You’re familiar with the saying, “The shoes make the man”? Well, it’s a bit of a misnomer, actually, because from a style standpoint, everything comes together to make the man.
But if you’re a disciple of this phrase, then you’ll want to be sure your pants are breaking correctly. Because if those shoes you’re so fond of are hiding underneath a mass of fabric, there’s not much they can make. Other than make you upset.
|What exactly is a break?
Essentially the break is the horizontal line in the fabric that happens where your pants hit your shoes. The length of your pant legs determines how pronounced the break is. Some designers, like Thom Browne, specifically create pants to be worn shorter and have no break. But unless you spend your days modeling on a runway, the pants you buy and wear will, most likely, have a break.
|Make it medium.
Preferred by executives everywhere, the medium break is the most popular. Your pants will fall so that they’re covering the top of your shoe and parts of the laces, while the hem will slope toward the sole in the back. As you might expect, this will cause a mild horizontal break. It’s the classic, traditional look and works best for most men.
Full is faulty.
The full break is where your pants cover most of the tops of your shoes, with the hem ending about a ¼” from the ground in the back. This causes a deep, horizontal crease in the pant leg. It also causes a guy to look sloppy. If you’ve ever flipped through a men’s fashion magazine and come across an article where a guy gets a style makeover, it’s almost a certainty that he’ll have a full break in the “before” picture.
|Short is high fashion.
For those of you who like to be out in front fashion-wise, look into a short break. Your pants will hit just below the tops of your shoes. It gives a very sleek, tailored look and is something to consider if the conservative medium break is not your thing. Just remember, you will stand out more. But that’s OK, it didn’t hurt these guys.
Make or break.
Why is getting the break right so important? Because where pants are concerned, when most guys think of fit, they think of getting their waist right. And that’s important. But the break is just as important. It doesn’t really matter if your pants fit in the waist, if you’re stepping on the hems. So, if you want to “make the man,” make sure your pants break correctly.
Originally published on Of Rogues and Gentlemen