How long should dress trousers hang over your shoes?

A good pair of dress trousers needs to break over the top of your shoe, which means they should crease slightly once before they meet your footwear. A general rule is that they are too short if any part of the sock can be seen when you walk.

Too long

Too much length is just as bad as too little. If the back of the trouser leg trails on the floor as you walk around, it will look unsightly and wear away the hem. This can be prevented by raising the hem so it clears the floor around your heel when you have no shoes on.

Bottom line

Dress trousers are meant to provide a well-tailored image so a happy medium between too short or too long is the ideal. Most aim for the trouser hems to be slightly longer at the back than the front so they break once over the front of the shoe.

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About the Author

Based in the United Kingdom, Gabrielle Byrne has been writing for media since 1998. Her first book on crafts and textiles was published in 2008. She graduated from Oxford University with a Master of Arts in classics.