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:
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.
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.
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:
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