If you’ve paid attention to the heavy hitters in classic menswear, you’ll notice a few “trends” in common: wide lapels, a movement away from “slim fit”, cuffs/turn ups, and high waisted trousers. While most of these things have been embraced by most in the community at large, it’s always that last point that is met with such contention. So we decided to write about why we love wearing high waisted trousers! And hopefully, you’ll be persuaded to try them for yourself.
Andreas Weinas in high rise, single pleat trousers.
Let’s first get into the classical reasons behind a high rise. Menswear is all about the proportions and a high waisted trouser plays into that. As you can probably already tell, having a trouser sit at the natural waist (around the belly button rather than the hips) has the pleasant result of making your legs appear longer and slimmer, as well as covering your waist if you have a gut. It’s not just a fashion move for shorter guys, as a long leg line flatters practically everyone. Even if you are on the tall side, going for a medium rise is still acceptable. These trousers combined with the jacket makes for a classically masculine look, as the trouser’s silhouette plays with the strong upper body of the jacket’s drape. This is how suits have been traditionally made for years, whether you have something made bespoke in Italy or the UK.
Tapered high rise trousers, worn by Salvador Dali (left) in the 1930s.
Low rise looks bad.
It’s a big contrast to fast-fashion or the tailoring you find at the mall, which unfortunately typically feature a low rise. A lower rise often offers a less flattering take on proportions which not only make your legs look stubby but even makes your stomach hang over the waistband of the trousers. When worn under a jacket, it also results in the dreaded “shirt triangle” which is when your shirt is visible in between the buttoning point of the jacket and the top of your trouser waistband. Overall, it’s a fairly new invention in menswear that had its roots from the popularity of low rise denim. If you look at all the well dressed men from every era like Clark Gable, Sean Connery, or even Ralph Lauren, you’ll all see them in high waisted trousers.
Bond in high rise trousers.
Now the second reason to try a high rise is simply for the sake of fashion. Simply put, it’s a detail that is seldom seen, typically only by guys in menswear who are “in the know”. If you look closely, you’ll know that in menswear, they use a high rise in everything from their odd trousers to their jeans and chinos, showing that a high-rise is incredibly versatile and not just for suits. To them it’s tradition; to your friends who probably shop at the mall, it’s akin to being a trailblazer for bringing back this “grandpa” style move.
High rise denim.
It’s made even better when you go with extra details that make the trouser more fun. Flat front trousers can be boring, so Pleats are the main way guys help add an extra flair (with the bonus of having more room in the leg for those gym gains) by adding visual interest. However, side tabs are probably the real baller move. Not only do they help keep the pant fitted at the natural waist, but it results in a clean, uninterrupted look that is normally challenged by the use of a belt that visually bisects your body. As a result, it makes a high rise perfect for adding an extra twist to anything, whether it’s a traditional take on suit trousers or for a casual pant worn with a tee shirt.
Ralph Lauren. See how the trousers and buttoning point meet.
All of these reasons are why we prefer high rise trousers and in turn, why the gurkha trouser is one of our most beloved products that we offer. With its self-belted, interlocking buckle closure (with its roots in the British military), it is certainly an old school-yet-fresh take on the the high waisted trouser. We’ve committed ourselves to making menswear more casual and easily accessible, which is why we always offer it dressed-down fabrics like cotton, linen, and Japanese denim. When you wear them, you’ll get all the benefits of a high waisted trouser with interesting details, freeing you to dress them up or down as you see fit.
Kaymen in our camp collar shirt (Coming Soon...) and Cornflower Blue Gurkha Trousers.
Keep your legs long and looking sharp, gentlemen.