Proper Pants Break & Length How To Hem Suit Trousers, Dress Slacks & Chinos: Full, Half or No Break?

Proper Pants Break & Length How To Hem Suit Trousers, Dress Slacks & Chinos: Full, Half or No Break?


Welcome back to the Gentleman’s Gazette! In today’s video we discuss pant breaks. We explain what they are, why they are so important to your overall appearance, how you can ensure to get exactly the pant break you want every single time and what you have to consider when you have your alterations tailor lengthen or shorten your hem. First of all what’s a break? We talked about the break when the front of your pants or trousers hits your shoe and creates a little dent that is elegant and not too extreme. The best way to evaluate your break is when you stand still. We talked about no break when the hem of your pants just hang straight and doesn’t even touch the shoe at all. We talk about a half break if you see a slight dent in the front and we talk about a full break if you have a noticeable dent in the front of the pants but none in the back. If you see pants that have dents in the front and in the back they are simply too long and it looks extremely sloppy. In my experience eighty percent of all men in the US wear their pants too long which creates not just a break but an excessive sloppy fold and they just look like they didn’t know what to tell their alterations tailor. On the other hand in Italy you’ll see a lot of men with extremely short pants and obviously it’s subject to fashion. However if you want to be classic in style and timeless moving between no brake and a full brake is exactly where you want to be. So why should you care about the break in your pants? First of all it really has an impact on the overall neatness of your outfit. If you wear a nice robe stripe double-breasted suit the one I’m wearing here right now and your pants are either too long or too short, it makes you look goofy or sloppy. Also if you’re a tall man and you have very short pants it exaggerates your height and you look even taller and sometimes like a clown. Also if you have a certain pair of socks that you want to show off maybe a half break is exactly what you want because with a full brake your socks will be invisible at all in most situations. What’s important to understand is there is no absolute right or wrong with pants brakes. Some men especially in US assume that right now all young men wear their pants too short. However, if you go back to the 60s you can see sometimes even shorter pants with no break at all. To determine what break is right for you, you have to first look at your pant hem. Is it cuffed or is it uncuffed? If it’s cuffed or the English say it has turn ups that means you need less of a break. I suggest you go without break at all or just with a slight break. Never with a full break because it just looks off. If your pants or trousers are uncuffed, you should go with a half break or a full break. If you have an uncuffed pants and you go with no break it simply looks too short and the lack of the weight means that your pants will probably get stuck to your socks and stay further up. If you wear cuffed pants you already have an advantage because you have more weight which pulls down your trousers more and it just creates a cleaner line and therefore you can have a shorter pants length and less of a break. If you prefer uncuffed trousers you could talk to an alterations tailor and add little lead weights to the size of your pants that way you have the same effect as with a cuffed trouser and you can get a very neat look. The other element to consider when getting your pants hemmed is the actual circumference or the width of your hem. If you have very tight pants in the hem, you can’t have as much of a break as if you have full cut trousers in the 1930s style. Why? It’s because break means it touches the top of your shoe. Now with a tight pair of pants they touch your shoe a lot earlier than with a wider cut pair of pants where they touch it at the bottom of your laces. So when you have pants hemmed you can just give your alterations tailors five pairs and say “Oh just hem them all to 31 and a half inches,” because you also have to consider how wide they are. The wider the pants are, the longer you can hem them. The slimmer and tighter they are the shorter you have to hem them. If you have uncuffed trousers in a wide full cut style you have to cut them a little wider but keep in mind even with a full break you just want a nice dent in the front and none in the back. That being said do not rely on your alterations tailor’s judgment, because if I go to one in the US I get pants that are way too long. If I go to Italy I get something that sometimes too short for my taste so you have to decide what you want and you have to own it. One thing I’m personally extremely fond of is a angled hem. This is something you usually only find in bespoke garments especially when it’s a cuffed angle hem. If you have a straight hem on a pair of pants and they’re long and unfinished you can simply bring up the extra fabric create a cuff of your desire and you’re done. When you angle a pair of pants with cuffs you actually have to create a faux cuff that is separately cut from something but it has the advantage that it’s always long in the back and it probably can even touch almost the heel of your shoe but in the front it’s cut higher so you get that slight break. It looks particularly elegant with a black tie or white tie outfit because you get that slight break but that long line in the back. Also black tie and white trousers never have cuffs so it’s very easy to do that. Honestly, if you have uncuffed pants I would always suggest to have them slightly angled because you’ll always look more dapper and people will not know why. So having angled pant hems is definitely one of the little tricks of the trade and if your alterations tailor doesn’t know how to do an angle hem with cuffs you probably have to seek out the tailor or someone who is really experienced with custom clothing. Of course you can only do that if you have a lot of extra width or an unfinished pair of pants. My personal preference is for cuffs most of the time and I want a half or medium break. Ideally I want the back of my pants to be longer than the front so I always go for the angle especially uncuffed dress pants and particularly for all kinds of evening wear. It simply looks a lot more stylish. If you enjoyed this video please check out our other videos about the intricacies of bespoke clothing, suits, shoes and anything else a gentleman may want to know. You can also subscribe to our channel here and if you do make sure to hit that little bell after your subscribe that way you get push notifications whenever we have a new video.

92 Replies to “Proper Pants Break & Length How To Hem Suit Trousers, Dress Slacks & Chinos: Full, Half or No Break?”

  1. very nice guide!
    i've been waiting for such video for a while!
    will these ideas apply on jeans/denims?

  2. Awesome vid. And, I like how well put together you look when you choose either/or for boutonnière/pocket square with casual suits. I'm loving that madder. It's so versatile.
    Keep to good stuff coming)

  3. Thanks for the info, I just started paying attention to the fit of my clothes, I can't believe I've been doing it wrong for my entire life.

  4. Dear SRS, Great job as usual. Please consider doing a follow-up on trouser tapering and cuff height. Thanks, Mark in Cambridge, MA

  5. I absolutely love the angled hem for anything w/o a cuff, it looks absolutely great on formal wear but can also be used with regular slacks or even a nice pair of dark wash jeans

  6. Great video! I prefer a very very small break on a straight (uncuffed) pant. Love this and I plan on doing a video on this for young men soon

  7. Some of my pants have a problem where the hem hangs behind the back of my feet. My calves are a bit more muscular than avarage and i think my pants are hanging on them which creates this weird look. My pants are not really slim, more classic. Can someone help me with this?

  8. I usually prefer to buy dress pants with a shorter length. But short enough of course to create that right break.

  9. I wish guys in Toronto would watch this…. Land of the way too short hem, showing 2 to 3 inches of sock while standing.

  10. Raphael; amazing video! Very interesting topic, I think you should make a video explaining where the trousers should sit or how high the rise should be, since now the trend is wearing the trousers in the hips, which looks terrible in my opinion. The should be used as high as the waist.

  11. It's never advisable to "skip" a video from Sven Raphael. Even tho you're not interested or think the title is not for you Sven will espouse some useful information.

  12. Awesome content! Would love to see a video about gold chains and how to pull them off tastefully.

  13. Great video, if you don't mind, I'd like to share this on my tailor's Facebook page, also you should make cufflinks of your logo.

  14. Oh God! All these awsome pair of shoes! I'm so jealous! It was one of my favourite videos! Congratulations, keep going!

  15. Why is a double fold, or break bad? I got a couple of measurement made suits a while ago, and I told the tailor I very much dislike pants that are too short – as I am a tall person with very long legs I've had problems finding fitting pants most of my life -. I live in Japan and my body type is almost nonexistent here so he made a new pattern for me, which gave me two breaks. When I went back some time after to get something else made, the staff who I was not interacting with gathered where I could not hear them speak, but, my wife, standing nearer to them, could, and they were asking each other who made that suit I was wearing, who measured this perfectly fitting suit for that body type.
    I've had nothing but good remarks and, I like my calves not showing when I sit down.
    So, what I really want to know is, is a double break always bad or, bad just when it's not done correctly? Or, maybe there is a cultural difference between the countries or continents.

  16. Excellent video just one question does the type of shoes you wear such as loafers vs lace up dress shoes or chukkas factor in what style of break you should elect to choose thank for the helpful information!

  17. This helped me so much! But I've got a question! Does this look good on Chinos or only on dress pants?

  18. ugh
    i like cuffed pants better. Only problem is im too short, so i wear uncuffed.
    Any solution to this?

  19. Hi, I just bought a pair of blue dress pants.  They do not have pleats in the front.   They are not hemmed on the bottom.  When I have them shortened should I have cuffs or no cuffs?  Thank you.   I think I heard once that if there are no pleats then no cuffs, but I'm not positive. I respect your opinion.  Thank you!

  20. Great video on how to look for the break in the pants, and good information about adding small led weights in hemp pants to get the clean look.

  21. Hi, My name is Isaac and i am creating a page on facebook to talk about fashion, and style, can i recommend your Channel? I realy enjoy your work.

  22. Your video needless to say is brilliant ,could you please make a guide to suspenders and different types of classics pants.
    I am from India and I have no clue how to instruct my tailor about style, however he is good when it comes to fitting the pants.

  23. The first example of angled hem, at 05:06, is extreme. I don't like the look of that at all. A slight angle is good, but when it is so angled that it stands out, I feel it has gone too far. Also, you say an advantage of the angled hem is that it is long in the back – how is that an advantage? Not that it's a disadvantage, but on the other hand I can't really spot the advantage, either.

  24. First, fantastic and very informative video. Was told ages ago by an American tailor to touch the heel, and now I know that's American.
    Surprised didn't get mentioned. When you have your pants measured, wear the shoes you want to wear with the pants. Some have a steep rise and some shallow, affecting the look.
    BTW, myself very much dislike cuffs, excessive and can catch dust.
    Thank you.

  25. Hate the angeled cuff! Love all the great details you provide, this is going to help me hem my Loves slacks properly! Thanks!

  26. Is it acceptable to wear 1953 Gucci horsebit loafers with full break pants? Not a fan of showing my ankles or socks!😬

  27. I do not like the steep angle cut as it looks unbalanced and gives a Popeye the sailer look. A slight angle seems almost tolerable. Keep up the good work, and remember there is no accounting for taste, so go with it!

  28. Your info on turn ups is the opposite. Turn ups should be very long. The back should sit on the heel of your shoe and pucker around the ankle. This is how they are supposed to be worn. A hanging turn up looks insane.
    Look at Clapton's Versace suits from the late 80s, early 90s. Not all have turn ups but some do.

  29. I also prefer an angled hem for the best look. But I've often wondered about an idea that I've never seen tried, which is to have a short slit cut into the front crease and hemmed, so that fabric would fall either side of the shoe and have a natural look without bunching. The top of the foot, being higher than the heel, means that the fabric tends to bunch up there. This could be done away with by the use of a slit in the crease line. This could expose the socks, which I don't think is ever a good look and is only one step ahead of seeing underwear, but if wearing boots a slit could be just the thing for a sharp look.

  30. Other tips should be left subjective. Yeah i agree there are certain principles that should remain staple to preserve class. But there are some rules that can be bend yet it doesnt lessen class.

  31. I saved the videos how to dress like gentleman… another 5 years i'll repeat watch.. currently i dressed chinos,distressed jeans and sneakers..

  32. Wow! I'm in the middle of self hemming and needed the angled uncuffed look toward the finish. Could you please cover variations in pant leg lengths. Do the inlegs have to be identical length, even where outlegs lengths differ by a smidgen, say 1 cm? My trousers are patterned so this is proving a headache, visually. One hem at the rear is so short it comes over the top of my shoes when walking. The break at the front is ample, so I need an angled hem, with lengthening at the back.

  33. Broken just above the last lace, a little wider.. yep. That's the one. Now on to shirts. It's not so expensive – But the shoes I just ordered… nope not expensive either – little bit fancy, £39, handmade, winterised.. What more can one ask.

  34. -No break for formal wear and patterned trousers
    -quarter break for business settings
    -half & full break for heavyweight slacks

  35. If wearing a Prince Edward/morning suite should I have a hem for them or should they be hemless and cut made to length

  36. Your videos are just amazing.. We get exactly what we want.. This makes your channel so unique.. U talk about break and cuff both.. Most of the videos on break of trousers don't talk about cuff atall… Your stuff is well contained and researched ….Thanks for this great video..

  37. Oh thank God, most videos on this topic are just some scrawny hipster in skinny jeans telling you how to roll it up properly

  38. Does anyone remember the ridiculous overlong trousers of the early nineties, creating those accordion bellows over your shoes?

  39. I like wearing dress pants with a shirt but no jacket. What do you think to this look? I love the channel by the way!

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