Where Should Your Pants Hem Hit Your Shoe?

I am going to paraphrase here, because the chorus of voices demanding answers to this question has become a cacophony that drowns out all else:

Q: Where should your pants hem hit your shoe? Fashion types mentioned Derek Lam's 10 Crosby line, where pant hems dragged across the floor, and Kate Moss' very-tall-shoes-with-voluminous-pants moment at a Chanel show. More everyday types wanted to know about (a) work and (b) jeans. Even a male Lucky staffer wondered. Related questions rained down: What length is the right length for pants? And how do you wear the same pants with different heel heights?


A: The outpouring of confusion on this issue necessitates a longer-than-usual response. Fashion director Anne Keane and senior fashion editor Elle Strauss spent parts of several days hunched over a computer, comparing photos, rearranging various pant/shoe combinations on the floor, shaking their heads, reassessing, fiddling, denouncing, hemming, hawing and, in the end, triumphing, with this compendium of pant-length/shoe-style combinations:

Straight-leg was the category that gave our editors the most agita. "It's so hard to get right," said Elle."Because it can look so wrong!" Anne frowned. "People just shouldn't get straight-leg!"

They said this but then were forced to laugh at themselves when every single pair of straight-leg pants they Googled was sold out. "The people have spoken," Anne finally conceded. Pumps or flats work with straight-leg (they shuddered visibly when I brought up boots and sandals), and the pants themselves should be cropped (or cuffed) at the anklebone or above.

Illustration by Lauren Friedman

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