Do Trousers Run Small? (Do Pants Loosen as You Wear Them?)

Fit is one of the most frustrating aspects of trying to shop online. You can see a pair of trousers on the model that looks perfect but when you receive them they don’t fit. This can be really disheartening, especially if you need several pairs for a special occasion and time is running out.

Do trousers run small? It’s not an uncommon question, but it’s not as easy to answer as you might think. The simple answer is yes, trousers do run small. The more complicated answer is that there are so many different kinds of trousers – jeans, chinos, cords and khakis – that each brand runs a little differently.

Trousers are supposed to fit loosely, and there should be a slight bagginess at the ankle. If you have to pull your trousers up too often, they’re probably too big for you. The idea is that the excess fabric will flow around your legs as you walk, eliminating any visible creases. If a tailored pair fits well, it will hang smoothly from the waistband until it reaches your ankles.

Do Trousers Run Small?

Sometimes you can stretch them out a little, but that doesn’t always work. So knowing whether or not trousers run small is important because you need to know how much you should size up if you want to buy trousers and feel comfortable in them.

Trousers come up small. In general, most trouser sizes will be smaller than your actual waist measurement, so don’t buy trousers that fit when they are on the hanger if they are bigger than your waist. Instead buy trousers a size larger than your waist measurement.

This should not be a problem since most people who wear trousers want them to be too big rather than too small. Many people have the idea that clothes should fit tight, but this is just wrong. It is better for clothes to fit loose because loose-fitting clothes give you more freedom of movement and look better. This certainly applies to trousers, which can be worn so loosely that they almost look like a skirt.

However, if you do find trousers that fit you well on the hanger, then buy them even though they might be slightly smaller than your waist measurement. As long as they aren’t really tight on the hanger then they will stretch slightly once you’ve put them on.

Should I Size Up on Trousers?

The short answer is yes. It is much better to have trousers that are too big rather than too small, as they will be more comfortable and give you room to move. However, make sure that you are also able to walk in your trousers comfortably. If they are too long, you can always get them taken up.

In almost every case, buying a pair of trousers that is a little larger than you need means that they will be very slightly looser at the end of the day. In other words, you’ll get a better fit this way.

Trousers should fit well at the waist, and the crotch should be comfortable without any bunching or pulling. The seat should have room to move around in, without feeling baggy or saggy, and the length should be just right so that when you are standing your trousers sit at your shoelaces. If after trying on a pair of trousers none of these criteria are being met, don’t try a larger size. Instead, go for a different style or brand that will suit you better.

 

Lee Women's Flex Motion Regular Fit Trouser Pant, Black, 14

 

The waistband is a good place to start. Too tight and you’re uncomfortable; too loose and you look as if you’re wearing your father’s trousers. The correct fit should fall naturally – there should be a little bit of breathing room, but not much – and it should sit below your hips. If you don’t want to measure your waist every time you buy a pair of trousers, then a good rule of thumb is that the waistband should be no more than half an inch (0.25in) from your actual waist measurement.

The rise of the trouser is another important factor in getting the right fit. This is defined as the distance between where the trouser fabric meets at the back of your waistband (known as the ‘yoke’) and where it ends at the front of your crotch seam.

Do Joules Trousers Come Up Small?

Joules trousers do come up a bit smaller, but not excessively so. Trousers can come up a bit smaller as they tend to be a more fitted item of clothing and the material is fairly stretchy, which means that your usual size may be a snugger fit.

Joules are a UK brand and have been for many years, so the sizes are in UK sizing. The sizes are therefore slightly different from our US sizing system. If you’re used to buying US brands, you’ll need to make sure that you check the size guide before purchasing your Joules trousers or jeans.

Do Boden Trousers Come Up Small?

Boden clothing tends to run big when compared to US sizing. Boden’s size charts are based on UK sizing which means you will have to bear this in mind when ordering.

Boden pants tend to be big and baggy around the thighs and calves, while they tend to be tight around your waist. If you’re planning on purchasing a pair of Boden pants, make sure to order one size smaller than you would normally wear. If you’re going to try them on first, it’s best to do so in person, because their sizing tends to vary slightly from style to style.

Do Reiss Trousers Come Up Small?

Reiss trousers are known for being on the small side. Don’t get this confused with them being bad quality, they are just a bit more fashionable than most other brands, which makes the fit on them a little bit tighter.

The trousers come in a variety of cuts, their famous slim cut is one of their slimmer options, while they also have an oversized option.

They come in a range of different styles, so you can choose the best fit for your body type. They do also offer returns if they don’t fit. If you fall between two sizes then definitely go for the larger option, as they come up quite small.

Do Next Trousers Come Up Small?

If you’re a man who prefers his trousers loose, you might be tempted to go up a size or two when you buy your next pair. But don’t, because Next trousers come up slightly bigger

However, trousers from Next tend to be bigger than the label suggests, so you should opt for a smaller size than usual. A 38in pair will fit someone who is 36in, and the waistband is likely to be the same size as that person’s other trousers.

Do Zara Trousers Come Up Small?

Trousers from Zara are very popular and are worn across the board by men, women, and children. The quality is generally great and there is a huge variety of different styles to choose from.

Zara trousers are known to come up smaller than other brands, however, one thing that makes it hard to determine whether they come up small or not is the fact that the majority of people who buy Zara’s are slim! Slimmer ladies will usually find the trousers fit perfectly, whereas ladies with curves may struggle to get a pair of Zara jeans to fit properly without buying them much larger than they would normally wear.

Do Mango Trousers Come Up Small?

There is no doubt that Mango Trousers are designed to fit smaller than normal trousers. The reason for this is that Mango Trousers are designed for a “European” body type, so people who are taller and slimmer.

Mango trousers suit people with a narrower waist than hips – this means that the cut of the trousers will be more narrow on the lower half of the body and wider on the waist.

As a general rule if you are looking to buy Mango Trousers you should go up one size, so instead of your usual UK size try going up one.

Do Pants Loosen as You Wear Them?

It turns out, pants will loosen up as you wear them. They’ll get looser and looser, but the time it takes to happen really depends on how tight the pants were, to begin with.

Trousers do get looser as you wear them. This happens because the fabric relaxes and becomes less rigid over time. However, this isn’t a problem until the pants actually fit poorly or start to fall down on your hips or thighs. If your belt loops are hanging way out because the pants have become so loose, you’ll need to take them in at the seams.

As the material gets washed and dried, it relaxes and becomes looser-fitting. This is not a good thing if you like your pants to be snug. The best way to avoid this is to dry your pants on a hanger or drying rack instead of in the dryer. Hang them up to air-dry immediately after each wearing, and you should be able to delay the inevitable for quite some time.


In summary, All pants, regardless of size, are made in different countries around the world, and sizing can vary just slightly. Zara may say that their pants fit smaller, but they’re referring to their own sizing, which is measured in a different way than other brands. So, as long as you do your research about the brand that you plan on buying from and read reviews of other people who have bought them, you should be able to figure out whether or not they run small.

You may also be interested in… Why Do Linen Trousers Go Baggy? and How Long Does It Take for Trousers to Dry?