The Guy’s Closet: All About Pants Rise

Yes, there’s more to buying pants than waist size and inseam. I’m talking rise – the distance from the middle of the crotch seam (the space right between your legs) straight up to the top of the waistband.

Rise determines where your pants rest on your body, which in turn creates your perceived waistline. If you choose the incorrect rise for your torso-to-leg ratio, your body can look unbalanced. Case in point: here (okay, joke). Let’s break it down.

Pants Rise


Regular Rise: What you’ll find on most chinos, khakis, and trousers. This rise hits at your natural waist, about 9 to 11 inches from crotch to waistband – an automatic “do” according to The Sartorialist

Low Rise: Contrary to the beliefs of basically the entire population of America (a “nation of plumber’s butt,” GQ calls us), low-rise pants are not always the most flattering option. Meant to sit well below your natural waist, steer clear if you have shorter legs and a longer torso.

Short Rise: Think of short rise as regular rise for shorter men. The rise is meant to hit at your natural waist, about 7 to 9 inches from crotch to waistband. Do not confuse with low rise, which may look the same but will hang differently.

High Rise: With a typical rise of about 12 inches, these pants are meant to be worn at the waist rather than the hips. They’re great for guys over six feet who find that regular-rise pants tend to be more low rise on them.

Not sure the rise of your pants? Here’s a quick guide to measuring.

By Joanna Berliner, Editor

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August 19, 2013