getting something with a European fit. However, a lot of these don't really look professional if your need is for business. In that case I would suggest Jos. A. Bank, your local tailor/men's clothier gone franchise. They have decent clothes at reasonable prices. Nothing trendy, but good basic business wear.
posted by caddis at 6:44 PM on March 11, 2005

I've been very happy with the pants I bought from The Men's Wearhouse @ $70-$80/pair. They had both pleated and flat front that fit me well, and I have a medium waist and buff thighs.
posted by Four Flavors at 10:32 PM on March 11, 2005

Not a direct answer, but possibly of use - a rule of thumb that I have for shirts but which applies to pants also is this: $150 is the break point. Anything over $150 is guarenteed to look far worse on you than spending that $150 to get a taylor-made item. Presumably, since most of the tayloring cost is labour, the local price of living will affect where the break point is, (it's $150 where I live), but the point is never to forget that nothing for sale can even come close to competing with clothes designed for your body, when it comes to a good look, so be aware of where the break point is when shopping. Anything priced past it is doing yourself a disservice.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:25 AM on March 12, 2005

also, i still have to insist (and this may be my incipient grad student training) that culturally, we wear bigger pants because we are on a whole fatter, and want to show it less.

Maybe so, but the waist-size 30 pants you're having trouble with were not made for chubby people.
posted by bingo at 6:39 AM on March 12, 2005

If you are serious about that 60s look, I recommend the plain suit and the classic sta press trousers from Merc. A fit NYC friend of mine (I'd only say "slim build" if you have to compare him to say, your average American Football player) tried a few suits on and they fit like a dream. He had not found a single suit in the states that flattered him like these did. The minor problem is that Merc is London... so you won't be able to try these on. *sigh*
posted by dabitch at 6:57 AM on March 12, 2005

Gotta disagree, at least for Zara, that chubbiness is the cause. Zara's a brand from Spain (not too many fat people there...or, rather, not too many fat people who buy Zara), and their pants are wide legged. Same for Mango (Spain as well). And both companies do pretty well here in Japan, again, where people are thin.

Perhaps the popularity of Zara in America could be due to having wide pants, which happen to accomodate fatter people, and not due to Zara making wide pants in order to accomodate fatter people?
posted by Bugbread at 9:08 AM on March 12, 2005

APC rules. You can buy online or at the store. They definitely go with a slim, french cut.
posted by cell divide at 11:00 AM on March 12, 2005

Dabitch's great suggestion of the classic mod excellence that is the Merc also reminded me that Ben Sherman might possibly have something along similar lines.
posted by scody at 11:35 AM on March 12, 2005

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