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Suit-ology 101; The "Break"

Jeanne

This is the second post in a series that provide detail on terms associated with suiting and the top three that we believe are the most important to the look and fit of your suit and tuxedo. You can read our first post about the “drop,” here. Below is the full breakdown on your ideal pant length.

The "break" is the fold or bend above the cuff of the pant created when the fabric of the pant is longer than your actual leg. A pant line breaks or kinks near your shin when the cuff meets your shoe.

Why do retailers sell dress pants typically un-finished? A man’s pant break is very specific to their personal preference in how they like their pants to look when standing still or walking.  The current trend in slim fitting suiting is to have little to no break for a really crisp, clean finish. 

The key to nailing the right pant length is to go to a tailor and have the pants tacked while wearing the dress shoes you intend to wear. If you are on the shorter side, no break is recommended as it will make your legs look longer. If you are very tall, a slight break can still look sharp and will give you a little extra length to prevent your pants from hiking up too much when you are sitting or walking.

At the tailor, make sure you are standing straight and tall. Do not look down at the floor. A tailor will typically ask for your pant length preference and it is important that you are specific since they have many customers with a wide range of requests. Oftentimes, they will recommend a length to you, but it will most likely be THEIR preference and very different from what you want. Don’t hesitate to bring a picture or two of pant styles you like to help them visualize the look you want to achieve.

Once the pants are pinned, ask if you can sit down and take a few strides towards a mirror. Make sure you like the way the pants look while standing still, walking and sitting. A typical pant hemming alteration should cost anywhere from $7-$15. This inexpensive alteration can make all the difference in creating a tailored look if you take the time to communicate and thoroughly test your pants while they are pinned. Happy hemming!

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