Where should your trouser finish? At the shoe, just above it, or with a fold? This distinction is something called the ‘trouser break’, and refers to where the fold or creasing of the fabric is. There are three styles of trouser break - here are our tips on navigating your choice.
Full Break: a full break is when the trouser sits well onto the shoe, so there’s a fair bit of fabric pooling around your ankle. As a rule, this is the most difficult look to pull off, and one that should be avoided unless you really know what you’re doing, as it can look you’re just wearing a pair of pants too big. Think: the oversized suits of the 90s, on Mafia dons and basketballers. It can, occasionally, be worn effectively in a retro way, but it should be a wider finish trouser with pleats, like a Gatsby-ish white linen suit. Image courtesy of @adamgonon.
Half Break: a half break finishes just about at the top of the shoe, and is the most universally approved option. Ideal for corporate suits and everyday wearers, a half break trouser works well for all suiting fabrics and styles, and pairs nicely with most shoes, particularly Oxfords or boots. Safe, timeless and versatile.
No Break: when you think of Italian summery suits worn with loafers and no socks, they are generally finished with no break, well above the shoe. Whereas your grandfather will inevitably tell you you’ve grown out of your trousers, it’s totally acceptable in today’s tailoring climate. In fact, if you’re opting for the no socks look, it’s the only finish that really works. It should be noted that it’s considered a little fashion forward and can be frowned on for some more conservative workplaces - a pair of bare ankles doesn’t really work in a bank or in court, for example. Rather than just cutting the trouser shorter, it’s important a tailor tapers the width at the end, so it finishes snug and tight around your ankle. The addition of a cuff, so the trouser is turned over, is often a nice way to make it look more intentional and purposeful.