Natural fabrics, deep pleats give your trousers a leg up

DRESS FOR EXCELLENCE

April 01, 1992|By Lois Fenton

I am having a terrible time finding a decent pair of slacks. I have purchased several pairs, and after three or four wearings they begin to acquire those dreaded fabric knots that need to be shaved off. Can you suggest why this occurs and what fabric blends have the propensity to do this so that I can avoid them?

Secondly, I cannot seem to find the particular style of slacks that I like: slightly baggy slacks with a long full pleat that doesn't pull out when you put them on. I like my slacks to have a slight taper at the ankle; I cannot stand pants that flare out covering up the shoe -- like something from the '60. I like '30s and '40s styles, with a '90s update. Can you possibly recommend a store in San Francisco where I can purchase these slacks? My price range is from $50 to $100.

A: Fabric blends that contain even a small percentage of polyester will develop the little "pills" that you (and the rest of us) hate. Read the contents label. Fabrics made of 100 percent natural fibers, such as wool, cotton, linen, or silk, will not pill.

They will maintain their texture throughout their useful wearing life. You can save your razor for your face.

The reason some trouser pleats pull out when you put them on: They are not cut with enough fabric. Most trousers are made with pleats that are not deep enough. It costs a lot more to make a deep pleat; about 1/4 yard extra fabric is required. Manufacturers looking for places to cut costs often make skimpy pleats.

Q: In regard to your comment that the best shirts have only one button at the cuff rather than two: Turnbull & Asser, the world's greatest shirtmakers, only make French-cuffed shirts or ones with three buttons in line, all of which button. If that's good enough for HRH/the Prince of Wales, moi, and three quarters of the world's well-dressed men, why not you?

A:. Wow! That's some group. You are certainly in good company with His Royal Highness, Prince Charles.

But allow me to clarify a bit. First,the point I was making had to do with the standard barrel-cuff (that is, non-French-cuff) shirts. The single button I described at the cuff appears on fine quality shirts made in exact sleeve lengths. The two buttons, on so-called "adjustable" sleeve-length shirts, are arranged around the wrist (cuff), not up the arm. There is only one buttonhole, so only one of these buttons can be buttoned at a time. It helps compensate for a less-than-accurate sleeve length and an uncomfortable fit at the wrist. The extra button and imprecise size are cost-cutting devices that allow manufacturers to make shirts in only two sleeve lengths (either 32/33 or 34/35) rather than in five exact sizes (from 32 through 36 inches).

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