Full break v.s. half break: all you need to know about pant alterations

Full Break Pants? A Guide to Fitting

Full break v.s. half break: all you need to know about hemming pants

Wondering how you can find clothes that outlast trends? The best place to start is with fit, which sometimes means working with a tailor to alter your clothing. This is the first part in our Guide to Fitting series, where we answer common questions about alterations so that you know everything you need to look your best.

We’ll start first with pant alterations. One of the most common questions we receive

Full break vs half break: all you need to know about hemming pants

The break is where the bottom of your trouser meets the shoe. It’s noticeable by how much your trousers bunch up, or fold around the ankles. Different types of breaks are more suitable for certain trousers or situations. But we’ll get onto that later.

No break is when the trouser hem kisses the top of the shoe. Your socks will definitely be visible for this look, as it occurs with shorter pant lengths. This style looks best with a tapered leg and well-defined tailoring. It’s easy to pull off but you just have to be careful about your choice of socks.

Quarter break is the most stylish look out of the four. It’s a contemporary look where you have between a half inch and an inch of fabric slightly creased around your ankle. Ideal for the modern business man, it shows off that you know how suit trousers should fit. But you’re also not trying too hard to be trendy with no break at all.

Half break is another smart look, ideal for a more conservative gentleman. For a half break there will be roughly between one and two inches of fabric creased or folded above the shoe. This look works best when your trousers are not tapered. It can also work very well with a cuff – where there’s a few folds at the bottom of your trouser leg.

Full break; this occurs when you intentionally wear trousers that are slightly too long for your leg. Anything above 2 inches of extra fabric will create this look, and it works best with a slightly wider style of trouser. The full break is perfect for the older, or heavier gentleman. It can look very elegant but you need to be careful the trousers aren’t too long. Otherwise, the excess of fabric will just look clumsy and untidy.


For smarter, suit trousers, a quarter or half break provides the neatest look. The fabric over the back of your shoe should end slightly lower than it does at the front, where the break will be noticeable. Suit trousers can be specifically tailored to have this break, and is becoming the most common look for most men. If you don’t want to stand out in your business suit, and are simply going for the look of a well-dressed gentleman, this is a look you should work on pulling off.

When wearing chinos, to achieve the best look you should opt for a shorter pair, with no break at all. Chinos are a versatile trouser, which can be worn to work with a shirt and tie. They also work equally well in casual situations. If you’re wearing slim fitting chinos, no break will help to show the shape of the trousers, and further accentuate your style.

Jeans are the final trouser style we’ll assess and by far the most worn these days. With jeans, you can tailor them however you want, going from a full break to no break to provide different looks. The safest option with jeans is a half break, which is suitably casual, without looking too long. Wearing jeans with no break is fine, just make sure you choose a suitable pair of socks. A full break on jeans can also work, but you need to be careful that you’re not dragging extra fabric along the ground when you walk.

Full break v.s. half break: all you need to know about pant alterations

The most important thing when choosing your trouser length, is to make sure you think it looks good with the rest of your outfit. Try the trousers on both standing and sitting – and always try them on with shoes.


Larrimor’s has a variety of offerings for men and women from brands handpicked by our thoughtful buyers. You can visit our website here to browse our extensive collection of pants, as well as footwear and other clothing, or shop in-store at our Pittsburgh location.

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