Note: This is a pretty old post that really needs to be updated. We’ll get to it soon!
In the meantime, if you really want to understand pants rise, I recommend reading this post I wrote for Primer Magazine instead:
Pants Rise Explained (Why Low Rise Isn’t Always Your Best Choice)
It’s a much more accurate and helpful guide. Enjoy!
Are Low Rise Trousers the Only Option for Shorter Guys?
For us shorter guys, the biggest problem we often face is in finding trousers that fit us nicely, without having to spend a fortune taking them to the tailors to be adjusted so that they don’t look ridiculous.
While a trip to have your trousers altered may well turn out to be the inevitable endgame of a shopping trip, what other top tips will allow you to buy the best trousers to make the most of your modest height?
To Rise or Not to Rise?
Generally speaking, the advice given to shorter guys when it comes to trousers is to go for low rise options at all times. Why is it then, that so many short guys follow this advice yet still end up looking and feeling rather uncomfortable? The clue is to forget the legs for a moment, and take a look at your torso.
Getting Your Style in Proportion
What does your upper body look like in relation to your legs – is it in proportion, smaller, or does it appear bigger? By understanding this, you will be able to choose trousers much easier and ensure that any alterations you need will be minimal.
If your legs are short in proportion to your body, then choose a trouser that will sit a little higher. We are not talking about pulling them up to the point of looking like Simon Cowell, and you want to avoid looking too computer-geek, but it will make you look better.
On the other hand, should your legs be in proportion or appear longer than your body, then low rise is definitely the way to go. However, choosing low rise is only a part of finding the perfect trousers for your short frame.
As well as the rise, you also need to carefully consider the fit of your trousers. Hopefully you already know that you should be avoiding skinny trousers and denims – if not, then heed the warning now.
To elongate your legs you are best going for slim/tapered silhouettes. Should you take your trousers to the tailor, ensure that they fit in such a way that your trouser leg breaks a little over the shoe (or doesn’t break at all), this will make you look taller.
Our final tip is vital when it comes to formal trousers. Avoid trousers with cuffs at the bottom, at all costs.
Every inch that the trouser turns up is two inches off of your height in terms of perception, a style nightmare if ever there was one.
Have you tried the short rise pants at Muldoons.com and some other sites? Most seem to be kenneth morton. Im wondering if they are any good.
It appears JAB also has short rise pants. Have you tried them?
Kenneth Morton is all I wear. Unfortunately, they will stop making short rise in July 2018. What is JAB?
JAB = Joseph A Bank.
Since making the comment I bought some kenneth mortons and didn’t like the fit/cut but the material was nice and heavy, and does not wrinkle easily which I liked.
You are confusing “low rise” with “drop crotch”. They are almost opposite concepts.
Low rises have the crotch placed as normal but the waistband does not come as high. Also known and better described as short rise.
Drop crotch pants are designed to place the waistband normally but the crotch hangs much lower than usual. Could be thought of as long rise.
Low rise ≠ short rise, and high rise ≠ drop crotch (which looks good on no one)
I broke down and bought a sewing machine a couple years ago and hem them up myself. I took Home Ec in HS, I learned enough to be able to do that.
Completely disagree with the boot-cut. It should be illegal it is so ugly.
Bob Jones says
Good fit for short men is the Levis 514 straight and slim. Get it in the 29 inseam.
The Other Guy Did It says
I can’t speak for what “all men” should or shouldn’t wear but I can tell you that I have ulcers in my stomach and ever since they started making low rise jeans for men, it’s been something of a miracle for me. They’re much more comfortable to wear.
Short guys need to stop “dressing taller”. Just dress well. We will never be tall. I think being a well dressed, good looking short guy is just fine.
Tony Chow says
I disagree about the cuffs. As long as the turned up side is the same color as the rest of the trousers (which is not the case with jeans), the cuffs will not detract from the perception of height. Also, cuffs add weight to the hem and allows the trouser legs to drape better and straighter, which adds to the perception of height.
Also helpful in suits is pleats. I’m talking about inward pleats, not reverse pleats. Inward pleats allow the creases to run right into the waist and help the creases appear more defined. This creates a longer line in the legs.
Regardless of your height, no man should ever, EVER, under any circumstances, wear boot-cut jeans/pants/trousers. EVER. Also, it looks fine to wear slimmer pants, the only thing you really want to avoid is wearing overly baggy pants or pants that pool up too much at the bottom due to being too long.