Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Knowledge: Avoiding the Terrible Triangle

Once, on an episode of TLC's "What Not To Wear," I heard the fashion-forward co-host, Clinton Kelly, tell the man who was the subject of that week's episode that he should wear his pants on his hips, unless he wants to look like an old man. This opinion seems to be shared by most men today -- even those who care little about clothes. 

My response: no, you should wear your pants on your natural waist unless you want to look like an Amjack (which Kelly often does). 

Wearing pants on the hips may be fine for ultra-casual pants, like jeans. But, for suits, it destroys one of its whole purposes, which is to create a visually unbroken line down the body. 

Here's an example of what I call the Terrible Triangle, courtesy of a popular blogger whom I'll leave unnamed: 

See what I mean? The whole line of the suit is destroyed -- and the problem is compounded by the belt, which is one of the reasons that belts should never be worn with suits. 

Contrast that with this photo of Dr. Andre Churchwell, courtesy of Will Boehlke's A Suitable Wardrobe blog:

This is how trousers should fit! The fact that his jacket is unbottoned is even better, because it shows the rise of the pants. You can see that, if his jacket were buttoned, there would be an unbroken line from his shoulders to his ankles. 

The principle still applies with blazers and sport jackets, even though the unbroken line principle doesn't. 

Here again is our low-rise blogger:

Here, in contrast, is Will Boehlke himself:

Even when the unbroken line isn't an issue, the outfit still looks massively better without the Terrible Triangle. 

In fairness to the Triangle blogger (especially if he, or someone who recognizes him, sees this), he buys his clothes in thrift stores, while Will and Dr. Churchwell have theirs custom-made. Even if you wear your ready-made pants as high as they'll go (and maybe he does), if the rise is too low, it's too low; there's nothing you can do about it (but he can -- and should -- still ditch the belt). 

Also, I'm not attacking him; I'm just using him to illustrate a point. In fact, I'm a big fan of his blog. 

If you buy new ready-made pants, many places, like Jos. A. Bank, offer them in different rises. Anytime you have a choice, get them with the highest rise possible to avoid showing any shirt or tie between your buttoned jacket and the top of your pants. And use braces instead of belts; they're more comfortable, and look better -- even with a high enough rise, a belt can still create a bulge under your jacket. 

Avoid the Terrible Triangle whenever possible.  

1 comment:

Jon said...

What's high rise? Does it mean the pant goes really high up above my waist/hips area, like near the bellybutton? How about folks like me with a "beer gut?" Will your opinion about high rise change in such a case?

Also, using braces (I'm guessing you are referring to "suspenders") is fine if I am going to wear the suit for an evening. But, what about work suits? I am 30 and can't pull off the braces look because when I get to work, I take my jacket off and all the inner office stuff is then just with my suit pants, shirt, tie combo. It will look too "trying hard" esque if I wear braces everyday. Belts OK in this case?