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:

Skinny is the easiest. Pretty much any shoe, from a flat to a gigantic platform to a tall pair of boots works. The thing to remember is the skinny really features the shoe. Skinny pants are like two long arrows pointing down at your feet. So feature some fantastic shoes! Flats look great with cropped skinnies, though you can also leave them long. It's purely a matter of which look you like better. Leaving them longer will, in theory, make your legs look longer, but showing some skin by having them cropped can be really flattering too. (The only way to have it both ways is to leave them long and cuff them every so often.) If your boots are gigantic you can tuck the jeans in, but the fashion department is iffy on this last bit.

Illustration by Lauren Friedman

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