Clothes for a beanpole
February 11, 2018 10:44 AM   Subscribe

My 16yo is 5'11" and 116 pounds. He is having a terrible time buying pants. Please help.

Some details: He is more interested in comfortable than fashionable. He likes pants that have elastic waists, but comfortable pants with a fly would be OK. He wants sweat pants for lounging around, but also pants that are suitable for going out in the world. He is not very interested in jeans, and since he tends to own few clothes, he is interested in buying high-quality clothes.

He doesn't like shopping in person, so an online retailer would be ideal.
posted by Orlop to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (17 answers total)
Because I have experience as a 5'10" and 115 pound person, I have an idea, but what exactly is the difficulty in finding pants that fit - is it the waist size? inseam length? That might give people a better jumping off point for recommendations.
posted by lilies.lilies at 10:48 AM on February 11, 2018

Inseam length, lilies.lilies. Most pants that fit his waist are too short. Thanks for asking! That's a useful detail.
posted by Orlop at 10:51 AM on February 11, 2018

I would look at Uniqlo. If I recall correctly, they don't have multiple inseam lengths - they only have Very Long and then you are expected to tailor them shorter if needed (I am a short woman and the last pair of pants I bought there went completely over my feet). They also run slim since they are originally defined for the Japanese market.
posted by brainmouse at 11:03 AM on February 11, 2018 [3 favorites]

Do you know his waist and inseam measurements?

Most nicer men's brands (Brooks Brothers, LL Bean, Lands End, etc.) sell unfinished pants, where you only specify the waist size and the legs are super long so that you can have your tailor cuff them at the exact correct length for your leg. At 5'11", he shouldn't have an inseam of more than 34", and that's well within the range of normal length for unfinished pants.
posted by kevinbelt at 11:09 AM on February 11, 2018

Is he still growing? Investing in clothes that may not fit him in a year or two may not be a great option.

One option, for nicer clothes, is made-to-measure. You can get anything replicated by Luxire, and they can make pants (corduroys, khakis, chinos, jeans) using your measurements.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:29 AM on February 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

I found that American Eagle was useful for my tall skinny kid because it sold longer lengths with smaller waists, like 28x34, and tall versions of sweatpants.
posted by metasarah at 11:30 AM on February 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

tall, skinny adult here. carhartt jeans are available in 28" waist with up to a 36" inseam. if you want them flannel lined, waist starts at 30".

despite them being work pants, they are surprisingly comfortable.

Duluth Trading also makes very comfortable jeans, their Ballroom version is comfy and comes fleece lined too.
posted by Dr. Twist at 12:06 PM on February 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Adult pants are waist & inseam sized, kids not so much from my hazy kid memories. Can you not find appropriate adult waist/inseam sizes? If not, can you post the measurements so people can suggest brands that carry an apparently unusual size?
posted by TheAdamist at 12:09 PM on February 11, 2018

Banana Republic is good for classier versions of Old Navy/Gap (because that's what they are), and their pants come in a good range of sizes. Their shirts would be useless because a size with arms long enough would be too baggy, unless their "slim fit" styles really are slim. Worth trying.

Generally the higher end you go the less trouble you sholuld have, since models are typically 6 foot and skinny. Diesel would have expensive but trendy stuff to fit him, I think.

Sorry to intrude and veer off-topic, but I find myself distracted by the unusually low BMI. That is a bit beyond the healthy part of skinny. At that age, if he is eating and not gaining weight, it can be undiagnosed type 1 diabetes. Happened to a friend of mine.
posted by w0mbat at 12:18 PM on February 11, 2018

I am taller than that, and weighed that much until my mid twenties. Some people are just little.

Nthing uniqlo. They are not great with t-shirts for lanky people but the pants are definitely long enough.
posted by smoke at 12:35 PM on February 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Old Navy slim and skinny pants routinely come in a 28 waist. Quality is fine. Not great, but fine, especially for what you pay. Make sure to get their Flex line. Having the stretchiness will make them more comfortable and they'll look better on a slim frame. They always have significant coupons available. Don't buy without them. They also have free returns. All of this applies to Gap and Banana Republic as well. I don't think there's any difference between Gap and Old Navy's clothes. Banana Republic is a step up, but I don't find the extra cost worthwhile for pants.
posted by cnc at 2:12 PM on February 11, 2018

Eddie Bower is also good for taller sizes.
posted by nalyd at 2:40 PM on February 11, 2018

The 15yr old 6 ft, 120lb beanpole in my life is happy with the slim fit jeans from Old Navy. Specifically black. I like the price. 3 pairs rotated last a good bit too. His size is about 28w with 34 inseam. I suspect I will need 36 inseam by next year.
posted by ReiFlinx at 4:28 PM on February 11, 2018

Seconding Lands End selling unhemmed pants that you can have hemmed to whatever length you want.

Also I was just at Banana Republic and they had some khakis on sale for $5.00 in various colors and while searching for a 32x30 for myself I saw a couple 30x34s, which struck me as super skinny and tall.
posted by MonsieurBon at 5:39 PM on February 11, 2018

Thanks, folks. Given that our whole family is menswear-shopping naive, even the apparently obvious answers have been really helpful. I've got some good info to pass on to him.
posted by Orlop at 5:47 PM on February 11, 2018

Pants intended for school uniforms come in these sizes, since the market includes teenage boys.
posted by toastedcheese at 6:10 PM on February 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

I know you said he's not very interested in jeans, but Levi's makes casual pants in addition to jeans, and my brother was a 28 x 34 / 30 x 36 throughout most of high school and he wore nothing but Levi's. You can shop at and return in person to a Levi's store, if there's one near you.
posted by jabes at 12:02 PM on February 12, 2018

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