One of the most commonly repeated mistakes men make, when wearing trousers, is in wearing them on or below their hips. It’s the most unflattering and boyish option for the male physique and not particularly comfortable.
Classic, well-tailored trousers look best when sitting on your natural waist (above your hips, where your waist narrows). Sitting in this position lets the trousers to hang comfortably, without the need for a belt to be pulled tightly, just to keep them up. With the trousers sitting at your waist, your hip bones act as a natural barrier to them falling down as easily, meaning the belt can do less work, adding to the overall feeling of comfort. With trousers below your waist, you’ll find yourself constantly pulling your pants up during the day, which most of us get used to, but once you have your pants above your hips, it’s hard to ever go back.
Aesthetically, with the trousers sitting in their correct position, it has the visual effect of lengthening your legs and shortening your torso, which makes for a more visually appealing sense of proportion.
Traditionally, for trousers being worn in this position, pleats are added to allow the cloth to clear the hip-bones and drape in a clean line to your shoes. The added benefit (or primary one, depending on your priorities) is that the pleats make for even more comfortable wearing, as they’ll expand as you sit down, removing the likelihood of any tightness across your thighs.
Being worn on your waist also allows for side adjusters or braces to be used in place of a belt, allowing for small adjustments to be made for the perfect fit. Side adjusters aren’t a realistic option on hip-worn trousers, as they don’t have the necessary strength to defy gravity like a belt can give.
For most casual trousers (chino’s, jeans etc)these can be worn lower, if you prefer. The lower they are, the more casual they’ll appear. I wear summers linens and chino’s with pleats on my waist, but my jeans sit on my hips. Any higher and they don’t look right, in large part because they’re flat fronted and flat fronted pants usually look wrong when worn too high.
The first time your wear your trousers in the classic, waisted position, it will feel odd, but have some faith and stay with it for a couple of weeks and you’ll find it hard to go back to wearing your pants on or below your hips.
The final word is that if most of your trousers have been made with a lower position in mind (as most ready to wear trousers are these days), it may not be possible to simply lift them up, as the cut would mean they’ll become very tight in the crotch. If wearing trousers on your waist is something you’ve decided you’d prefer in the future, just be aware of this when making future purchases and choose pants which will sit properly, above the hips. Most makers vary the height with which they cut their waist and crotch, from model to model, so unless you’re having trousers made for you, you’ll need to try different cuts until you find one which works for you.