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Fit Guides

How tapered trousers should fit

How tapered trousers should fit

The trouser – or more specifically, the tapered trouser – is enjoying something of a renaissance of late. Once the fixture in nearly every man’s wardrobe pre-1950s, this smart style is back on the style menu in menswear. Only this time around, it’s staking its claim as a smart casual staple – the kind you’d wear not with wingtip shoes and a fedora hat, but a laid-back tee and box-fresh kicks.

And, like most formalwear items that undergo casual-ification (see also the shirt), the way the item should fit has also changed. “Today’s tapered trousers combine more of a relaxed aesthetic with a hint of tailoring,” says Thread stylist Toby Standing. “They’re a great option for when you want something slightly more considered than a straight or relaxed fit, but less formal than dress trousers.” How you style them is up to you, of course, but the fit? We’ve got you covered.


“Not as slender as a slim fit, but not as relaxed as a wide leg, tapered trousers should feel neither too tight nor too baggy,” Toby says. That means that the seat – or the rear end – should lay flat, without feeling like it’s restricting your movement.


“Tapered trousers shouldn’t feel like they’re clinging to your leg, especially at the thigh,” Toby says. Some styles may even include subtle pleats at the waist to enhance the tapered silhouette – these should fall naturally, and not pull apart as a result of the trousers being too tight. 


“Your trousers should start tapering at the knee, getting slimmer towards the ankle. The taper should be subtle – anything too drastic that clings to your calf will mess up your proportions and may look over-styled.”


A rolled-up ankle can take your trousers in a more casual direction, making them the perfect alternative on days you want to switch out your usual jeans. When turned up at the hems, the trousers should sit just above your ankles, so they don’t extend over your shoes. 

If you’re pairing them with low-top shoes, you may want to consider your sock choice. Something that coordinates with the rest of your outfit – a plain white pair with beige tapered trousers, for example – is best (rather than the bright novelty socks you got for Christmas that one time).

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Words: Ashlie Brombley
Photography: Jack Batchelor
Styling: Toby Standing
Styling assistant: Taylor Tunaley