Home > Can't Stop Wearing, Men's Clothing > To Break or Not to Break?

To Break or Not to Break?

Thom Brown suit. Photo courtesy of The Sartorialist.

Valet is doing its 31 days of tips and tricks for looking stylish while living well. Day one tackled a somewhat controversial topic for menswear: should your pant have a break or no? You need only glimpse some of the men’s fashion discussion boards to get a feel for how passionately guys feel about their breaks. (No break! What the heck is a medium break?!? Full breaks only!)

Valet suggests that the pant should have as little break as possible and even features a pair of cuffed trousers whose owner appears to have just received a red alert flood warning.

There were quite a few comments to the tip suggesting that the no-break policy was only for the fashion foolhardy. Ok, everyone, take a deep breath. This is what some of the experts have to say:

Nordstrom says classic cuts should brush the top of the shoe and modern looks can show up to an inch of ankle.

GQ’s Style Guy says for the traditional American natural-shoulder, center-vent full-cut suit (a.k.a. Ivy League or Madison Avenue style), no break is customary.

AskMen.com says that a medium break is ” quintessential businessman.”

Saks Fifth Avenue shows trousers that are straight through the leg and only “break” once above the shoe, no more than about an inch and a half.

J. Crew’s “Jack” says it’s more modern to let your hem graze the top of your shoes without any break. Still, there are plenty of men who prefer to go longer and that’s fine, too. (If you want your ankles—or socks—to be covered when you walk or stand, go with a longer length with a slight break.)

And, what does DC Style Factory say? The more streamlined your look the better. So, the less break you have in your trouser, the better. If the picture above gives you the heebee jeebies, fret not. It’s not flattering for most guys anyhow. Whether you are into slimmer cut, more cropped suits or a more traditional, fuller cut dress pant, we say that the bottom of the trouser that “kisses” the top of your shoe is universally flattering.

If this is causing more anxiety than entertaining food for thought, then we suggest consulting with a professional…tailor, that is. In the meantime, check in each day with Valet this month for a new tip that is sure to point you in the right direction for the new year.

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