Why Do Old Guys Wear Their Pants So High?

High-waisted pants are commonly identified with old geezers, but even young geezers now wear them as a personal fashion choice.

Male retirees are often identified, apart from their physiological appearance, as wearing chunky tennis shoes, windbreakers, baseball caps, and pants high on the waist. But now, wearing your pants just below the belly button can be a personal style choice.

Wearing skin-tight blue jeans with tears is more identifiable with adolescents or the just-turned-adult crew, but in reality, high-waisted trousers are not just limited to elderly males.

Graceful and sexy, pants designed with a high waist are also a fashion statement for younger generations. They are a natural match for bomber jackets or other cropped styles making them fashionable and stylish. 

Once High-Waisted Trousers Were the Norm

For approximately thirty years, beginning in the 1920s right through the 1950s, trousers had a high rise or a more extended length from the crotch seam to the pant top.

1920s right through the 1950s, trousers had a high rise

These pants were designed to sit at one’s natural waist or just at the level of the belly button. The body is at its widest point at the belly button and so visually it is where the body is divided between pants and shirts. 

The high waist design also contributed to making legs appear longer because legs appear to begin at a higher point.

For those with shorter legs or those that are shorter in height, this high waist design could be very flattering. With a defined waist, your appearance is more polished, and shirts will usually remain tucked inside your pants.

Another consideration is that back then, suspenders were used more often than belts. Even the blue jeans designed by Levi Strauss were a waist-level creation for more or less a century.

But it didn’t end there. Even trousers as recently as the 1980s and 1990s were created with higher waistlines.

Why Do Old Guys Wear Their Pants So High?

Many men lose weight as they age, and regardless of if they are slim or not, they will lose muscle mass in the glutei especially if they are not involved in some type of physical fitness regime.

As a result, a belt may not be sufficient to keep pants up, so pants are pulled high enough so that a belt may end up resting on the hips. 

If an older gentleman is overweight and maintains a “gut”, trousers may not stay up underneath the gut, so again pants are pulled up higher to help keep them in place.

Suspenders keep pants high

Suspenders also lend themselves to a higher position of trousers on the body. Also, today’s elderly wore higher-waisted pants when they were younger due to the fashion of the day. They may simply feel more comfortable wearing the same style of pants with the feel of the higher waistline design.

A final consideration may be a medical one. Many elderly suffer from osteoporosis. There may be a shortening of the upper body accompanied by the flattening of disks in the spinal cord.

An elderly gentleman may be wearing his pants as he always has, but the transformation of his body shape with age may contribute to this appearance.

High-Waisted Trousers Today

Nowadays, there are multiple pant styles, and high-waisted trousers are still available. High-rise trousers are not intended to rest on the hips as jeans are. Some will even feature pleats, flattering the legs.

A Fashion Faux Pas

When wearing slacks with a jacket, you don’t want your trousers to just meet the jacket’s button stance, because there will be a visible gap between where the jacket buttons are and where the slacks arrive.

You don’t want that small gap showing the shirt to be visible. Visually the jacket should transition to the trousers seamlessly.

How to Make Slacks Appear Higher at the Waist

If you prefer the look of a higher waist but a particular pant Is not designed as such you can buy a higher waist size. Because the rise of the pants will be longer, the pants will sit higher on the body.

The pant waist can then be taken in by a tailor, but the style is now high-waisted. You may also have to adjust the thigh area as well as the pant seat. Although this option will require a tailor to do alterations.

vintage slacks that are high-waisted An alternative is to look for vintage slacks that are high-waisted. Pants from the 1970s, 80s, and 90s were designed higher.

When searching for vintage high-waisted slacks, look for a longer fly. When the fly appears to be inordinately long, you’ve found a high-waisted pair of slacks. 

A final alternative is to have slacks custom-made.

What Kind of Slacks Should Have a High Waist?

While blue jeans and casual pants will feature a slower rise, suit pants, dress slacks, or chinos are more adapted to a higher waist design.

Dressier slacks are expected to drape the legs and feature straight creases or lines. They should sit at the belly button, but not below it and they should never sag. 

Pants should flatter your body type. They should not shorten your legs visually or cause your body to appear disproportioned.

Should Pants Be Worn Over the Gut?

Each person will have a personal answer to this question. Many men prefer slacks that are low-rise for comfort or because they prefer this style. Other men may prefer the high-waist design for the same reasons.

Undoubtedly, the development of a pot belly with age may encourage the habit of pulling trousers up higher to keep them from falling either with a belt or suspenders.

The heavier or more overweight one is, the more pronounced wearing pants under the gut will be. Men tend to increase abdominal fat as they age.

As a result, pants will either be forced further down below the stomach or higher up above it. A notable increase in abdominal weight, especially in overweight men can contribute to the appearance of trousers arriving below nipples.

Whatever the reason, pants should be comfortable while affording a nice appearance that is neither tight-fitting nor baggy. 

Stephen Luettgen
I have 12+ years of experience in construction, inspections, handy work, and currently working as a Construction Site Manager. In today’s day we spent a significant part of our time at workplace and a right work gear can have significant impact not only on your safety but also work quality.

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