My perfect pants length mantra is seldom followed by fashion models who sport the pages of catalogues, websites and magazines. The hems of their pants hardly ever skim the surface of the floor (which is what I encourage to increase your style quotient). Have you ever wondered why this is? The answer might not be what you expect.

A modeling photo shoot for a garment that the buyer has ordered for a retail store is usually done 2-4 months before the garment is available in stores, and even before the actual order has been produced or delivered. The clothing that the models wear for the shoot are the standard prototypes that the retail buyers use to approve the final order. These prototypes are made in regular lengths (32-33 inch seams) because they need to comply with store approved size specifications. Models, however, are very tall and would ordinarily buy their pants with extra length (34 to 36 inch seams).  It’s no wonder that their pant lengths fall short when they have to model prototypes that are designed for real women.

For a retailer to request an additional prototype with a longer inseam length for advertising purposes (so that the model can sport perfect pants lengths) may seem like an easy solution, but it’s virtually impossible. Clothing manufacturers operate on extremely tight budgets and timelines. They jump through many tedious and bureaucratic  hoops to get the prototype of an order approved by the buying department. To do this twice would delay production which would in turn harm store sales.

Designer fashion shows are different. Models on the runway wear garments that are customized for their bodies – which is why their pants are usually the correct length.

So it’s all about money! Hopefully sites like mine can help you to make sense of the fashion industry’s idiosyncrasies. Are there other things that puzzle you in the world of fashion retail? Let me know in the comments or privately on Ask Angie and I’ll try to address them in future blog entries.

Lightweight wool wide-leg pantDenim 5 Pocket Modern Lindsay Bootleg JeanSupreme Sateen Button Pocket Lindsay Straight Pant

Great pants, poor lengths. Examples from Banana Republic and Ann Taylor