Ask a Washington, D.C. Expert: How to Find the Right Fit in Pants

April 8, 2014 9:00 AM

(credit: Thinkstock)

Local designer Kim Schalk knows the struggle women have with finding the right fit of pants. Here are her tips for buying the right fit for your body type.

Kim Schalk
(703) 622-5176

Kim Schalk is a cutting-edge designer with a flair for sophisticated vintage design, while also creating futuristic looks. The Lincoln, NE native, now based in Alexandria, Va., draws inspiration from everything around her, and sometimes from whatever happens to manifest itself on her mannequin. However the inspiration comes, Schalk manages to make unique pieces with quality materials, while keeping prices affordable. By adding even just one of her pieces to your outfit, you will elevate your look and immediately stand out.

Look At The Waistband

“When you’re buying pants, look at the waistband,” Schalk suggests. “The piece of fabric on top that goes all the way around and usually sits on your hips or waist is what we call the waistband. To avoid “muffin top,” she suggests you look at the waistband of the pants to ensure they won’t cut into your sides.

For Shorter Buyers

Being short and buying pants can be a hassle for many reasons, especially if trying to find pants that aren’t too long. But when it comes to fit, Schalk says “high waist, very fitted pants tend to be unflattering.” If you are shorter, she suggests you look for pants with, “fitted thigh, from hip to thigh.” Avoid buying pants with “too much of a bell.” Bell-bottomed pants may look great too you, but they “will make you look shorter.” So if you’re short and don’t want to draw attention to it, look for pants with a fitted thigh and not too much flaring.

Rise Is Important

“The rise has to fit, you can’t fix the rise,” Schalk says. When getting tailored pants, this obviously isn’t an issue because a tailor will measure this. But when buying off the rack, Schalk insists that you make sure the rise fits. “Cinch the back of the pants and pull them tight. If they fit okay, then they can be taken in,” she continues. “If not, there is nothing you can do to fix the rise.”

Related: Best Places For Discount Designer Jeans In DC


Sometimes everything about the pair of pants you are trying on is perfect except for one thing. This tends to happen with people with a little more junk in the trunk. In this case, you may not be able to find the perfect pant out there for you, because there are “really great brands, but they don’t fit that great.” Schalk suggests cinching the pants “from the back, and if it looks good, you can probably alter it.” So even if those hundred-dollar jeans don’t fit you quite right, a tailor might be able to make an alteration to make them fit perfectly.

For Men

“Don’t buy mommy jeans,” she suggests. Men can have similar issues as women when buying jeans. Schalk advises that men “go a little tighter and don’t go too high.” While low-hanging baggy jeans exposing underwear is an eyesore, having your jeans too high up on your waist is not flattering either. You should get jeans that are fitted and sit on your waist. You don’t want anyone to confuse you with a soccer mom.

Related: Best Vintage Stores In Washington DC

Folashade Oyegbola is a freelance writer covering all things D.C. Her work can be found on

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