Three Signs It's Time to Size Down

Pop quiz: what’s the most common mistake men make when it comes to their style?

No, it’s not pairing socks with shorts—although on another day we might have a few words to say on that subject.

No, it’s not pairing a light brown belt with dark brown shoes.

And no, it’s not buying clothes that are too expensive.

It’s buying clothes that are too large. Most men make the assumption that as long as they buy the right type of shirt, then they’re already doing the right thing—nevermind how it actually looks when they put it on. Of course, you’re not most men. You pay attention to issues like size, which is why you’re going to learn today some very important signs that you need to move a size down in your wardrobe.

Sign #1: Excessive billowing

“Billowing” is a funny word, but when it comes to fashion, it actually has a very concrete definition. It’s what happens when there’s so much extra fabric around your legs or around your torso that your shirt or pants have nothing to do but fold over on themselves. If you have so much excess fabric on these items that it starts to look “billowy,” then you’re definitely a size too big, whether we’re talking about shirts or trousers.

When you try on a pair of pants, pay attention to how the fabric meets your ankle. Does it pile up over the show like there’s nowhere else to go, or does it just slightly “break”? You’re looking for the latter; avoid the former like the plague.

Sign #2: Pants won’t stay up without a belt

We know, we know: “what’s the point of wearing a belt if not to keep your pants up?” The truth is, the belt is something of an accessory; it should never be a necessity. It ties an outfit together visually and gives you a snug fit; if you’re depending on it to keep your pants up, that’s because your pants, plain and simple, do not fit.

Sizing down is the only option here, because most likely, your belt doesn’t make the rest of the pants look like they fit you; otherwise you’d have to wear a belt around your thighs and your ankle, as well.

Sign #3: You keep getting your pants caught

Getting your clothes caught on a doorknob is something that’s meant for, say, a loose-fitting robe…not your actual trousers, which are intended to be trendy. Generally, you’ll look for a balance between pants that easily cling to your legs and pants that are comfortable; after all, it’s also possible to go a size too small.

Pants should leave you nimble enough to move around in, but not so much space that you catch the wind every time there’s a stiff breeze. If you don’t want to look like a sailboat, then your path is clear: go a size down, check yourself out in the mirror, and ask yourself how much better you look. We’re going to go out on a limb and guess that the answer is, “a lot.”