Reader question: What’s the deal with pant lengths?

Over the weekend, I received a really great question from a really fabulous TRS reader. You know who you are:)

Can you write a post about pant lengths? I have some black slacks that are basically straight leg – they measure 17 inches circumference all from the knee down to the bottom. I think the hem bagging onto my foot in flats looks very sloppy. Is the Audrey “ankle length” appropriate? Thanks for any tips!!

Pant lengths can be quite a doozy. The right length depends on the silhouette. If you’re working with a slimmer leg–straight, tapered, or skinny–then the length should fall at or slightly above the ankle. Going any lower down the foot can start to look messy and cause that weird bagging effect. (I always find Tory Burch‘s pants to be the perfect length. Both the ones she designs, and the ones she wears.)

Plus, the ankle cut is a wonderful length to wear with either flats or heels. I tend to gravitate towards skinny and straight cuts precisely for this reason. I don’t have to worry about my shoes before putting on the pants!

When you’re opting for trousers that have more flow to them–flare, wide, or bootcut–you have to take into consideration the shoes you will be wearing. There’s nothing worse than too-short wide pants, and with those types of cuts, even a half of an inch can make you look awkward. The length should break slightly at the front of the foot and cover the majority of the shoe.

So in a nutshell, ankle lengths are more than okay, but make sure to avoid any bagging at all. The hem should end before the break of the foot. For wider legs, it’s a whole other ball game (see above).

Have any burning style questions? Shoot me an email, or post your sartorial issue on Facebook or Twitter!

[tweetmeme] One Response to Reader question: What’s the deal with pant lengths?
  1. Maris Olsen
    September 22, 2011 | 3:42 am

    Thanks Bryn!!

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