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The question

What do you think about rolling up pant legs by an inch or two? Too messy a look for anything but jeans?

The answer

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Suits have shrunk. The jackets are shorter, the trousers hemmed sometimes so short as to reveal a quarter-inch of sock.

I am not at all thrilled by the trend. I don't think little-boy suits are flattering, no matter how fashionable they are. In particular, I don't like the way the short jackets show off your belt buckle, not to mention a triangle of shirt and the end of the tie, protruding from under the bottom button. I have a feeling the look will seem extreme in 10 years' time and, like the bell-bottomed suits of the seventies, will be forever categorized as one of those what-were-they-thinking moments in fashion.

Revealing a bare ankle by rolling up cotton summer pants, however, is a different thing entirely. Here we are talking about a weekend-at-Chester kind of look, with tennis or deck shoes and a short-sleeved linen or polo shirt. Rolling up your trousers by a half-inch or so, to proudly demonstrate that you are wearing no socks, looks airy and cool and insouciant – halfway to wearing shorts.

Try it with slim white jeans, lace-up brownleather shoes and a navy blazer and you'll look like a photographer with a yacht.

Novelist Russell Smith's memoir, Blindsided, is available as a Kobo e-book. Have a style question? E-mail style@globeandmail.com.

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