How Should Dress Pants Fit?

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Last Updated on September 14, 2021 by admin_comfortabledressshoes

When you’re trying to find the perfect pair of dress pants, part of the problem that many men encounter is that they aren’t always sure what the proper fit even looks like. When you’ve never worn a pair of pants that fit perfectly, it can be hard to know what that fit would feel like.

There are several factors you should be aware of when you’re trying on a new pair of dress pants. In addition to the obvious need for comfort, you'll also want to consider a few more things like the stretch, length, lay, pocket style, and more that will affect their final fit.

Let’s run through how comfortable men's dress pants should fit and what you need to pay attention to when selecting your next pair.

How Men's Dress Pants Should Fit

When you’re trying to get the right fit in dress pants, these are the main areas that you need to focus on:

Width and Length

The first two things that you always need to focus on are width and length. Have yourself professionally measured or get a friend to help you figure out what your waist circumference, hip circumference, and leg length are. By having this information on hand, you’ll be at a better starting point to find the right fit.

When you’re trying pants on, try on one size below and one size above your normal waist size. The length doesn’t matter as much for reasons that we will discuss in the inseam section of this men's pants fit guide.


Find a waistband that sits comfortably on your waist. If it’s too tight, it’ll give you a muffin top, while if it’s too big, it's possible to get alterations or use a belt if the rest of the fit of the pants is great. Additionally, pay attention to whether or not you have a gap near your lower back or not.

For some, the best way to get a good fit is to find a pair of expandable waist men's pants. This type of expandable waistband has elastic in it, and it will help to contour the fit of the pants to your body.

Front and Seat

When trying on any dress pants, make sure that you try them sitting down and bending over. The pants should have enough space in the seat for you to sit comfortably.

If it’s too tight, you’ll feel this in your thighs when you sit down. If it’s too loose, you’ll notice extra fabric around your thighs and seat.

If the pants are getting X-shaped wrinkles in the front, there's not enough room in the seat. If there are pleats in the front of the pants, pay attention to whether the pleats gap or not. If they gap, then your pants don't have enough space in the seat, and you may need a different style or cut.

By paying attention if wear wrinkles are developing on your pants, you can find out what areas of the fit need to be adjusted. If you aren’t sure what the wrinkles’ cause is, try to consult a tailor.


The cut of the pants will decide if they will flatter your waist, thighs, and calves, or not. If the cut is too tight, they’ll stick around the knees, or your ankles will be showing. If the cut is too big, the fabric will bag or fold in awkward places or cause you to appear out of proportion.

Figuring out what types of cuts best suit your body can be relatively complicated at first, but after a while, you’ll find that certain cuts fit and flatter your body better than others. Keep track of the features you like best so that you can continue to choose correctly sized pants that you'll want to wear.


The pants' length in terms of inseam doesn’t matter as much as other characteristics because you can always have your pants hemmed. As long as the pants are not too short, don't worry too much about this aspect until you find a good fit in all the other respects. As with many things about a great pair of dress pants, it’s often useful to have minor custom alteration tailoring done to help them fit your body as perfectly as possible!

The Final Checklist

Now that you have some basic knowledge about what the fit should be like on your dress pants let’s run through a final checklist. Use this checklist to ensure they fit the bill.

  • Avoid pants that are too loose. While relaxed fit pants can be stylish, baggy pants don’t look good on anyone.
  • Avoid skin-tight pants that restrict your movement. Slim-fit pants are stylish, but you won’t be comfortable if you can’t move in them.
  • Get your inseam measured professionally and then ensure that your pants match this inseam.
  • Choose pants with no pleats or pleats that don't gap while wearing them. A gap indicates that they're not the right size.
  • Ensure a good match for your waist, seat, and thigh circumference. If it pulls too much, in any of these areas, try to find a better fitting size.
  • Use a belt or suspenders to ensure they stay where they should be all day long.
  • Have store-bought pants professionally tailored for the perfect, custom fit.
  • Heavier fabrics tend to drape better. If you’re having a hard time getting a good fit, try a more substantial material.

How To Fit Pants

How should dress pants fit? Is this a question that you can answer now? We hope so!

With the information that we’ve gathered together today, take the time to get your fit right when you choose your next pair of dress pants for men. There’s no reason to settle for ill-fitting pants. Instead, use this knowledge to your advantage to ensure your pants don’t hold you back from doing exactly what you want to do. With the right fitting pants, you can display a successful image anywhere you need to go.