How to make cropped pants work for guys, and when not to crop
It is difficult to not notice the growing trend that is the decreasing hem length of trousers in men.
Opinions have been deeply divided on whether cropped pants are here to stay.
Does it work for everyone? What is the right cropped length? Should you give it a try? Should you do it for all your outfits?
What most people don’t realise, that there are actually a myriad of lengths one can try.
The key is to make sure the length is matched to the tailoring, the length should suit the wearer’s body shape, and the look is paired with the right outfit.
Here is a helpful break down on how to effectively wear cropped pants, and to work out when you should not crop.
(Photo from Instagram) Italian designer Mararo is a huge fan of the cropped trousers.
1. Cropped above the ankle, worn with no socks
This is a look not for the faint-hearted, you will need to be fully committed.
Keep the look simple with good tailoring. The trousers need to be very slim, especially towards the hem. This look can be worn with or without a cuff.
Because the short trousers length can make the wearer look short, he should be of a medium to tall height, and of a slim physique.
The shoes worn should be a good brogue or loafer, and they should be well polished and looked after.
If you can style the outfit well, socks can be worn with this length. However, if done poorly, you will look like a school boy who has outgrown his clothes.
Finally, finish off the look by pairing the trousers with a well tailored shirt, light jacket and a pocket square.
(Photo from Instagram) Mr. Mararo opted for the classic cuffed cropped trousers with socks, while his friend went full out with the fully tailored cropped look and classic loafers.
2. Cropped at the ankle with socks
This is a slightly more formal , and less daring look. If you are not ready to go bare feet, this is a look to try.
The hem length is slightly longer, sitting just above the foot with no break line at all. Again the trousers are very tapered towards the bottom of the hem, and can be either cuffed or uncuffed.
Keep your socks classic, match the colour to your tie or pocket square if you are unsure. For the slightly more advanturous, choose socks with a classic pattern, such as maroon diamonds. Crazy socks are fun but should not be worn with these trouser. Save them for longer trousers which hide the socks while you are standing, and only show them off when you are sitting down.
Classic dress shoes or boots are a suitable match for this hem length.
(Photo from Instagram) A very modern and clean look by Hugo Boss. Well tapered trousers ending just above the feet, with no break.
3. Half break
The half break is the look we recommend for most of our customers this year.
Perfect for slim or regular fit trousers, the hem sits just over the rim of dress shoes, and one bump of the hem fabric at the front (the half break).
This look is modern yet safe, and suits everyone, especially the vertically challenged men.
This length covers the ankles completely, and shows well paired socks when the wearer sits down.
There are some gents who prefer not to have break, but still want the trousers to cover their ankles. On these occasions, we can slant the trousers to be slightly shorter at the front, thereby reducing the bubble (break).
(Photo from Instagram) Tom Ford is to men’s fashion, as Coco Chanel was to women. Here is the classic half break. Perfect for his regular fit trousers.
4. Full break
The full break is the classic length, for gents favouring the more traditional look. It works well with straight or wide leg trousers only.
The back of the trousers comes right down to the end of the heel, and there are at least 2 bumps (break) at the front. This look can be worn cuffed or uncuffed.
Hem tape can be useful to guard the fabric from being worn from rubbing on the shoes.
This look should be reserved for more formal occasions, such as tuxedos, and work suits.
(Photo from Instagram) Mr. Armani goes for the full break with his classic cut tuxedo trousers. However, Djokovic’s slim trousers are too long, and should be shortened to a half break. The full break does not work on this occasion. The slim fitting trousers cannot fit over the shoe and bunches up at the ankle.
5. When NOT to crop
There are a few instances that one should not wear the shorter trousers length.
Body shape: Cropped trousers are not for the vertically challenged, or those with muscular legs. The shorter length will make you appear shorter than you are. Instead, make sure the trousers are at least at a half break, and slightly tapered towards the hem
Wrong cut: The most important aspect of cropped trousers is the cut. It must be fully tapered towards the bottom of the hem. If the trousers are a straight or wide cut, and flaps around at the ankles, it will only make the wearer appear as if they have outgrown their school trousers.
Want to know more?
The Suit Book – Everything You Need to Know About Wearing a Suit