I May Have Been Wearing Pants the Wrong Way All This Time and My Whole Life is a Lie

Ivan Sanders
4 min readOct 28, 2019

In the Indonesian language, the “belt” is translated into “ikat pinggang”, which means “waist belt”. As such, it is to be worn around the waist. I didn’t pay much attention to this (or fashion in general. I’m one of those guys who need…..more grooming) until I realized I didn’t know exactly which part of my body is the “waist”.

And so I took to the internet:


According to this image, I was wearing the belt at…a little bit higher from the hips, but still closer to the hips than it is to the waist. Wearing a waist belt on the hips does not seem to be correct. It wouldn’t be a waist belt, rather, a hip belt, which also does not sound right.

Unconvinced, I took this matter to my Instagram friends by means of survey. From whatever little followers I have, 44 of them responded (thanks a lot!) and the response was….divided.

On this survey, I asked my friends if they think men’s belt should be worn on the waist or the hips

It’s a close one with #teamwaist edging out #teamhips by a slim margin (full disclosure: I’m #teamhips). Still, if there is a lot of people wearing belts on the hips, there has to be some grain of correctness isn’t there?

Or are we just, like, wrong together?

To address this matter, I decided to investigate the matter further by means of “literature review” (browsing the web) and “experimentation” (trying on pants). Starting by the definition of the belt itself. The initial hypothesis would be “the correct way of wearing the belt, is on the hips”.

A belt is a flexible band or strap, typically made of leather or heavy cloth and worn around the waist, that is usually of less circumference than the hips underneath, preventing pants from falling.

- Wikipedia

By definition, a men’s belt should be worn on the waist. That’s 1–0 for #teamwaist, unfortunately.

Next, I got a tip from a good friend of mine, an ex-forensic consultant, that when we buy pants the size listed is usually the “waist size”, not the hips. Based on that, I proceeded to gather “evidence” from the local clothing store.

Not sure if it’s permissible to use this pic but I’ll blot out everything just in case

Lo and behold, waist size not hips. That’s 2–0 for #teamwaist.

At this point I thought “but that’s all just definition and labels, there needs to be a compelling reason to make me switch!”

Turns out there is.

For starters, there are various kind of pants. Ones meant to be worn on the hips, and those on the waist. For this particular case, I’m talking about whichever you wear at office.

From discussion with my friend earlier, so the belt is supposed to be worn on the waist. Since the waist should smaller than the hips. As such, you wear the belt somewhere near the waist to secure you pants there so that it does not fall down. Presumably, wearing them near the hips has more chance of your pants falling down. Keeping your pants (and belt) somewhere near the hips also has more chance of you having to pull up your pants uncomfortably at times. Also, it is more comfortable when you are sitting since it prevents you from having…an unwanted exhibition. If you are wearing them on the hips, there is heightened chance of having…a wardrobe malfunction due to your sitting pulling down the pants in the process.

So if you were wearing them on the hips, then you proceed to sit down, you’d take care to be more prudent. 3–0 for #teamwaist.

I don’t think we’ll all wear pants on the waist since not all your pants would be ones meant for waist. Some say some modern pants are designed to be worn on the hips. But #teamwaist makes a good case.

Not saying that you should wear the pants like this.

Left: the late comedian Djuhri Masdjan (Jojon)

But we agree that you should be wearing the pants like:

  • definitely above the hips
  • in between the hips and the waist, if possible closer to the waist than it is to the hips. Like, look for that sweet spot.

There you go. Never thought there would ever be a day when I dish out fashion tips.

Pull up those pants, man.