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Design of Men's Pants

How to design comfortable pants for men

What every designer of men's clothes should know.
The design of clothing should be based primarily on the anatomy of the human body. The second consideration should be the intended use of the garment that will determine the choice of materials and the structure of the garment. Finally, style and fashion should influence the outward appearance of the garment without compromising its comfort. Unfortunately, many designers of men's pants forget about the male anatomy and mass produce pants for men which are better suited for women.

Antonio Navagero
16th century codpiece

Male Anatomy
Every designer of men's pants should consider putting those pants on the statue of Michelangelo's David which is displayed at the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence, Italy. It will immediately become very obvious that the pants should allow some room for the testicles and penis that hang at the crotch. During the 15th and 16th centuries in Europe an allowance was made for the male anatomy by sewing a pouch to the front of the crotch of men's trousers. The pouch, called a codpiece, was held closed by buttons or string ties.

Practical Considerations
The codpieces of medieval Europe provided enough room for men to ride horses comfortably without getting squeezed in the groin. Codpieces also made it possible for men to urinate standing up without having to pull down the pants. This is important even today. Men's bathrooms usually have a ratio of approximately three urinals for every two toilets, so it is important to be able to urinate standing up by just unzipping the pants. The zipper should open down to the crotch to make it possible to access the penis without having to remove the belt to lower the pants. Comfortable pants should allow enough room in the crotch area for the testicles and the penis. A good custom tailor will always ask the client whether he carries left or right. The tailor then provides extra room in the crotch to carry the penis on the preferred side of the pant legs. Mass-produced pants should allow room on both sides.

Wallet in back pocket
Wallets that stick out are more easily lost or stolen

Men like to have their hands free. This means that the pants need to have at least four pockets – two in the front and two in the back. The pockets are used to carry a wallet, keys, coins, a handkerchief, and sometimes a cellular phone, although if the phone is too big or too fragile it is usually carried in a belt holster. Some pants have a fifth small front pocket at the waist that was originally used for a pocket watch but is now used for coins. Some men prefer to carry the wallet in a front pocket where it is less likely to be stolen than in a back pocket. The pockets need to be deep enough to fit the whole wallet so that it will not stick out or fall out.

Michel Angelo's David
Statue of David
by Michelangelo
Pants with short zipper
Bad Design: Black Brown 1826 pants with a 5 inch zipper make it impossible to use a urinal. The zipper should extend from the waist to the crotch.

Example of bad design
On a recent shopping trip, I tried some Black Brown 1826 pants and they did not feel right. Sometimes, instead of stuffing a shirt down the waistline of the pants and then closing the pants at the waist, it is better to fasten the pants at the waist first, and then tug at the bottom of the shirt through the zipper opening. I noticed that the Black Brown 1826 pants had only a 5-inch zipper. The bottom of the zipper opening was three inches above the penis, making it impossible to pull it out to urinate standing up. Outrageous! I suppose that the manufacturer saved a few pennies using the shorter zipper. Any man who bought such pants should return them as defective.

LBJ on the phone
LBJ on the phone

The problem with bad design of men's pants is not new. There is a 1964 White House recording of the former president Lyndon B. Johnson ordering custom-made pants from the Haggar clothing company. The president complained to Joe Haggar that the pockets of his pants were not deep enough and that the pants were too tight around the crotch. He ordered, "Make the pockets at least an inch longer. My money and my knife and everything fall out. Now, the pockets, when you sit down in a chair, the knife and your money comes out. So I need at least another inch in the pockets." President Johnson continued, "The crotch down where your nuts hang is always a little too tight, so when you make them up, give me an inch so that I can let out there because they cut me. They're just like riding a wire fence. ...see if you can't leave me about an inch from where the zipper ends ..." You can listen to the president's recording archived here.

The design of comfortable clothing requires only attention to detail and common sense. All designers should wear their designs before mass producing them for the public. Bad products are created when the prototypes are not tested, and this can be expensive for the manufacturer and uncomfortable for the customer.

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