A question about high-waisted trousers

Discussion in 'General Attire & Accoutrements' started by BigBrother, Jul 3, 2021.

  1. BigBrother

    BigBrother One of the Regulars

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    I’ve recently started getting into these but something isn’t quite working out right...

    I suppose the proper height for which to shoot is around the navel (right over the hip bones or perhaps a tad higher). The thing is, as I see it I have two options to keep them there- braces or a belt -and the belt option keeps failing me.

    Braces would be great at all times as with those I can dictate the exact height and keep them there all night. But in certain circumstances (like when wearing a more casual look, say with a knit, polo shirt, short sleeve shirt, etc.) they are a no-go. So enter the belt.

    In order to get the tightness where it needs to be to keep my trousers at that height, I find I need to cinch down the belt to an almost uncomfortable level. This causes the front part of the waistband to slip below the belt and the whole thing just looks (and feels) bad. The thing is, this has been the case regardless of which trousers I wear. I have ones that have maybe 0.5”-1” of room in the waist and ones that are very snug. With all of them it’s the same thing- belt needs to be practically tourniquet-tight to keep them at the right height.

    As I see it, it could be...

    - I don’t understand how tight these trousers really need to be in order for this all to work, and just snug isn’t good enough. But this doesn’t seem right given the hundreds of photos and illustrations I’ve seen from back in the day- they all seem about normal as far as waist fit is concerned.
    - I’m wearing them too high. Perhaps I need to get them tailored to decrease the length and wear them lower, perhaps somewhere between navel and where low-rise pants sit. But this doesn’t make sense as it doesn’t look like the photos either. Maybe (this is coming to me as I type! :)) with braces you can go higher than with a belt? But then, once again, I’ve seen so many photos and illustrations from the 50s showing a pretty high waist with just a belt.
    - Some other factor I’m missing here.

    I’m a pretty slender guy with a 33” natural waist and a 32” low-rise one.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks all!
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2021
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  2. Peacoat

    Peacoat Bartender Bartender

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    So, I must be missing something here. Why can't you wear the braces under your your knit or polo shirt with the shirt tail out of your trousers? You may not want to wear the shirttail out, but that would be a solution to your quandary.
     
  3. BigBrother

    BigBrother One of the Regulars

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    Well then I’d basically have braces against raw skin (might not be an issue, but not sure) and with many of my knit tops you actually see the braces under it. It looks off (I actually tried this yesterday with an A shirt and braces under the top and boy could you see it all. Looked ridiculous.)
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2021
  4. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

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    Compliments to you on your waist size, the waist height for those of us, for whom a waist size starts with a number three, is no more than a memory, is: Above or below the belly. Above hides a multitude of sins.

    Peacoat makes a valid point, I wear braces with all my trousers, when I wear an Aloha shirt that is not tucked in, the braces go underneath, but not against the skin, i wear T-shirts next to the skin.
     
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  5. BigBrother

    BigBrother One of the Regulars

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    But what I’m trying to do (or rather, the situation I’m trying to solve) is with casual T-shirts and whatnot, where again braces just don’t fit. Have a look at all the pics along the right in the attachment here.

    I wonder if perhaps I need a taller belt. I’ve been using those little thin whip ones, though some of these pants’ loops sort of require them.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. Benny Holiday

    Benny Holiday My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    I have mine tailored with a Hollywood waist and they have to be fitted right around the belly. I wear my trousers at the top of my navel (except for drape, that is zoot suit trousers, that go up to 2 inches higher). They should feel snug around your belly but not to the point of cutting you in half. I think it's all in the cut of the waist.
     
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  7. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

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    Wearing a belt is not my style, but when I could boast a waist size similar to your's, I wore two inch wide belts. I found that they held the trousers in place without the rucking appearance. Nowadays I much prefer to wear a casual shirt over the trousers with a T-shirt and braces underneath. That said, I mean a shirt that is designed to lend itself to being worn as such. Shirt tails hanging loose look slovenly but when the shirt hem is similar to that of a jacket the appearance has an air of casualness, like this.

    Cream baggies 001.JPG beige baggies 002.JPG old photos 585.JPG
    By the way, all my shirts and trousers are hand made by my talented wife.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2021
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  8. jglf

    jglf One of the Regulars

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    Were trousers that wide ever worn in the past? I remember back in the 8th grade kids wearing a jean brand called JNCO that were similar widths.
     
  9. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

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    Wide? They come nowhere near.

    bags.jpg
     
  10. Peacoat

    Peacoat Bartender Bartender

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    Interesting attire. I question, though, whether this was ever mainstream wear. All of the onlookers seemed amused by the trousers worn by our protagonist. Also interesting is that everyone in the pic is properly dressed. This was probably taken in England, but I imagine the same would be true in the US during that period.

    And @jglf I remember a kid or two wearing wide and heavily starched jeans like that in 1997. When they walked, their knees and legs moved under the material, and it appeared their legs weren't moving. Odd indeed.
     
  11. Alec Leamas

    Alec Leamas New in Town

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    I hear what you're saying about the cinching in of the belt rucking up the waistband of the trouser, resulting in them looking ridiculous. I have just found that getting the waistband size just right is essential and sometimes a regular rearrangement (pulling up the trousers a bit, retucking the shirt etc) is just what's needed.

    From what I can tell, the hollywood waistband style accounts for this a bit in that it draws the waistband in, but because the belt loops are dropped lower than the top of the trouser you don't get this annoying slippage of the waistband under the belt. When I can, I'll be purchasing a pair with the hollywood waistband, ideally from the genius Scott Fraser, but that may have to wait some time for me to be able to afford them. Beautiful trousers though!

    https://scottfrasercollection.com/product/classic-wide-leg-trousers
     
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  12. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    The photo above was taken during the 20s, and features an individual known to have had those particular trousers made that wide for a bet. Despite it being deliberate caricature, photos of him regularly appear in history books misrepresenting true Oxford bags. The real Oxford bags tended to have hems around 11"-12" across at the ankle. The monstrosities in the joke photos are what people think of, typically because the press at the time often mis-reported or weren't clear about their figures; often they would say they were 24" "across" rather than "at" the hem. 24" circumference was fairly normal for true Oxford bags, but never as a hem width. Of course, it has to be remembered that this was the mid twenties when trousers were still narrower, so you can imagine how outlandish they would look. Ten years later, 10" across the hem was very normal, quite conservative, even, and a gentleman who took a larger shoe size might want them a little wider for balance.
     
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  13. mullitt

    mullitt New in Town

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    The problem is that belts are just not that great as a pants holding device. There are always annoyances with a belt.
    I wouldn't tighten it so much that it hurts, but when I wear a pair of high waisted trousers with a belt there is definitely a sense of relief at the end of the day when I take them off, as opposed to wearing them with braces which is really the best technology for keeping up pants.
     
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  14. BigBrother

    BigBrother One of the Regulars

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    Yeah, I’m totally on this train now. I just wish I had a way to use braces with casual tops like short-sleeved knits. I just can’t think of any way. I tried them atop an A shirt with the knit on top of all that, and it was awful- too clunky and you could see the whole apparatus through the knit!

    I think I might just need wider belts. But, of course, that doesn’t work with these little tiny-looped old trousers!
     
  15. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

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    I am betting that you, Big Brother, much like me, have nothing in the way of hips. I have always had the same problem keeping anything but jeans/belt up securely, and even then I'm tugging them up all day. I also have no butt to speak of. There's just nothing for pants to hold onto.
    The braces under the shirt idea would be all swell and nifty--until you have to poop. Then you're in the same fix as ladies who wear fully fashioned undergarments: get in the stall and strip.
    I've never found a solution. I have pants I like to wear above my belly button (watch Key Largo for examples of what member BellyTank used to call "nipple scrapers." My wife calls them "fast talkin' high pants") but it's braces or nothing. Add to the no hips or seat problem my stubborn beyond midlife tummy and I'm screwed.
    Speaking of bellies, George Washington used to write his tailor in London asking for new suits/uniforms to be made up. He described his own shape (I'm the same height and weight) as "average," and always complained that everything was too tight.
    Cut to current times. Museum conservators, who have several examples of Washington's clothes, find that all the trouser fronts are permanently wrinkled and mashed down in the front. George had a respectable gut, but was vain enough to not admit it.
     
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  16. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

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    BigBrother, this is how I wear a 'T' shirt, underneath so that the support braces are not next to my skin.

    maroon baggies 003.JPG maroon baggies 004.JPG maroon baggies 005.JPG
     
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  17. BigBrother

    BigBrother One of the Regulars

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    Well just wanted to revisit this all this thread again as I have some great news! I wore, to a dance tonight, some OD World War II will trousers I bought for a civilian look over the C’s they are quite wide and had a greatWell just wanted to revisit this old-ish thread as I have some great news! I wore, to a dance tonight, some OD World War II wool trousers I bought for a civilian look (they are quite wide and had a great drape.) Well, while getting dressed, I considered using the standard military web belt instead of one of my usual thin whip ones and then thought to myself, “nah, I’ll try it next time. I really want to try one of the whip ones tonight as would be standard. But I’m very intrigued by this.” As usual, the pants felt way too tight and they slipped down throughout the night. When I came home, I decided to throw on the web belt and see the difference.

    Oh man! No comparison! Reemerged: comfort, the beautiful drape of a trouser kept at the right height, and my happiness and hope for all of this in the future!

    It really was just the width of the belt. I also really love these web belts because, as I’m sure you know, you can set them to exactly the right tightness. I always have my waist covered by some sort of top so it’s not like they would show in any sort of incorrect form (though something tells me these were probably common throughout the 40s and 50s in civilian wear anyway.) So yeah, that was it! I’m not sure who uses or how they used those whip belts but they just seem like a recipe for disaster. Maybe on a different frame or maybe I’m still missing something, but it doesn’t matter as I have found a solution for the perfect height all night… and comfortably!
     
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