Photo: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
Are you a long and leggy standout, or do you fit in with the crowd? When you go shopping for pants, it makes a diff, whether it's at your favorite boutique or the local discount outlet. It's always good to know the different colors, styles and varieties you can choose from, but the most important info is the fit: whether to head for the regular-fit or the long-rise end of the racks. Even when you know the differences, it's still best to make a quick visit to the fitting room before buying a pair.
Regular pants have a length, also called the inseam, consistent with the average height of the people who shop in each clothing department. In the women's department, the average length for regular-fit is about 30 inches. Regular-fit pants will fall to just below the ankles on the average-height person.
A long-rise-cut pair of pants is about 1½ inches or more longer than regular-cut. In some cases, the store defines a size between regular and long-rise called "tall"; in that case, the length of the long-rise is 3 or more inches more than the regular-fit. Long-rise is made for a customer who is a few inches taller than the average-height customer in that clothing department. For a standard woman's department, the length of long-rise pants is about 32 to 33 inches. It's not an exact science; every store has its own size charts.
There are times when average-height woman may prefer to throw on a pair of long-rise pants -- for instance, when wearing skyscraper heels or a pair of "killer" boots, the pant bottoms should cover some of the heel. If the pants only fall over the ankle, they might look like high-water pants. In this instance long-rise pants are definitely a better choice.
Before you go shopping for new pants, measure the inside length, or inseam, of your leg from your crotch to your ankle to determine if you should buy regular or long-rise pants. Match the length to the estimated lengths for regular and long-rise fit sizes so that you know which pants style to shop for. If the length of your inseam is shorter than regular-fit, you may need to shop in the petite department. Many well-known stores that sell pants online publish size guides so that you can make the right choice.