When to Cuff Jeans? (Are You Supposed to Cuff Jeans?)

When to Cuff Jeans?

How many times have you seen someone roll up the legs of their jeans? And how many times have you thought to yourself, “I wish I could do that!”? Rolling up your jeans has become a trend that is often associated with skaters and/or teenagers who are trying to make themselves look less formal. But it’s not just for teenagers anymore…

Cuffing should be reserved for casual wear, specifically on boots or sneakers. The style is also most appropriate with a casual shirt, like a polo or a T-shirt. If you’re wearing nice shoes and a dress shirt, leaving your jeans uncuffed is the way to go.

Some people cuff their jeans to keep them from dragging on the ground while walking and/or because they find the look more appealing than simply rolling up their cuffs. Cuffing is also sometimes done as a way to hide wear patterns that would otherwise be more noticeable if they were left uncuffed.

The amount you should cuff in order to achieve these effects depends on the style of your jeans and personal preference.

While cuffing might seem like a relatively new trend, this style has actually been around for decades. While it’s worn by celebrities today, back in the 1940s and 50s this was referred to as “French Rolling” or “French Cuffing”. It was popularized by many French designers.


Are You Supposed to Cuff Jeans?

The cuffing debate rages on. Some people love it, some hate it, but regardless of your opinion on the matter, you’re going to encounter people who do it. So you may as well know whether or not you should be doing it too. But do you really want to roll up your jeans? Are you supposed to roll up your jeans?

Cuffing your jeans is a way to show off your shoes, but it isn’t the right look for every situation. Sometimes you want to wear your jeans long, like with a pair of boots or heels. Other times you might want to hem them up a bit, like with sneakers or a loafer-style shoe.

If you’re going to wear them, get the best look by keeping these tips in mind:

  1. Cuff at the right time. The right time to cuff your jeans is when you want a casual look that’s also put together. Since cuffs are intended to be worn with sneakers or boots, they work best with casual tops and shirts.
  2. Cuff with the right shoes. If you pair cuffed jeans with lace-up shoes or boots, it looks better than if you wear them with slip-on shoes or sneakers.
  3. Cuff the right way. The most flattering way to cuff your jeans is to roll only one of the legs up and tuck it into your shoe. It’s a subtle way to show off a different part of your shoe as well as give you some height (the higher up your shoe, the more slimming it looks). Keep the leg that’s not rolled up slightly longer than the other so it doesn’t create a peg-leg effect
  4. Go for a whole new look! This can be tricky, but cuffed jeans can look really cute when paired with flat boots like riding boots.

There’s no real rule for determining when to cuff and when not to. It just comes down to personal style, so consider all the options when deciding which length suits you best.


Do Jeans Look Better Cuffed?

Cuffed jeans can look cool when they’re done well, but more often than not, they end up looking like a mistake. They can make your legs look shorter and your heels look clunkier. Plus, the wrong pair of pants can bunch up awkwardly below the cuff or fall down when you sit down.

If your jeans are straight leg or boot cut, it’s up to you. Cuffing jeans that are already long is a good way to give them a more casual look. But if you have loose-fitting, skinny jeans (or even regular fit jeans) that are above your ankles, cuffing them makes them look shorter and wider. If you want to go for a more stylish look and keep the length the same, try folding them in half instead of cuffing.

The problem with cuffed jeans is that they draw too much attention to your shoes because your pants are now shorter than your shoes. It’s a lot easier to wear a pair of shoes with a similar heel height as what’s already on the bottom of your jeans leg. If you’re wearing sneakers and don’t want to mess up their clean aesthetic lines, it’s easy to just cuff them without having any negative impact on how they look.

But if you want to wear heels with your cuffed jeans, it can be hard (although not impossible) to find ones that match the length of the cuff exactly.

Rolling up the cuffs of your pants can actually make them look much better. This is especially true if they are baggy jeans. Rolling them up will give them a more fitted look and make them look more flattering on you. Rolling your pants is not just for high school kids or skateboarders anymore!


Should I Cuff My Straight Leg Jeans?

The main argument for cuffing straight-leg jeans is that there is less breakage and fraying that can occur when you’re wearing them. However, this isn’t much of a concern if you plan on getting your jeans hemmed by the tailor.

The main argument for not cuffing straight-leg jeans is that it can make your legs look shorter. In general, the longer your pants are, the more leg looks elongated and leaner; however, other factors like hemming can play a role in this as well.

 

KUT from the Kloth Catherine Boyfriend in Authenticity Authenticity 14 30.5

 

How to Cuff Your Straight-Leg Jeans

The amount of break you leave in your cuffs (the length between the bottom of your pant leg and the top of your shoe) varies based on personal preference. If you’re going for a clean-cut look with no excess material pooling around your shoe, keep them at about two fingers’ widths. If you’re just looking for a more casual look, leaving three or four fingers’ worth of cuff showing is fine.


 

How Many Times Should You Fold Your Jeans?

The ideal length for cuffed jeans depends on the style of footwear you’re wearing. If you have boots or sneakers on, you want to show at least ½ inch from your sock or shoe to the bottom of your jean leg. If you’re wearing loafers or lace-up shoes, then 1 inch is the mark to hit.

Here’s how you should fold your jeans:

  • Dark Jeans/Light Wash Jeans: If you’re wearing dark jeans, they can be folded once, while light wash jeans can be folded twice.
  • Jeans that are not ripped/torn/frayed: Folding your jeans is mainly done to keep them looking neat and tidy. When you fold your jeans make sure you do it in an “inside out” way so that the folds won’t show when you put on your pants. You can also put in a pocket square or something similar in the pocket of your pants to prevent any wrinkles.
  • Also, folding dark-washed jeans once will give them a great look. If you’re wearing light-washed jeans it’s better to fold them twice so they don’t get too bulky or look like they’re too tight on you.
  • If you have another way to fold your jeans, make sure it doesn’t look sloppy and that it fits well on you! The point is to maintain a clean and fashionable look when wearing your denim products!

 

KUT from the Kloth Catherine Boyfriend in Authenticity Authenticity 14 30.5

 

How Far to Roll Up Jeans?

Don’t over-cuff! If your jeans are too long, then cuff them once or twice and be done with them for now. You can always roll them up again later if you want more cuffs (or even just one).


 

 

In summary, Cuffing jeans is a style technique that involves folding over and blousing the bottom of your jeans. It’s typically done with a pair of raw denim jeans but can be done with any type of jeans, even if they’re already broken in.

All in all, it’s a personal preference when to cuff your jeans. This decision is often based on two main factors: the type of shoes you’re pairing your jeans with and your personal style.

However, a good rule of thumb is to never go past the middle of your shoe when you want to make sure that your jeans will not be cropped.

You need to make the decision that’s best for you and your lifestyle. If you like them a little longer, or you are going for a more “old school” look, go cuff ’em up. If you’re looking for a really narrow leg opening or something to wear with very pointed shoes or boots, go uncuffed. If you’re on the fence about which to choose, stick with the cuff.

You may also be interested in… What Jeans Should You Wear for Your Body Type? and Are Jeans Business Casual?