Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tapered Pants, The Sequel


Professionally speaking, I spent the end of 2006 through the beginning of 2012 in jeans. You've presumably read my endless blabbering about how my taste in denim changed over the years, so I'll just say that my jeans nowadays are a slim-fitting straight leg with very little break. I thought I wanted my dress pants to fit the same way when I took my new job back in April of 2012. What follows is the lesson I learned (the hard way) in the hopes that if you're a reader who's into a mega-slim pant leg, you'll think twice.

My college job was at Banana Republic as a sales associate, and I loved it. I was one of the younger employees and not only was I proud to work in a much higher-end environment than I'd ever been in before, I really enjoyed being dressed up on campus during the day. Not only did it mean that I could head right to work from class; I also enjoyed the attention I got being the guy in slacks and a dress shirt while everyone else looked like, well, college kids.

I had a bunch of dress pants at the time: dark charcoal pinstripes, navy with tan pinstripes, solid grey flannels, and a bunch of others. Too bad I had no idea how they were supposed to fit. I wore them a little below my hips like you would a pair of jeans, which in hindsight meant that the rise (crotch) looked way too low. I had the inseams shortened accordingly, which screwed me in the end. When I tried them on again during a closet clean-out in 2007, I pulled them up to my natural waist (where they belonged) and they were way too short, without enough material to let down.

Well, shit.


I hadn't worn dress pants regularly for many years when I ordered some for my new job, and this lack of recent experience bit me in the ass. While I learned my lesson about wearing dress pants at my natural waist, I let my taste in denim (barely any break, very slim leg openings) get the best of me. 

The result? Look at the picture above. I got pants that sit nice and high on my waist but are so breakless that they're fine when standing but show too much sock when I walk, even for my taste. What's worse is that I had them made so tapered that even if I were to have them lengthened, they wouldn't have enough room to rest comfortably on my shoes. They're fine, but anything I get in the future will have a bigger leg opening, for sure.

My style is apparently more fluid than I thought.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Tale of the Tapered Jeans


Like most people in the civilized world, I've been wearing jeans all my life. I didn't give a crap about what I wore until I was about 16 years old, and like a novice in any field, I sucked at first. In high school I owned both painter's jeans and carpenter's jeans, the difference being that the carpenter's jeans had the same stupid pockets but were somehow baggier than the already-massive painter's jeans. I would pair these with slim t-shirts in the hopes that it would show off my chiseled physique and attract the attention of cute girls in school.

"Fail" wasn't a thing at the time, but if it had been, it would have applied to that last sentence.

As I got to college and took a job as a sales associate at a Banana Republic, I started paying closer attention to how clothes were supposed to fit and became a fan of a denim silhouette known as "slim bootcut." This was my go-to choice even after graduation.

Fast-forward to 2007, when I finally stopped wearing boot-cut jeans and started slimming things down. My pants became increasingly tight until one day I was in a second-hand shop and found a dark pair of Levi's in my size. I tried them on, and not only were they slim as hell (at $14 I figured I'd ignore the moose knuckle they created), they required no alterations! The legs tapered a lot, but not to the point that they could be called "skinny" jeans, which was a bullshit boundary I had set up so I could tell myself that I wasn't being too trendy.

I can now admit that I was flat-out lying to myself. But it gets worse.


I crossed the line one last time when I walked into an Urban Outfitters during a sale and bought an embarrassingly slim pair of jeans. I've only worn them about ten times since I got them three years ago, the reason for which is twofold:

  1. I dubbed them my "four-hour jeans" because around the four-hour mark it feels like they've come to life and are trying to strangle my balls, and
  2. They're skinny jeans. I didn't want to admit it when I bought them; I got swept up in a good price and finding something in my size, which is a rare occurrence. All I'd need to do is wear them halfway down my ass and throw on some neon yellow-framed sunglasses and I'd look like a hipster.
The evolution of my taste in denim was like that guy Jared from the Subway commercials, except Jared would have had to become anorexic at the end for the comparison to fully work. Don't get me wrong, I still like slim clothes. I'm a thin guy and I like to show off, so wearing garments that gently hug the body is a good thing for me. Maybe I'm just getting older, but I'm starting to put more emphasis on gently hugging the body. Nowadays I'm happy with slim, straight-leg jeans with a slight break. They show off my shoes, look good with tailored clothing, and don't squeeze the shit out of my nuts.

There are two lessons here: First, only buy clothes that work with your body type. It will take some trial and error to learn what's good for you. Hell, it took me thirteen years. But once you make all the mistakes you need to make, you'll be confident in spending money on things that you know will work and are comfortable to wear. And you'll enjoy wearing these things even more.

Second, your testicles are real things and should not be ignored when buying pants.