First, let's define a break. The break of your pant is determined completely by the length at which your pants are hemmed. It is the horizontal crease that forms at the bottom of your pant right above your shoe.
Does this sound like a picky little detail? It actually has an enormous effect on the look of your trouser. You have three options: No break, medium break, or full break. This is one of the only aspects of fit that is totally up to you! Your tailor will hem your pants to whatever break you like. Your decision should be based on a few things:
- Your personal taste and style.
- Where you will wear them (to a formal east coast law office, or an art opening in LA).
- Your height.
The no break option is modern, hip, and works well with a trim pant. The front line of the pant will go straight down from your waist to your shoe. Make sure your shoes are in good condition and you are wearing nice socks, because they will show! Keep in mind when approving the length that once you sit or walk, more of your ankle will show than while you are standing in front of the mirror getting marked. Not necessarily a bad thing! Just remember it. I do not recommend this look for very tall men, as it can give off the feel that your pants were just barely long enough to pull off. This look is most commonly worn without a cuff, however the picture below shows that a cuff can work as well.
The medium break is both classic and timeless. THIS is what you wear to the east coast law firm. It is also what you should choose if you are investing in garments long term, as it will always look appropriate at any occasion. Just because its classic, doesn't mean it has to be conservative. That's all about your personal style. Mix it with a bold fabric as shown below, and you have a very fashion forward look with a classic break. The medium break works equally as well with and without a cuff.
The full break can look just as modern as no break even though it is the exact opposite. In this case your trousers have been hemmed long. As with the tall men and no break, shorter men should not wear the full break. It will make the pant seem too long for your legs. The full break is most often seen with a cuff and is fun with a wide leg trouser. If you are going to wear a full break, take care to make sure that the rest of your get up is polished, otherwise it can appear sloppy. But with a dapper top half, this can really give you a unique look.
What kind of break do you take?