When trying a formal trouser for fit, men will often focus on the waist, and sometimes on the fabric, but a few will look all the way down to check the length.
If you are buying a good quality trouser off the rack, you will get it unhemmed - it will be too long for most of the men. You will need to take it to a tailor, and get a hem sewn - adjusting the length according to your height and the kind of footwear that you are likely to wear with that trouser.
Wearing a properly hemmed trouser will cause a fold at the part where the fabric falls to meet the shoes in front - and that fold is called the break.
The manner in which the fold is formed - which is essentially a function of the trouser length - the breaks can be of the following types:
- No Breaks
When the trouser fabric just touches the shoe tongue without causing any apparent fold when standing straight. This works particularly well with flat front, slim-fit trousers or tapered trousers. This is a neat look, and will highlight your shoes and socks. The current trend of colorful and adventurous socks demands a no-breaks trouser.
- Half Breaks
This is the safe zone of trouser length for most men - when the fabric is just enough to form a slight, noticeable fold where the fabric strikes the shoes. The half break looks good on gentlemen of all heights, and works well with almost all fabric types.
- Full Breaks
In the full break, the trousers length is enough to form a full fold on the shoes - the trousers may form a bunch that goes all around the front and break of the feet. Very often, it reveals a thin ankle - which may unbalance the overall look of the trouser fit. This is the toughest break type to pull off - and that too for only the very tall gentlemen.
Three bonus facts about trouser breaks:
- The suitable break for a trouser should be decided with the type of shoes that you plan to wear. A break that works with a dress boot may not work well with a classic oxford.
- The fabric of the trouser affects the fall of the trouser, and the way it forms a break.
- Jeans are exempted from the rules of breaks - they may well be worn with full breaks - sometimes with multiple folds over the shoes.