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Design & Style

Guide to Suit Pant Lengths: 5 Types of Pant Breaks

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Nov 9, 2020 • 2 min read

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Personal style often hinges on the details. When you choose a pair of pants or suit trousers, it’s important to consider the pant break—the length and cut of a pant leg.

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5 Types of Pant Breaks

In the world of menswear, trouser length, or break, determines how much your pant leg opening hangs over the top of your shoes. Thanks to tailoring, you can request a custom break on nearly any pair of chinos, denim, or dress pants. The right pants break depends on the fabric, your body type, and your personal style. There are five popular pants breaks in the world of fashion.

  1. Full break: A full break leaves the most length in a pair of pant legs and allows for a small amount of fabric bunching at the top of the shoe. A full break works best with a baggy pair of pleated dress trousers with a wide leg opening. This style was considered dapper in the mid-twentieth century, and it works best as part of a throwback look.
  2. Medium break: Also known as a half break, this pant break cuts off about one-third of the way down your shoe. It is the perfect fit for a business-casual dress code and pairs well with a standard dress shirt and perhaps a blazer or suit jacket. A medium break is also stylish if you’re wearing a pair of straight-leg chinos.
  3. Slight break: A very trendy look for the modern businessman, the slight break cuts off the trouser legs near the very top of the shoe. It works well with slim-fit pants or trousers with tapered legs.
  4. No break: Pants with no break cut off before the top of your shoe. This fashion-forward style will show off your socks and ankle bone—especially when you're seated and crossing your legs. Skinny chinos look chic with no break, as can nearly any pair of pants if you get them tailored.
  5. Cropped leg: Popularized by the fashion designer Thom Browne, cropped pants cut off even higher than no-break pants. Because they are cut higher along the inseam, cropped pants may have a wider leg opening than slight-break or no-break pants, which typically have a tapered leg all the way down to the shoe. Women's and men's pants with cropped hemlines are often called capris, and they can pair with footwear from loafers to boat shoes to flip flops.

Pants length is a matter of preference. However, if you're uncertain of what cut best fits your body, consult with a tailor to find the perfect style.

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