Pants Rise Guide 2022: Low Vs Medium Vs High Rise Trousers

pants riselength does matter

In today’s article we will discuss and explain pants rise.

What is a trouser rise and what do we mean by low, medium and high rise trousers.

We will also discuss what is better for your body type or height.

Let’s get cracking shall we?

not the first thing you think about

That’s right.

The rise of your pants is probably not the first thing you think about when you begin your sartorial journey.

In fact, many of us don’t even think about it afterwards.

Pants with the “wrong” rise for you can create a disjointed mess and actually cause discomfort.

Once there was a really nasty comment by an individual (who would be a blast at parties) that brought the term “trouser rise” to my attention.

In the beginning I did not pay much attention but some of the other keyboard warriors online mentioned it as well.

Of course, coincidence that happens more than once stops being a coincidence.

And then I began researching the subject a bit more and experimenting for the past 2 years.

Disclaimer: Intro Picture originally sourced from Primer Magazine.

What is pants rise?

Whether you say “Trouser Rise” or “Pants Rise” in essence you are talking about the same thing.

The distance from the crotch seam between your legs to the top of the waistband.

This distance can usually range between 7-13 inches depending on the size of the trousers.

Low, Medium & High Rise

Depending on the rise, you can classify them into low, medium and high.

Pants Rise Gentleman's Gazette
A helpful infographic by Gentleman’s Gazette to show the difference of low, medium and high rise

Low rise trousers have the smallest rise (number from above) and will sit below your natural waistline.

Then you got medium rise trousers, which rest between your navel and hipbone for a nice balance.

Lastly, there is the high rise pants that rest along your natural waistline.

Or belly button for easier reference.

why is pants rise important?

Trouser rise can create an illusion of where your waistline is.

It can be a great ally or an enemy because you can really alter your appearance.

Get the rise wrong and you will create a disproportionate mess.

However get it right and you could create a balanced silhouette or appear taller.

I had no idea about that when I started and frankly, it is all I can see nowadays.

After my first experience with Lanieri I started to favor higher waisted trousers.

What dictates trouser rise?

The rise of trousers is something that fashion seems to dictate and varies with time.

If you look at the 1930’s and later there was a clear favor towards high-waisted trousers.

As fashion took over in the last few decades and global consumerism caters to the average individual you can mostly find low-rise trousers off the rack.

This means that if you want to buy medium or high rise pants you need to either go Bespoke, Custom or browse the few select retailers.

what rise is best?

There is no definitive answer to that and each has its pros and cons.

Let’s begin with some explanations or thoughts about each one of them.

Low Rise pants

Here’s the part where I should say “it depends” but to be fair I cannot think of a situation that a low-rise trouser will look better than a medium one.

After my experience with Suitsupply I absolutely loathe them, because I have to once again slowly rebuild my wardrobe to get rid of their trousers.

When working there we used to proudly spew lies that our rise is a bit higher than usual to the clients.

Higher than what? The Marianna Trench?

Suitsupply Jort
One of my favorite suits, but you can see how the low rise and higher button stance creates a gap in between

In any case, my biggest problem with low rise trousers is how I keep having to pull them up.

Every time you bend or do some movement it just drops, because there’s no pelvic bone to keep them up.

And when you pull them up as much as you want, you are compressing your balls and your gentleman’s sausage.

If you are a person with a short torso and longer legs, low rise trousers might be a good idea to prolong it and have a more balanced look.

You should totally avoid these as a bigger man since your belly will flop around over the trousers.

Lastly, low rise trousers are at their worst when you are wearing suit separates or stark color differences with a belt.

I’d rather listen to Rebecca Black for a month rather than purchase willingly low rise pants again.

medium rise pants

As mentioned before, medium rise trousers sit between your naval and hip bones.

I struggled to write more in this section since it would be the most standard, failproof rise for most people.

When I tried certain medium rise trousers for the first time my lower crotch felt so much comfier however.

I also got a nicer fit on my shirts, where buttons did not pop up at all the wrong places.

pants rise
Here in my Spier & Mackay Suit which has a medium rise

It also fixed the issue of button stance on my jackets by covering up more space up top.

On the other hand low rise trousers create an unsightly small triangle between the top of the trousers and bottom of the jacket.

If your torso and legs generally have similar proportions, you cannot go wrong with a medium rise.

high rise pants

If you like comfort, have short legs, skirt effect jackets or want to look taller, high rise trousers are the way to go.

Sitting at your bellybutton (or natural waist), they might take some time to get used to.

They will not work well for everyone but they can change your perceived proportions dramatically.

I liked mine so much from Lanieri that all my future suit/dressier trousers will have a higher rise.

Lanieri Review High Rise Trousers
Lanieri Review | High Rise Trousers with modern single pleats

It is also a style that can look nice with modern pleats in my opinion.

Some other advantage is that there seems to be more space to hide things such as your phone in your pockets.

Honestly I do hope mid-high rise trousers will make a comeback and become more popular.

However do note that they don’t look good on everyone or those that already have a shorter torso.

Lastly, others might really not enjoy the feeling of having trousers on their bellybutton area.

where to buy higher waisted trousers

Ah this is the “fun” part.

We established that since fashion favors low rise trousers, it becomes much harder to find higher rise trousers.

There are a few select companies here and there but you have to look around.

Immediately three that spring to mind are:

But usually if you are looking for such dress trousers or chinos your option become more specific.

You are in need of either Bespoke (more expensive) or Made To Order/Made To Measure (more affordable).

Bespoke garments are self explanatory, where a tailor takes your measurements and creates something specifically for you.

MTO and MTM is an industry that is booming especially online.

Cavour Bottle Green Trousers review
Cavour Bottle Green Trousers Review | Wearing them with some black classic derbies
cavour trousers
A stranger outfit I tried with my Cavour Trousers

There are few great companies out there that can customize the pants rise for you.

My current go-to is Lanieri whose trousers fit me perfectly and can be customized up to 6 cm.

In fact, I liked Lanieri so much that I bought another pair of trousers and a new suit last week.

I will make a nice comparison of the same pants with their Suitsupply counterpart.

Spier & Mackay can also make MTM trousers so if you are in North America make sure to check them out.

Another shop that I am really fond of is Yeossal, a Singaporean shop making exceptional shoes and not only.

They make a bunch of awesome custom clothes such as polos, safari jackets and of course trousers.

With the plethora of options out there it is impossible to mention everyone, but most competent shops out there will have such options.

The choice is yours!

what about me then?

In the last paragraph I mentioned how much I love the Lanieri trouser fit on me.

Those were my first high rise pants and now I got a second, which will eventually help me update my wardrobe.

All the unnecessary Suitsupply suits will be phased out as they don’t cut the mustard anymore.

First suit guide
One of my first ever suits, shoes and photos from 2018 which clearly shows how low the average trouser rise is

When you nail your measurements custom trousers are totally awesome and I cannot go back!

I enjoy the freedom, comfort and stylistic look of these trousers, which are modern and won’t make you look like Steve Urkel.

As for you, take each case individually and think about your body type and dressing style.

For the average individual however, I would really recommend trying medium rise pants for a change.

Conclusions

Opinions are like buttholes, everybody has one.

What I say about trouser rise might (or might not) be relevant or helpful.

There is no denying however that certain trousers look better on certain people, looks, weights and outfits.

Experiment with different things, get out of your comfort zone and find the style that suits you best.

Asking a few people for their honest feedback can be beneficial, but avoid large groups where people simply compliment each other.

That concludes this short and hopefully informative guide on trouser rise!

Let me know if you found it helpful or if there is a topic you would like me to discuss!

Thank you for reading,

Kostas Mandilaris,
Misiu Academy

Comments (14)

Another great post. Never bought a Suitsupply suit. The pants fit so low and tight.

I struggled with them a lot, I always had to pull them up and they always made my balls uncomfortable. I am sure you can fix this in made to measure or custom made but that ship has long sailed for me.

Hi, I am confused, I own nothing but Suitsupply suits, the Lazio(I LOVE them) and all the pants are high rise, in fact I would not want them any higher, please comment

Hi Gary, unless you made your suits custom I cannot see how the rise is high.

Does your trouser sit at your belly button?

You can measure the crotch area and see what your rise is.

The only thing I can think of is that you might be a bit shorter and have a smaller torso or pelvis.

A perfect high-rise starts for me around 30cm, but 33 is better. I love the feel.

Likewise!

Next week if I can get some good pictures, I will compare Suitsupply trousers and Lanieri trousers made from the same fabric, to see the quality and feel. The Lanieri has a high rise, the Suitsupply one a low one.

It will be an interesting visual comparison!

Polish store https://www.poszetka.com has a pretty good of the rack high waisted trousers. They also come with horn buttons and suspender buttons and the price is unbeatable, especially if you shop via Polish version of the web site. Plus they run a sale on their winter collection now

Thanks Dmitriy,

I have heard great things about Poszetka from friends especially for their ties and pocket squares. I hope to check them out in the future!

I can confirm those things too! Their ties and pocket squares are amazing, especially at that price point. They’ve got all the hallmarks of quality items without pushing the envelope too much to stay affordable.
One more thing that I can add is that I wear jackets and trousers in size 46 from Suit Supply and most other brands. For Poszetka’s jackets (and a coat) I had to go one size up. But for trousers I needed size 45 – either 44 or 46 were a misfit and I had to tailor the waistband. Apparently I still have a waist after these two horrible corona years. So without an option to buy a mix and match suits I can’t go for their suit – going 1.5 sizes down on trousers is way too much

Thanks for the tips! I will certainly put them on the list!

Levi’s it’s introducing ( at last!) medium/high rise for men’s denim. “So High Bootcut” is my favorite slack right now.

It has been hard to find higher rise jeans for me. Glad to see so!

[…] crop top, pair it with a top that has a high waist. If you want to make a statement, pair your high-rise pants or shorts with casual clothing. Right now, trousers with a high rise are in high demand. Crop tops […]

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