Try On Your Pants In Public

Find the right size without dealing with the hassle of an indecency charge.
Photo: Everett Collection

Don't be this guy

It seems like guys should have no trouble finding a pair of pants that fit properly. Aside from a few stubborn holdouts—we’re looking at you, Sternberg—men’s jeans, trousers, and chinos are sized according your waist in inches. No murkiness, no arbitrary S/M/L designation, just simple, empirically verifiable measurements. Foolproof, right? Wrong. Just ask any guy who wears three different sizes from three different brands, and you’ll see. Standardization ain’t this system’s strong point.

Which means that when you’re perusing the racks at your favorite shop, or (like the Gilt MANual staff) opening up that recently delivered package, you can’t escape that question: Will they actually fit?

And while you could always try them on, sometimes the prospect is just plain unappealing, especially when there’s the danger of going through the whole rigmarole for something that doesn’t even button all the way. Plus, as many a guy who’s had a purchase sent to the office knows, the modern workplace can be less than understanding of the midday costume change.

So how do you try on your pants without actually trying them on? Simple. Just take the buttoned waistband, and wrap it around your neck. It looks a bit strange, to be sure, but it’s a consistently reliable indicator of whether they’ll fit around your midsection. If the waistband makes the trip completely, with only a touch of slack, you should be good to go. If not, it’s time to give up on that pair.  What you do next—hit the gym, curse the heavens, just grab another size—is up to you.

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  1. Sean says:

    I’ve done this for years, never fails.

  2. Fausto says:

    This does not really work on wrestlers or athletic build guys with thick necks. Rough estimate though, yes.

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