I’ve mentioned the importance of doing sit-down tests before you commit to an item of clothing, and it bears repeating. It’s top of mind for me because it was the reason I passed on a potentially fabulous pair of red tartan pants last week. 

I was excited to try on these fully lined wool-rich tartan pants from J.Crew after ordering them because they’re just what I want to wear as everyday pants right now. I popped them on as soon as they arrived, and loved them. They fit and felt really good. The waistband fit the small of my back extremely well, which was surprising and no alterations needed. I began prancing around in the pants in front of the mirror — always a good sign — and grabbed tops from my wardrobe to pattern mix with the tartan. I was having fun creating multiple outfits and about to pull off the tags.

Then I remembered to do the sit-down test to ensure that the crotch point, thigh area and waist was comfortable. In less than a nanosecond the fit problem was clear. The high front rise was fine as long as I was standing and striding, but poufed out making the zipper buckle as soon as I sat down. There were multiple creases across my crotch point and belly area due to too much fabric in the rise. When I stood back up, the creases did not go away and looked awful. A little pant creasing is fine, but this was excessive. Unfortunately they were not nearly as good a fit as my other checked J.Crew pants, which have a slightly lower rise. Back they went.

Remember to sit down and move around a bit in clothing before you pull off the tags. Make sure you can drive in outerwear, that necklines aren’t too low, that hemlines aren’t too high, and that the buttons of shirts and blouses don’t gape.