Here’s everything the modern gentleman needs to know about buying a flattering pair of pants

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Pants are one of the most difficult items a guy has to buy.

The reason is simple: Men don’t actually know the terminology they need to get exactly what they’re looking for.

Fortunately, that can be fixed with a little bit of sartorial knowledge. From leg opening to fly style, we’ve covered everything you need to know to buy the perfect pair of pants.


The term “rise” refers to the distance between the top of the pants’ waistband and the crotch.

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Advice: Mid rise is perfect for most men at most formalities. Short men should avoid low rise, but high rise is great for taller men, or men with a larger rear.


The zip fly has largely overtaken the button fly in popularity, and it offers a quicker and easier way to close your pants. Here are the benefits of each:

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Advice: Zip fly is the most common and easiest, and the one you’ll find most often.


For the front of a pair of pants, there are two options: pleats and flat front.

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Advice: Flat front pants are perfect for younger, slimmer men, while pleated pants are great for larger men who need some additional room. Both should avoid double pleats.


When it comes to the cut or fit of a pair of pants, there are three options: slim, straight, and relaxed.

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Advice: Dress for your body type, but under no circumstances should you go for a relaxed fit – they make slim men look large, and larger men look even bigger.


“Break” refers to how the cuff of your pant leg drapes over your shoe. There are three main options for how your pants should break.

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Advice: A slight break is ideal. The look is modern, but not too trendy.


“Leg opening” refers to how tight the pants fit around your ankles.

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Advice: Tapered or straight are your best bets here, as both are flattering cuts that will work for most men. Avoid boot cut unless you’re working on a construction site and are actually wearing large heavy boots.


BONUS: Suspenders have gone in and out of fashion throughout the 20th century. Today they’re quite rare, but can appeal to the man looking for a vintage-inspired ensemble.

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Advice: A timeless, classic belt is the way to go for both formal and casual wear. Suspenders look old-fashioned and more like a costume. One important thing to remember: Belts and suspenders should never be worn together.