How high do I wear my pants?
March 20, 2011 6:48 PM   Subscribe

Where should a guy with a large stomach measure the waist?

I have been reading some web sites that say to measure your waist "where you wear your pants." I don't know how high to wear my pants. I think I'm wearing them too low.

My body is a lot like John Goodman's:

I don't wear my pants that high though, I usually wear them more like this guy:

(That's not me in the picture.)

When I buy new pants, should I measure at the bellybutton or at the underside of my belly or inbetween them? Does slacks or jeans make a difference?

Thank you in advance for helping.
posted by anonymous to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I have a similar, if smaller build. Slacks should be worn at the ACTUAL waist, which is around the belly button. When you wear slacks with pleats, they should lay flat, and the only way for that to happen is for them to be worn at the actual waist. It may look strange at first, but it is actually slimming and flattering.

I personally wear jeans and flat-front chinos at my hips (where the second gentleman is wearing his).

The difference in waist size for me is between a 38 for the jeans etc and about 42 for my slacks. I was terrified when I had to buy 42 inch slacks, but when I put them on and the pleats were laying flat and I looked taller, I felt better.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 6:56 PM on March 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

Never ever wear your pants below your belly, it looks horrible, and you end up with your stomach hanging out if your shirt isn't way too long. Find your natural waist (bend to the side, where you bend in is your waist) and wear them there, please.
posted by SuzySmith at 8:14 PM on March 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'm with SuzySmith I don't know where you're "supposed" to wear your pants but from my female POV it always looks nicer if the pants are worn at the natural waist. Wearing the pants under your belly just makes your belly look a lot more prominent and you risk the shirt rising up and your belly hanging out the bottom.

Don't just go from the tape measurements either, try a selection of pants on to get an idea what styles suit you. Different cuts or materials can make a huge difference in how big your belly looks.

As an overweight woman I am careful to dress with pants to my natural waist for much the same reason, though I try to avoid tucked in shirts as I figure no one wants to see my belly rolls.
posted by wwax at 9:35 PM on March 20, 2011

Another woman here... Wear them slightly below the belly button, but not under the belly--please no muffin top. Now if you find a way to actually keep them there (you can see Goodman's pants are trying to escape) let me know.
posted by anaelith at 2:51 AM on March 21, 2011

I'm going to nth ThaBombShelterSmith's response. (Also a woman responding.) For women, I wouldn't recommend that an overweight one wear her pants at the hips below the belly, but for some reason it's different on men. Wear your pleated fronts at the waist and flat fronts at the hips.

But do try to make sure your shirt is long enough to cover you.
posted by asciident at 4:22 AM on March 21, 2011

Wear your pants high, at the actual waist. An elasticated waist for extra mobility can be a big help-- Land's End sells comfort waist slacks that feel great.

But as always, the true solution for us gentlemen of girth is suspenders.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:31 AM on March 21, 2011

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