Big and Tall Trousers: Finding the Right Fit

The way they design pants these days, you’d assume that everyone on the planet came in approximately the same size. We all know that isn’t true. There are people with short legs, long legs, muscular legs, thin legs—and that’s just scratching the surface. But for some reason, the big brands insist on making pants a “one-size-fits-all proposition.”

If you’re big and/or tall, you’ve already gotten used to the fact that most clothes aren’t going to fit you immediately off the rack. But that doesn’t mean you have to settle for ill-fitting pants, nor should you believe that your big and tall status means you should give up on fashion entirely. Here’s a quick guide for ensuring that your trousers fit you like a glove even if you’re not the usual factory-standard size.

Purchasing the Right Pants the First Time

Being big and tall means that shopping online can be hazardous. You likely scroll through return policies on every online shop you can find simply because you know that you may have to use it. But we at Berle believe that’s time and energy you can be better spent enjoying a comfortable pair of well-fitting trousers.

So the question is, how do you buy the right pants the first time? We have a few suggestions:

  • Know your true size. Measuring tape is your friend here. Many online stores and brands will have different sizes based on their own way of doing things, but they’ll typically offer a “sizing guide” that lets you see exactly how many inches they’re referring to when they say pants are “XL.” All it takes is a small investment in measuring tape—the flimsy, flexible kind—to immediately have an idea of which pants will fit you.
  • Know your fits. Skinny, slim, straight leg, boot cut, what does it all mean? This takes a little bit of experience. If most pants generally feel tight on you, you might want to stick to a straight fit. If you find that most pants feel baggy, you should actively seek skinny or slim fits for a slimmer silhouette.
  • If you can’t find the right information, call or email. Many companies are happy to answer your questions about how their pants fit. It only takes a few minutes to get a feel for how their pants generally fit: for example, some companies might tell you to go a size under your usual purchase because their pants run a little larger than other brands. Other sites may have a sizing guide, as we do here at Berle.

Of course, even if you’re on top of your game, you can never completely predict how well a pair of trousers will fit unless you have a dressing room handy.

Adjusting a Pair of Trousers You’ve Already Bought

The quickest way to ensure you don’t have to repair a pair of pants is to buy them a little large and hem them down a little. This is especially easy if you have access to a good tailor.

Or, in the case of buying from Berle, it helps if you have access to complimentary hemming.

So if you’re going to buy a pair of pants that you think will fit you, don’t be afraid to buy the usual size or even a little bigger or longer. Hemming pants is one of the easier feats to accomplish in tailoring, leaving your pants looking new and specially-tailored to your unique body shape.