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Do you have the right break?

Posted by Peter Manning on

This weekend I was with an old friend who said that his inseam was 30″. He’s 5’5″, so I was skeptical, and eventually he admitted that all his pants drag on the ground and the hems are all worn. Alas, he is not a 30″ inseam but a 27″.

This happens a lot.

When the shortest inseam available to us for so long had been 30″, many men think that is what they are. But they are not. This will take some educating. The best way to figure out your inseam is by taking a pair of pants you have shortened (or have folded up) to a length that works and measure from the crotch seam to the hem. Chances are it is shorter than you think.

This brings us to the break. Do you want a slight break (and it should never be more than slight), or do you want a clean line to your ankle with no break? Both work, so it depends on what you are comfortable with. No break is a little cleaner and more modern and a slight break is more classic.

I go back and forth. With jeans and chinos and a flat sneaker (like a Stan Smith or Jack Purcell), I go with no break. With a lace up ankle boot or when I wear a dress pant, I prefer a little more shoe coverage and slight break. The most important thing is to never let your pants bunch around your ankle. It doesn’t look great on anyone but it especially doesn’t help the 5’8″ and under man look taller and leaner.


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