What's Destroying My Pants?
January 6, 2014 1:26 PM   Subscribe

I keep having the same wear and tear on my suit pants (and to a lesser extent, jeans and khakis) and I want to know what is causing it and how to make it stop. In almost every pair the crotch begins to go quickly, tearing apart, piling, fraying, and being worn straight through with little holes. it's like I'm doing splits or high kicks all day. These occur across types of pants, tailored and not, stuff I swear frequently and stuff I hardly ever wear. As far as I know I'm buying the right size and try to wear them at my natural waist, just below the belly button and frequently with belts. I'm a guy with a bit of a gut and I don't go for marathon runs in my suit pants. For outfits I wear a lot I rotate the pants but within a year they're ruined and torn up. Is it the material? Am I sitting wrong? Hanging them wrong? Is there something I should be looking or/asking the tailor about?

If it's at all relevant, I'm a 37 inch waist and 30 inch leg.
posted by anonymous to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
How do you wash them, and does this happen with pants that you dry clean?
posted by bq at 1:39 PM on January 6, 2014

Do your thighs rub together when you walk? I've got the same problem -- figure I need to trim them (thighs) down, but easier said than done.
posted by I'm Brian and so's my wife! at 1:46 PM on January 6, 2014 [4 favorites]

Is your butt full or flat? How do they fit from below the belt to upper thigh, front and back? Do you have crease marks at the crotch? Where do they fit tightest in the back?

I think you're wearing pants that are fine in the waist but maybe a size too small for your butt and thighs. Ask someone who knows how to fit a suit and can see you in person if you need to size up and take the waist in at a tailor to achieve extra room in the rise and thigh.
posted by slow graffiti at 1:50 PM on January 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Do your upper thighs touch when you stand normally or walk? That's often the cause. Losing weight can help, but not always; some people are just built that way. If you tend to get little weak spots in the same place every time, it's probably your thighs.

Some tailors can reinforce the inner thigh/crotch area of pants. I've found that keeping my pants-wearing frequency down to once a week per pair has greatly prolonged their life.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:57 PM on January 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seconding get yourself fit for a suit. It does indeed sound like an issue arising from too-small thighs and hips in the trousers.

You can do a quick-n-dirty check on your own: first, standing, note how the pants feel. This will be for comparison for the real test: now sit down. Are the pants tight anywhere? They should have some give in them, everywhere, even a bit in the waist, when you're seated. You should basically be able to pinch some free fabric, say half an inch or more, without a problem. Any spot where they're tight, is one that needs a bit more room (larger size).

Taking in the waist is an easy (and thus comparatively cheap!) alteration, so if going up a size for other areas is indeed needed, it won't cost you a lot. Some stores will even do that sort of alteration for free, if you buy from them.
posted by fraula at 2:06 PM on January 6, 2014

Does that area tend to get sweaty or humid at all? Low-level moisture in general, and bodily fluids in particular, can really eat through fibers. If you're wearing things (and sweating into them) without washing them immediately afterwards, then that might explain why your lesser-used pants seem to wear out just as frequently as your favorites.

Not sure what can be done about crotch sweat, but I'd think switching to a more absorbent underwear style, like cotton boxer-briefs, might help quite a bit, as would a post-shower dusting of talcum powder down there.
posted by Bardolph at 2:08 PM on January 6, 2014

Re: what you should ask a tailor about, by the way. When you mention trousers that have been tailored, do you mean store-bought and altered, or genuinely made for you? Store-bought altered trousers would fall into the issue with getting the right size. Tailor-made to your body, however, should indeed avoid the problem apart from normal wear and tear. In that case, a tailor would take your measurements and create a pattern; it would be from scratch. (Apologies if I'm describing the obvious.)

The term for having enough room in any garment for a (reasonable) full range of movement is "ease". There should be enough ease in your trousers, in order to move without stressing the trousers at their seams, which is indeed one of the main points of having ease.
posted by fraula at 2:36 PM on January 6, 2014

It sounds as though you've ruled out physical activity as a cause, but I'm gonna mention anyway that cycling can really destroy trousers at the crotch. My jeans get ruined in no time, and I am a very casual, low-intensity cyclist.
posted by cincinnatus c at 1:53 AM on January 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

This used to happen to me all the time when I was in this stage of my life 6-7 years ago. I'm assuming you're not 16 and obnoxious, but maybe you wear your pants a bit too low? I think it happened to me from too much extra cloth in the crotch area and also because when I would sit you see how the crotch gets stretched?
posted by alon at 6:56 PM on January 7, 2014

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