Let me tell you something right away: I don’t have a very strong view on waistband styles. I’ll go through some of the more popular options below, but first allow me the indulgence to voice a huge pet peeve of mine when it comes to waistbands — the dreaded roll.
This is when the front of the waistband folds over itself and the inside is visible. This happens when the waistband is not reinforced with stiffening canvas. Without this important piece of kit, the dreaded roll occurs, and your otherwise finely made trousers look sloppy and unkempt. It can ruin the look of a suit entirely, so is a critical part of the trouser construction.
This is particularly a problem when the wearer has a VFT (very forward tummy, in tailor’s parlance). With a VFT, especially if one’s weight fluctuates as the years pass by, a waistband that rolls over will draw even more attention to your girth. Not a good look! Having said that, the problem of a too-soft waistband can also afflict a gentleman who does not have a VFT. It’s a common issue, and can be alleviated by having a proper stiffening canvas in the waistband. It’s a simple fix, and worth mentioning to your tailor when having trousers made.
So what about waistband styles? Like I said, I don’t have any big preferences here. On all of my bespoke and made-to-measure suits, I have a fairly traditional metal hook and eye closures, for both the fastening above the flies and the little extended bit to the right of centre. It’s a clean, practical look, and none of my waistbands roll over!
Beyond this fastening, though, there are other options, which I recently discussed with the team at Mogg Towers. Here are some of the thoughts from the chaps:
- For a lounge suit, there were mixed opinions on having a button or a metal hook and eye closure. The general view was that the latter was cleaner and preferable, but there was also an acknowledgement that a button closure also is a stylish option.
- The button closure is definitely appropriate for casual suit trousers or odd trousers.
- There are several options for a gentleman who wants to have an extended waistband (a great example of this is the Gurkha waist), although you should only opt for any extended waistband on odd trousers.
- Because of the formality, don’t opt for any waistband extension on evening trousers.
So, a bit of friendly advice on the various waistband styles you can go for. These tips can be tweaked as you wish, but the one thing that is non-negotiable is having trousers made without a rigid, stiffening canvas on the waistband (have I emphasised this point enough?). Avoid the dreaded waistband roll! If this potential pitfall is averted, whichever style you choose will look infinitely better. BTWB/MM/YS