Ask the Tailor: What’s the Right Length for a Trouser Hem?

Photo by Michael

Each month we ask our expert tailors to address one of your most frequent questions. This month we’re all about trouser hems. What’s the right length?

Tailoring the perfect pair of trousers is a complex job. Every gentleman has specific preferences for fit and finish, and we make it our mission to get it completely right every time. 

Many of the choices involved in trouser construction are just that: choices. Whether you have a button or zip fly, whether you opt for pleats or no pleats, or whether you prefer to have turn ups or not are all down to your individual preferences. 

However, there are some aspects of the process that have more of a right and a wrong answer. One of those things is the length of your trouser hem. Sound like a small detail? Perhaps. But remember: in tailoring even the smallest details can have a big impact on the final silhouette.

For a traditional trouser silhouette, the hem of the trouser should sit cleanly on the top of your shoe. Any longer and you’re likely to get fabric bunching around your ankle, which is a dead giveaway that your trousers haven’t been properly fitted. 

Depending on your particular leg shape and length, your tailor may suggest cutting your trousers so that the hem at the back is a little longer than the hem at the front. This can be very flattering and is certainly a good option for many.

Of course, style rules are made to be broken, and many off-the-peg retailers flaunt the rules of traditional tailoring season after season. Sometimes the results of this are great, sometimes these new silhouettes disappear very quickly into the back of the nations’ wardrobes! 

In the past few years many fashion brands have been producing suit trousers with much shorter hemlines. These often stop at the ankle, an inch or so above the shoe line. Some gentleman look great in these: should they have the right personal style, occasion and confidence to pull them off. There is, however, a very real risk of looking like you’ve grown too tall for your trousers!

In this case, if you’re in any doubt: we say stick to the traditional style rules.

Next month we’ll be asking our tailors to fill us in on another frequently asked tailoring question. Sign up to our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss it.