First impressions often set the tone for someone’s opinions of you whether you like it or not. That’s why it is so important to deliver a “good” first impression and, in the business world and beyond, that often involves looking your best. From outfit to tailoring to overall comportment, you’d be surprised at just how many things people notice about you without you ever thinking about it. 

Then again, if you consider it, you probably do the same things with other people you meet. When it comes to life, especially in professional spheres, it seems like everyone is either in on some secret rulebook - or wants to be. 

This is especially true when it comes to fashion and, trust us, there are some definite rules when it comes to a man’s trousers. If it is having too much fabric or too little, the way men wear their trousers is a kind of signal to the world about what kind of person they are. Naturally, too much bunched up fabric at the bottom of the pants leg makes a person look sloppy and unprofessional. Worse than that, it makes them look like they can't dress themselves or don’t care. Imagine what kind of message that conveys at a job interview, for example. 

Not stepping into these common pitfalls is the first order of business. Looking your best usually comes as an added benefit. In this article, we’re going to discuss the different styles for men to choose from when wearing trousers as well as what each one says about the wearer. Hopefully this guide will give you some insight into how to make your own discerning sartorial choices - or at least avoid a disaster. 

Here are four common trouser length styles and what they mean from a fashion standpoint:

4. No Break


What “no break” means when it comes to trouser length is that the bottom of your pants just barely grace the tops of your shoes and should rest at the center of your ankle. This is a go-to style for many people because it works. It never looks sloppy and inevitably details a sophisticated, tailored approach to style choices. A standard of the professional set, even though “no break” is the default for many men, it is not a required style. Often people confuse what is safe with what is required and “no break” length trousers is easily a safe choice that looks flattering on the widest range of people. That said, it is particularly flattering for shorter men as well as slim individuals. 

3. Slight Break


The biggest difference between “no break” and a “slight break” really boils down to tailoring. A “no break” look requires precise tailoring and care. On top of that, the rest of your outfit needs to be on point. Nonetheless, like we said, it looks good on most men and is a safe, fashionable option. But if you’re worried you can’t quite pull that off and need just a little bit more slack in your pants length, the “slight break” look is the other go-to option for the fashionable and business jetset. A slight break is more forgiving as it has just a little bit of fabric below your ankle. This gives you more choices when it comes to your shoes as well as relieving you of the pressure to make sure you have dynamic or just plain quality socks on underneath. We recommend the “slight break” length to pretty much anyone but particularly to young men that want to look stylish but have to work for a living. 

2. Medium Break


A conservative approach that gives you way more fabric than the “no break” look, the “medium break” gives you room to grow sartorially as well as some versatility in my wardrobe. This style is typically seen on older, more conservative looking business types for whom fashion is more form and function than it is statement and passion. It also looks good on men that have a little more weight on their bodies than the average male and is a perennially flattering look. Often the preferred length of tailors because it gives them “something to work with” if you don’t like the results, “medium break” trouser length is perfectly acceptable for the man that wants to present a conservative, tailored, and utterly professional appearance. 

1. Full Break


This is a throwback to an earlier time that immediately denotes conservatism as well as a flare for classic styles. This means that the length of the pants leg fabric envelopes the top of the shoe to an extent meaning your ankle and socks are fully covered. Like the “medium break,” the full break is great for bigger men and those of a more conservative style background such as senior executives and lawyers. While it is an old school look, it does have a lot of modern appreciation among a certain set that likes to hold to the old rules.

Another Style - Cropped

Brought to prominence in the style world by Thom Browne, this extremely fashion-forward look has your pants leg ending well above your ankle and is best for thin,taller men. That doesn’t mean other guys can’t pull it off - it’s just a bit tougher for them. By far the single most daring style on this list, it is tough to “recommend” the cropped look because it is so avant garde and new. Those who like this look should try for the “no break” length instead. It gives you many of the same benefits aesthetically but it doesn’t have the burden of being so difficult to pull off from a sartorial perspective. 

What Does this all Mean?

No matter how you wear your trousers, comfort and confidence go hand in hand with your style choice. Make sure you like what you are wearing and that can make a huge difference in your appearance as well. Fashion isn’t always about checking off the right boxes and following the whispered rules. It is often about being the best you possible and that will happen when you are comfortable and confident in your outfit.