Just when you think you’ve found a great pair of tailored trousers or jeans, the front pocket positioning breaks the deal. Front pocket styles on trousers and jeans can be wildly frustrating when they gape, bunch up on the hips and thighs, or when you can see the pocket linings through the fabric of the pants.

Spring 2011 is a pants season and now is the time to stock up on trousers and jeans in all sorts of silhouettes. To help you minimize unflattering front pockets I have summarized the front pocket shapes and positions that generally look fab.

The key is to find trousers and jeans with pocket openings that are positioned away from the side seam:

  1. Five pocket style: This type of pocket design is found on most jeans. Two patch pockets in the back, two curved pockets in the front plus the tiny money pocket. The deep curve of the front pockets coupled with the stiffness of denim is a winning combination if the pocket linings aren’t too deep. See photo 1.
  2. Slanted front pockets: These pockets are a little closer to the side seams, but are still far enough away so that they don’t interfere with the shape of the pants on the hip and thigh area. The pocket linings are usually shallow which prevents them from showing through. Photo 2 shows slanted pockets on tailored trousers, while photo 3 shows slanted pockets on slouchy pleated trousers.
  3. Welt pockets: Welt pockets are great for the same reasons that slanted pockets are great. Shallow pocket linings and no side seam interference. See photo 4.

On-seam pockets and side entry pockets like the ones you see in photos 5 and 6 are often tricky to wear, especially with curvy thighs and hips. They tend to work well on curveless men but not nearly as well on most women. The pocket openings are too close to the side seams, which often causes fit distortion.

Sometimes I just wish they’d leave all pockets off tailored trousers, like you see in photo 7. No gaping, bunching or pocket linings to deal with. What a pleasure.

Note that the photos above have affiliate links to YLF partners.