A MAN’S GUIDE TO TROUSER LENGTHS | THE BREAK
The break of your trouser has a more visible impact on the look of the fit than any other feature of your trouser, therefore your choice of break must be visually appealing and well fitting.
In the past, if you wore trousers of length above the ankle, it’s termed “jump-up” which is in no way a good thing. The term “jump up” was commonly used where I grew up and is not a proper English terminology, it’s just what we called it those days. Simply put…it’s an unflattering way of saying that someone’s trousers weren’t his size or more specifically that he has outgrown it.
I mean, those days when we were much younger, no one goes to a tailor asking him to make trousers of length above the ankle. Never! In fact those days most tailors [even without giving them the length specification] will by default make the length of the trousers a little too long such that it draped down the back of your shoe.
Why do they do so? It’s simple…because they want to make sure you don’t outgrow your trousers for at least 2 years to come…Now, here is what happens, after about a year, you’ve grown a bit more taller than expected and then your trousers are now “Jump-Up”. People laughed at you when you wore them like that.
But now in this modern age, a lot of us comfortably give the Trousers fit and length specification to be slim fit and “Jump-Up” a.k.a “No Break”. We comfortably wear it nowadays, however, unlike in those days whereby it was unplanned – something that happens as a result of circumstances beyond your control [you grew too fast], today it’s something we want and desire and we are not ashamed of wearing them anymore.
I wear it and I can’t remember any time someone has looked at me and said “Kobi is wearing an undersized trousers”…In fact these days, many people see it as stylish and want to wear it as well.
Cool! So I’m here to talk about The Break…now that’s the proper English terminology or should I say menswear term used to describe trouser lengths. Did I hear you say “Oh wow! I’m just hearing this for the first time”….You are welcome. Now, let’s delve into this topic proper, shall we?
The Break of a trouser is the fold above the cuff of your leg which is usually created when the length of fabric is longer than your leg. If you’ve just bought a pair of unhemmed trousers you certainly have to hem it and get it tailored to your preferred length and this depends on your choice of Break.
Now you know the definition, here are the 3 types of Trouser Breaks we will focus on today.
1. FULL BREAK
The length of the trouser hits right at the top of the shoe sole and this gives the trouser a deep crease and bulging in front of your shoes such that your socks do not show even while walking. It is considered the appropriate trouser break for taller and older men and is also suitable for the working man in his suit trousers. This type of break is also appropriate for jeans due to the thick denim material they are made of.
2. HALF BREAK
A half break trouser is slightly shorter than a Full Break but longer than the No Break. It’s exactly halfway between a full and no break. As the name implies, the length of your trousers should hit midway between the top of your shoe and the top of your shoe sole, allowing a slight fold in front of your shoe. It is classic look for the professional executive.
3. NO BREAK
A trouser that doesn’t hit the shoe or just hits at the top of the shoe has No Break at all. You can choose this trouser length style as your personal break style, however as a general rule – you should avoid this if you are too tall. Also if you want to be fashion forward with this style, ensure the width of the bottom of your trouser is quite slim somewhere between 14 and 15 inches in circumference. And lastly, wear beautiful and well polished shoes.
Now you know the different types of trouser breaks, I must also let you know that none of the trouser breaks is better than another. Your choice of which one to adopt depends on your personal preference and essentially what works for your body type. If you are not sure of which one to adopt yet, you could start off with a half break or a quarter break. You can never get it wrong with these two no matter how tall or short or fat or slim you are. Once you are comfortable wearing a half break you can then start experimenting with other types of break.
With that said, when next you visit your tailor, you could tell him the exact type of break you want and he will know how to tailor it.
What’s your preferred trouser break style? Do you prefer one over the other? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.
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Thanks, as always for reading. Until next time … Continue to Do Well, Live Well and Dress Very Well. Be Classy!
Yours in Style,
Kobi O. Mbagwu (Mr. Kobi)
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