One question that I get asked often as a Personal Stylist is:
“How long should men’s jeans be?”
The length of men’s jeans can be so confusing- so many brands, styles, fits, fabrics.
How do you know what’s right for YOU?!
In this guide to men’s jeans fit, I’ll be sharing the do’s and don’ts of jean length, 3 common mistakes that I see as a personal stylist and insider stylist tips that you can use when shopping for jeans.
WHAT MOST GUYS DO: 3 COMMON MISTAKES WITH JEAN FIT
Mistake 1. Buying jeans way too big
I once worked with a client, who was very successful in Real Estate.
His dress code was casual so he wore jeans often and his closet was full of them. During a closet edit session, we were cleaning his wardrobe and when we got to the jeans I noticed that they were FALLING off of him.
When I asked about this, he shared that he didn’t think they were too big, because he always wears a belt.
When you wear your jeans too big, it can make you look heavier than what you are, create an unflattering shape for you and it will make you look sloppy.
Mistake 2. Thinking that jeans are supposed to fit off the rack
After working in the Fashion Industry for 15 years, I know a thing or two about how it works.
And one of the biggest misconceptions is that your clothing SHOULD fit you perfectly, right when you buy it, especially the length of men’s jeans.
This is not true.
In fact, 99% of my clients need to get alterations to their clothing and this is completely normal. There is nothing wrong with your body if you get alterations.
Most guys fail to get a very simple alteration done, which is to shorten the length of your pant. This small change will help you look more put together, in shape and professional.
Mistake 3. Buying distressed jeans
The last mistake I see when it comes to jeans is investing money into a pair of jeans that has a lot of distressing- rips, studs, discoloration.
This can read sloppy, too young, and even distracting- especially for professional settings.
HOW LONG SHOULD MEN’S JEANS BE?
Why the Length Matters
Getting the length of your jeans tailored will be a worthwhile investment for you and the number 1 investment you should make to make sure it fits you perfectly.
Take a look at this picture:
Now imagine that you were a manager at your company. You want to look powerful, like you have your life together and someone who is trustworthy.
When you wear jeans that are too long, it can communicate an image that is sloppy, not thoughtful and sometimes even untrustworthy.
When you take the time to make sure you get the right length, (picture on the right), you’ll INSTANTLY look more professional, capable, knowledgeable and more. Your pant length won’t be a distraction to your message.
What’s the right length?
There are various options of length for your body. (Image by Primer Mag)
This pant length is the most modern out of the 4 above.
It is also my favorite for my male clients because it reads professional with a touch of modern flair.
It also looks very clean, there is no extra fabric hanging out above the shoe and visually creates a straight line.
No break is a length of men’s jeans that you can wear year around- wear with sandals in the summer, with a pair of crisp white sneakers in the Spring or even chocolate leather boots in the winter.
It’s also perfect for every dress code- from business casual to formal and no dress code.
This length of jeans for guys is my 2nd favorite length and one that some of my clients opt for.
The quarter break adds some fabric to the end and you can see how it slightly folds over the shoe.
This is good for guys that aren’t as fashion forward, live in less ‘fashion forward’ cities and want to take a more conservative approach to their pant length. It’s also flattering for all body types
Half Break and Full Break
Half and full break men’s pants lengths I tend to usually stay away from for my clients. Because they are more conservative, less flattering- I find them to be for a very specific type of guy.
If you’re on the shorter side, you’ll want to stay away from these pant lengths as they won’t flatter your frame- I’d opt for the No Break or Quarter Break.
“BUT WHAT DO I TELL A TAILOR?”
Now you understand the importance of your jean length and using a tailor. Here are 3 tips to keep in mind when working with a tailor to get the right length:
TAILOR TIP 1. Wear your sneakers that you normally wear with your jeans to the tailor
You want to make sure that you have the right shoes on as this will affect the length of your pants.
TAILOR TIP 2. Have them fold under to show you what a no break and quarter break look like.
Before they make any alterations, you’ll want to have them show you what various pant lengths look like.
Have them fold under the jean to show you what a break and no break length looks like on you. This will make your decision about the pant length an easier one.
TAILOR TIP 3. If you can’t decide what’s best…do this
Always start with the half break or quarter break for your pants if you’re unsure what looks best on you.
Remember that you can always shorten them in the future, but you can’t undo a pant length that’s already short.
STYLIST RECOMMENDATIONS FOR MEN’S JEANS
Now that we’ve gone through the logistics of finding the right length of jeans, l want to share 3 insider stylist tips (that you can’t find anywhere else) when it comes to finding the right jean for you.
STYLIST JEAN TIP 1. Try on at least 10 different brands of jeans
One of the biggest barriers that I see to finding the right brands is not trying on enough brands in the first place!
Remember that you need to try on MANY brands to find the right one for you (and yes it exists).
If you’ve hired a personal stylist– they’ll do all this for you so you can walk into a private fitting room with outfits.
If you aren’t working with a stylist, I recommend spending at least 2 hours in a department store and pulling at least 10 brands to try on.
STYLIST JEAN TIP 2. Look for stretch in your jeans
There are so many amazing innovations for men’s jeans that will ensure that you stay comfortable but look great for any situation.
Look for stretch in your jeans- at least 2-4 %. This will allow for you to move throughout your day and not make you feel restricted.
STYLIST JEAN TIP 3. Buy a grey pair of jeans
So you want to look great but not be the center of attention?
I highly recommend buying a GREY pair of jeans. I believe that this is a MUST for every man’s closet: no matter your body type, profession or where you live.
Not only will you be following my core color system, creating more outfits with less stuff in your closet, but by having a grey jean you’ll stand out for all the right reasons and not put you as the center of attention.
Cassandra Sethi is a NYC Personal Stylist and Image Consultant. After working over 15 years in the Fashion Industry, most recently as a Senior Buyer for Equinox, she created business Next Level Wardrobe – a luxury personal shopping service for successful professionals. Cassandra’s been featured in Greatist, Livestrong and NY Mag.