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Trend Guide – Short Trousers

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A few weeks ago I was out with a group of friends enjoying a drink or three when a rather drunk man about ten or fifteen years older than me sauntered up to my side, put his large arm around my shoulder and barely containing his laughter said: “I just had to come and tell you, your trousers are far too short.” I let him have his laugh and laughed along with him (the man who cannot laugh at himself can laugh at no one) and then he went on his merry way, chuckling as he did so.

To be fair to the man I could not really argue with him because for the everyday gent who simply wears clothes for warmth and to cover up – rather than a sense of self-expression – I appreciate the way I dress may be a little laughable.

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However, while we are each to our own (how Orwellian would the world be if we weren’t), if there is one trend that has been a slow burner yet has lately caught on quicker than a bush fire, it is the penchant for the rolled up jeans, chinos or suit trousers and more recently, simply chopping off the hem for a clean, swift break between the shoe and the ankle.

Where this trend has sprung from I am not entirely sure but from the fashionistas appearing on the lenses of style bloggers to a large proportion of designers – Marc Jacobs, Burberry, Agi & Sam, Dior Homme, Marni, Joseph, Christophe Lemaire and Saint Laurent amongst a battalion of others – have adopted this look for recent campaigns.

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There are many men, the laughing drunk included, who cannot fathom why any respectable gent would do this and they have a point and yet you only have to take a quick look down the ages to see how the cut of our trousers has varied; from the wide leg trousers in the roaring ‘20s to the skinny jeans of the modern day, 70’s flares to the sharp, straight cut suit trousers favoured by the Mods.  The cut of our trousers and jeans has altered drastically through the course of time so really it should come as little surprise that this new fashion phenomenon has arisen for a generation of men unafraid to tackle the fashion boundaries we place upon ourselves.

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This shorter leg length gives our silhouette a longer, leaner look, it enable us to make more of a show towards our footwear and if nothing else it is a change from the skinny fit jean which has dominated the fashion market for the best part of the 2000’s.

It’s not just a trend for the summer months either with men showing off their ankles and socks in a multitude of colours and patterns no matter the climes. In some ways, the advent of men being more adventurous with their choice of socks has seen this trend take hold – there seems little point in wearing bright red socks if no one can see them.

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Unless you are one of the lucky few who has the money to spend on high-end designers, finding trousers that are cut short before you purchase them is going to be difficult this season but you have several options which will ensure you are bang on trend this season:

Down Size:

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If you usually take a 32” leg, get yourself a pair of 30”’s instead. It doesn’t matter if it’s suits trousers or chinos, skinny or tapered jeans, there will definitely be a trouser leg short enough to accommodate your leg measurement going down a size.

Tailor Made:

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There is a popular misconception that having trousers tailored is expensive but you can get the hem of your leg cropped for as little as £10. Not only does this give you your own personal style, it saves you having to pay tons of money for a designer pair.

Roll-Up, Roll-Up:

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The source of the shorter length trousers can be traced to the rolled-up hem which started to emerge on the fashion scene four or five seasons ago. Rolling your hem up works with stiffer fabrics such a denim and the thicker cottons used for chinos but not so well when it comes to suit trousers. On the plus side though, if you do get bored of the high-hem, you can always just roll them back down again.

Make The Cut:

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This may sound like a craft workshop but simply take a scalpel and ruler to the base of your trousers and cut off the required length. This look is a progression on the classic high-hem and is only just catching on, plus the frayed look only really works on jeans, no one wants to see suit trousers with threadbare pieces of fabric dangling from the seam.

Key Pieces: No matter the cut of your chosen trousers or jeans, you may not be able to buy a readymade pair straight off the peg but what there’s no denying is the fact there is a world of cuts – from skinny to loose tapered – you can choose from.

pleated blend trouserswashed cotton chinosrelaxed suit trousers

oxford blend trousersdrifter tailored trousersskinny leg trousers

gym turnup chinosmarni pleated trouserscheck panel trousers

light wash jeansslash spray jeansmid wash jeans

CONCLUSION: Style is for people who like to play it safe while fashion is for the brave. People may laugh at you, they may think you look foolish but if you feel comfortable, then really you have nothing to lose.

This is certainly the case for the high-hemmed trouser leg; it may not be too everyone’s liking, you may get random drunk people jovially pointing out they don’t particularly care for your attire but then again, if you care what others think of you, you are missing the point of fashion.

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Robbie Canale
Robbie Canale

Robbie Canale is a freelance writer and stylist with a passion for football and fashion, two genres he knows should never go together! He has contributed to publications including Harper's Bazaar Arabia, GQ Dubai and Pickles football magazine.

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