Some people wonder why there is this obsession in the sartorial world in regards to the rise of trousers, that is, the distance between the crotch and the top of the trouser waistband (i.e. outside leg minus inside leg distance).
It can be clearly seen that rise changes with the times and with fashion. In the Edwadian period, the favour was to a very high rise, up to and beyond the naval sometimes. Nowadays, the rise preferred is low. Extremely low. Up to the point of going lower than the hips themselves and down the leg as we may witness in what is called ‘sagging’ by the hip-hop-hoi-polloi or whatnot. Even when one does not subscribe to that extreme, trousers made today, normal and suit trousers, sit lower than what is sensible. What is sensible you may ask? Well, it’s called the waistband for a reason: it’s meant to be located on your natural waist or thereabouts (give or take an inch or so). This way, the trousers would sit comfortably and will balance (with the suit and/or waistcoat one wears). Not convinced? Let’s see an example of when the rise is very low:
You can see that there is something not quite right here. For one, you can see that the distance between the bottom of the knitted silk necktie and top of the waistband of the pantalon de nimes to be as big as the Gap of Rohan. When one looks more closer, you notice that his crotch looks freakishly short at barely 4″! This is a perfect example showing what is meant by being ‘off balance’. The low rise basically shortens the leg and lengthens the torso and in this case to almost equal proportions. Those who studied anatomy and are versed in the Golden Mean ratio would realise that this proportion is abnormal and aesthetically unpleasing. The overall effect makes this person above look short rather than tall and rather hobbitish. Even the topcoat is doing no favours and makes it even more plain to see that the balance is off by having something to compare it with!
Another thing is when one of these low risers wear waistcoats that are clearly meant to be worn with high rise trousers. The effect is that there is an exposure of the white shirt which looks very clumsy indeed:
You can see that there is yet another gap and this sort of cuts the body in half and makes it off balance and look untidy. It also makes it look like his trousers are falling off. In this example, the white shirt makes the hips protrude outwards towards the sides in a rather fattening manner.
This is where the waistband ought to be located:
You can see that it is a full 8 or so inches more than what it is. This is where the natural waist is located. Some might want it a little lower but that is a matter of preference; however, it wouldn’t be anything so ridiculous as it originally is. I suppose it depends on the type of trousers: a traditional pair with normal wide legs would look better with a good rise. One can illustrate this with an example:
Here, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh has the correct rise for his trousers. Note how it makes his legs look longer and therefore he looks taller and more dignified. Compare his trouser rise to that of the others. The waistcoat is thus at the correct length and does not protrude beneath the bodycoat fronts as is proper: the others had to have longer waistcoats to cover the waistband of their low rise trousers which in turn creates another faux pas.
Therefore, it is sensible to high a higher rise. Low rise not only looks arkward but is also far more uncomfortable because the waistband would constrict the hips and restrict movement.