How to Wear Dress Pants – A Quick Guide

For many men, the proper way to wear dress pants is simple: buy trousers, wear trousers, wash trousers, repeat. But if you want to look your best, it’s not that simple. There are lots of subtle details you’ll want to master if you’re going to look your best from business casual to formal—and everywhere in between. Here are some of our favorite tips for how to wear dress pants.

Mastering the Waist

There’s a lot more going on at the waist than simply cinching the pants onto your body. The waist is an opportunity to really tie the upper body with the lower body, giving you an outfit that looks like it was designed with you in mind. Here are a few rules to stick to around the waist:

  • Yes, you should tuck your shirt in. It will give you a cleaner look and expose the belt, which pulls an outfit—especially a suit—together.
  • How high should you wear your pants? Most pants will neatly fit a few inches below the navel and at the top of the hips. If your pants don’t already do this without the help of a belt, then they’re likely too large.
  • Similarly, pants should not be so slim that they cut into you every time you have a seat.
  • As a general rule, you’ll want to pair the color of your belt with the color of your shoes—which is why it’s good to own both black and brown leather belts.

The waist is the crown of your trousers—if you don’t get the waist right, none of the pants you wear will look like they were designed for you. Master the waist and half the battle is already over.

Getting the Right Fit

We offer tailored trousers to take the guess work out of online ordering so you can have the specific sizing you need for your dress pants. But how do you know if a pair fits right? There are a few rules:

  • As stated above: if your pants fall from your waist without a belt, they’re too large.
  • The bottom hem of tailored trousers should drape slightly over the shoe, but they shouldn’t billow with excess fabric.
  • How much space you want in the legs themselves can be a personal preference. Look at your silhouette in the mirror to make sure that your pants don’t billow outwards at the knee—it’s a sign of too much air and pants that are simply too large.
  • Don’t buy “slim fit” and trust that the fit looks good. Slim fit is generally for a slender silhouette—it’s possible you’ll get a “slim” look from larger pants.

With the fit mastered, you’re almost done. We just have one more important topic to cover: accessories.

Accessorizing Like the Best

Unless you’re the lead singer at a rock concert, you’ll generally want to avoid an excess of accessories. But that isn’t to say you can ever suffer from a lack of knowledge about dress pant accessories:

  • Keep it simple. A belt with a strong buckle will look just fine. Ornamental buckles only have situational applications; otherwise, your suit looks best when the buckle is simple.
  • Minimize chains. Some people use wallet chains to keep their wallet secure, but with dress trousers—it’s not a good look.
  • Experiment with sock colors. Here’s where you have plenty of accessory wiggle-room. When you’ve pulled the rest of your outfit together, a colorful or patterned pair of socks will especially pop.

Shop Berle Today

Overall, dress trousers are more art than science, so don’t worry if this seems like a lot to remember. What matters is finding a good fit and style that’s enough to give you confidence to face your day. With these tips and the right pair of tailored trousers, you’ll likely find both.