Trouser Length and Break

By Harris & Howard

Trouser Length and Break

Trouser Length and Break

By Harris & Howard

Trouser Length and Break

The length of your trousers is defined by what is known as a “break”. A break in tailoring terms is the amount creasing or fold that befalls the bottom of the trousers when it meets the shoes. 

The break of your bespoke trousers is a tremendously important element in your trousers design. You don’t want to have your trousers too long that results in pools of fabrics bunching over your shoes and simultaneously, you don’t want trousers too short, showing off your socks and making you look 2” shorter. 

There are three main types of break: full break, half break and no break:

No Break – The cleanest look and ideal for men with a shorter stance, no break is where there’s no visible fold and the trouser hem grazes the top of the shoe. The disadvantage (or advantage) is you’re going to have to make sure you’re wearing some funky socks with this look as sat down they’re almost certainly going to show! 

Half Break – Otherwise known as a “medium break”, the half break is where the hem of your trousers casually rests on the front of the shoe and covers the highest point of the shoe at the back. This is our recommended style as the break isn’t too high to hike up exposing too much of your leg or socks but allows for the appropriate length to showcase your shoes.

Full Break – A popular style in the 1920s when the more fabric used was associated with wealth, the full break occurs when you wear trousers that are slightly too long for your leg. A tough look to pull off today, the excess fabric which rests on the top of your shoe causes a fold which runs all the way around your leg, hiding the socks and shoes opening. Best with a wider style of trouser, a full break is generally only suggested for taller men or casual attire.

Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong in your preference of trouser length as it’s all down to personal choice and style. Just be sure your trousers aren’t too short that they look cropped or too long that you’re tripping over your shoes!


Trousers have two types of finishing: hems, or cuffs. For most men, the hem is the go-to-choice and the most common type of finish you’ll find on trousers. This is where the fabric at the bottom of the leg folds up into the inside of the trouser. Nevertheless, the cuff has made a recent resurgence in fashion. Once created as a way to combat the wet streets of Britain, cuffs are today are noted as a mark of quality, sartorial excellence and style. 

Branded in Britain as turn-ups and America as cuffs, these are the folded edge on the bottom of a pair of trousers that have been turn-upwards in order to form the cuff. The weight of the cuffs aid in keeping your trousers straight, ironed and stabilized throughout the day. An excellence option if you’re a gentleman wanting to visually shorten the look of longer leg, they’re not known to have a solely formal or casual look, so they can be confidently added to any trouser. A general rule to stand by, is the pairing of pleated trousers with cuffs and non-pleated trousers without cuffs in order to maintain balance.

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