Are nice adjustable dress trousers a thing?

Are nice adjustable dress trousers a thing?

Q.  Each winter I gain about 10 pounds which I then lose from my activities in spring and summer. I’d like to change this but it’s pretty consistent. So it all means that most of my pants get tight just around the waist. Is it acceptable to move the button on a pair of trousers to get myself an extra half inch? I’d rather not give up and just get larger pants.

A. Most of us have times when our weight fluctuates, but it is not usually so consistent. I’ll skip suggestions on how to maintain your size and jump to the specifics of your question. Depending on the tailoring and the placement of the button or other fastener, there is often room to adjust by 1/2 to 3/4 inch. But is it a good idea? There are a number of factors in your decision.

First and foremost, if the pants are not fitting correctly in any other area, then the answer is “no.” This includes the seat, the inseam, a pulling at the zipper, if the insides of your pockets are pushed out, or the seams show any strain. There is also the risk that any increase in your waist size will make a pair of trousers shorter; so, it’s important to look at that as well.

Now we’ll consider the scenario in which all of those are still fine with the adjustment you suggest. In this case, the primary concern is that the button move might be visible. Your belt may actually cover the small area that is let out.

An option to consider (still assuming it is a given that you will gain and lose this weight), are pants that are adjustable at the waist. In the past it was understood that this meant lower quality trousers and something that would be noticed by anyone who is fashion-observant. This isn’t necessarily true anymore. These days many trousers offer side adjustable tabs; they range from lower priced pairs available online to such upscale men’s shops as Paul Stewart’s. These are generally worn without a belt. Also some fine quality trousers are made of high-end wool with a small percentage of stretch in the fabric for an up-to-date slim fit.

For another option, consider trousers designed to be worn with braces (often called suspenders). When tailored correctly, these are slightly larger at the waistline and the fit is looser. Wearing braces rather than a belt lessens the cinching at the waist and some of the issues you suggest.

And keep in mind that winter is the ideal time for sweaters. They are a perfect camouflage for covering a man’s waistline. I believe that business/dress shirts should always be worn tucked in and that sweaters should never be tucked in. Because the bottom of the sweater covers the top of the trousers, it can pretty much solve your temporary problem.

Still, you do have one more option: underwear that is designed to “tuck” you in. They are widely available online. Look for such descriptions as: “body shapers,” “tummy control,” and “men’s shape-wear.” Despite what you may think, they are not uncomfortable.

Of course, as I mentioned last week when discussing corduroys, there certainly are winter- weight trousers. You might consider the larger-size waist for those, while still keeping the smaller size for the other seasons’ trousers. Though I understand you would rather not make the additional purchase of “give up” as you describe, still, reality ad comfort do have their advantages. 

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