How to Find the Best Athletic Tactical Dress Suit, Part 1, Pants9 min read
In a world of protective agents, bodyguards, veterans, and any smart guy who chooses to conceal-carry, my short article can steer you in the proper direction when looking for a suit. Well, I just decided to make this a series of articles so kick back and enjoy. Here is Part 1. I will begin with an article on how to select trousers.
I’ve been wanting to write this series for a while. Seeing as I’ve been into sharp clothing for a very long time, and that my brother has been tailoring pants and shirts for himself for as long as I can remember, I thought why not. We brought you a killer product review on the Ministry of Supply’s wicking, athletic business suit shortly as that will make you think of actor Keanu Reeves in the role of assassin John Wick.
Back in the day when tailored clothing was solely for the wealthy, people like my uncle used to cut corners and do it themselves. He’d take his simple, white cotton shirts and dye them different colors, and walk around Pittsburg, Pennsylvania with a matching colored kerchief. Today, in a world of easy-made online retail, solutions and selections on smart men’s wear is readily available.
The business world is filled with the ranks of athletically built men. Many can count themselves as the savvy founders of some very successful companies. Think of former Army Ranger Griff, from Combat Flip Flops, or Navy SEALS Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. Some smart types are veterans of the military and others serve in some kind of law-enforcement capacity. Do you think they conceal carry? Of course they do.
Wearing a suit to a meeting to see the boss or if you’re the boss is very important. Being dressed in the latest and greatest bespoked suit doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be strapped when walking outdoors. You need to look good when picking up a client, but more importantly you need a suit that fits.
I’m writing this series of articles because I wanted the guys who carry guns, to be able to spot proper fitting dress wear, if they happened to stumble across our site.
First off, you have to know what kind of body type that you have. Getting a great fitting suit isn’t an easy task for someone who is built more like James Bond then George Costanza of the show Seinfeld, but it’s not impossible.
Back in the day when action movie stars like Steve Reeves rocked the silver screen as Hercules instead of The Rock, they went to a tailor and had their suits custom-made. The chest and shoulders of today’s modern man looks a lot different from the guy of yesteryear.
Ever see Bogie on the beach? How about Sinatra? They were skinny guys but the suit made the man. Guys today need jackets with wider shoulders, narrower waists, roomier thighs for the trousers and space in the pelvic region for carrying a pistol or some other every day carry (EDC) such as a radio.
Today, a guy with a frame like Schwarzenegger is going to have an easier time finding a jacket with wider shoulders, and room for his biceps and triceps, to flex when he’s choking the poop out of someone who is trying to be funny.
Why choose a well fitting suit in the first place? Running and gunning, right? If you have an active lifestyle and need to get from point to A point B you’re going to need a suit that fits properly when you’re escorting your client, wrestling a nuisance away, sitting on an airplane, or front kicking a guy in his grill for getting too close.
You ever thought about pulling a pistol out of your jacket? Having the right cut coat and trouser will help you do this with more ease than when wearing a K-mart bought jacket. Can you squat down in your pants? Could you throw a punch while wearing your jacket? Did the jacket tear?
I will likely use the term trouser or pants interchangeably. Keep in mind that trousers are “an item of clothing worn from the waist to the ankles, covering both legs separately (rather than with cloth extending across both legs as in robes, skirts, and dresses). In the UK, the word “pants” generally means underwear and not trousers.” We call our trousers, here in the U.S., pants.
Notice the high waisted trousers, or the pegged pants with cuffs?
Generally someone with an athletic build will have these features:
- Wide shoulders
- Narrow waist
- Wide back
- Fuller Chest
- Bigger arms and forearms
- Thicker in the thighs and calves.
Choose your suit wisely
Choose your suit wisely. The trendy new look of the “mod” cut that I see everywhere today is a throwback to the mod style of the 1960’s from London but doesn’t work well for many that are trying to copy it. Why? Wearing stove-pipe pants (straight leg), non-pleated/flat front trousers and a narrow jacket with small lapels can backfire on guys with larger features.
Basically, you’ll look like a gorilla in a suit. It isn’t professional looking and it’s going to limit your ability to move fluidly. My recommendation, if you want to be trendy, is to get the suit tailored to fit you properly if this trendy look is the look you prefer. Modern suits today are generally straight in the leg and are cut short in length and generally end right above the rise of the back heel of a shoe. Jackets tend to be narrower in the trunk. A less modern look will have a little more fabric in the seat and is less fitted around the thighs and buttocks.
Pleats: The topic on pleats is often debated. I’ve seen how writer’s and fashion experts recommend or don’t recommend pleats on the pants. Trendy types like to state that it makes the body look slimmer. The reality is pleats for starters can make a short person look wider, and are generally reserved for a taller person. Same as wearing a double-breasted jacket on a shorter person; this is usually ill-advised for a fashion tip.
Guys with large shoulders and small waists might be able to get away with having pleated pants but the choice is yours. Try to go with practical first before fashion.
Below, Pleated pants
If you’re looking for practicality keep in mind that wearing pleated trousers is going to provide more room for a pistol/in-waist-band holster (IWB) combination. Non-pleated trousers and slim-cut trousers usually fit closer to your abdomen than pleated trousers. Pleats can give you a bit more space for your upper thighs and work to provide comfort and movement for you. If you are bigger in the waist, a pleated trouser is the way to go, because a flat front will look tight, and may feel constricting.
A jacket will cover the trouser. Go for a single pleat on each side rather than multiple pleats to stay trendy. You’ll want room for your hands to go into your pockets and will be thankful for the comfort.
Below, Non-Pleated pants
Cuffs: Pleats generally go with cuffed pants. Tradition dictated that a cuffed trouser hem was most formal and a classy mark for the distinguished man. I’ve seen straight, legged “mod” cut trousers with cuffs but this can be a weird look for larger guys and might not look well. It may give the appearance of an upside down bowling pin; large thighs with peg-legged pants and cuffs is off-putting. You want smart lines for your utility dress wear.
Honestly, your trouser hem can be cuffed or un-cuffed, depending on your build and preferences. Cuffs are usually 2.5cm to 3.25cm (1-1.5inches) but any longer or shorter is less “smart” looking. Clearly personal preferences or fashion dictates what people choose. A taller/wider cuff can take away from a man’s height while those with shorter legs, as I stated prior, can make a man look shorter. Whatever you choose, just be sure to have no excess fabric hanging loose or billowing, like MC Hammer.
Waistband: Waistbands should have some type of elasticity to it. This is useful when your stomach expands or shrinks throughout the day, and the band should also have some kind of gripper tape stitched to it. The gripper tape is a special rubberized application to the waistband insert and provides a “grip” that helps hold the shirt material, front and back.
It keeps you looking crisp and put together after wrestling a fanatic. A higher waistband gives the illusion of longer legs but have you practiced pulling your pistol from your waistband? Something to think about.
Pockets are seen on the front, rear and side of the trouser. Slant pockets are put on pleated trousers while straight pockets are put on flat front trousers (non-pleated). Ensure your pockets are wide enough and deep enough to carry your wallet or EDC without bulging.
Loops: Ensure they are well stitched because it’s likely you’ll have your holster hoops affixed to your belt; the added weight can wear the fabric of your pants down over time.
Also, an IWB gun can add strain to a solitary button. Yes, pants without loops looks sleeker but what if your button pops off? Ensure you purchase pants with belt loops. Need I say more? Okay, it’s so you can wear a good, reliable belt that can be used as a tourniquet or with a big buckle to sock people with or whatever you choose.
Trousers Length and Width
Proportions are important. Put on the trousers and walk around the shop. Are you wearing high waters? Your trousers should drape slightly over the top of your shoes and if they do not they are too short for professional wear. Trousers can be wide, narrow, or straight legged. Trousers that are too long in the leg destroys the drape. You should have a proper break on the length of your pants.
Rise: The rise is the distance from the middle of the crotch seam (right between your legs) to the top of the waistband. It usually ranges from 7 inches to 12 inches. Trouser rise is important because it determines where your pants sit on your body, which in turn creates your perceived waistline.
The rise length affects the fit around your crotch. Back in the day, Chuck Norris used to market a pair of jeans with a gusset sewn into it. This allowed him to do chop-socky round house kicks in the mouths of bad guys.
You do not want a billowy fit at the crotch or sagging, however do look for a comfortable fit. Can you squat down comfortably? Can you raise your leg up to your nose (ha ha) well, can you raise your leg straight out as if to give a front kick? Good. If you can’t sit comfortably in a chair all day during a plane flight or meeting, think again, and size it right. Don’t have too much material in the seat of your pants or you’ll look clownish.
Fly: Ensure that your zipper is the proper length. A short zipper, such as 5″ opening, on a pair of trousers will make it unusable.
Lining: Look inside the trouser. Does it have a lining inside of it? The lining supports the look of the trouser and increases comfort by absorbing sweat. Try to find a pair with lining at least to the knee. Cheaply made brands usually lack this, and it is crucial to the drape of the trouser.
Coming soon Part 2, Socks> We’ll also get into materials to use as well.
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