Reviewed & updated: March 28, 2023 by Jamie Wilson BA
For the spring and summer months, many men may find themselves rolling up a pair of pants for a number of reasons, and in these warmer months, you have the option to add versatility to your look by cuffing your pants for a simple stylish alternative.
Cuffed pants may appear quite simple, but there is an approach and method that should be adhered to in order for men to pull off cuffs with confidence. There have been many menswear aficionados that have attempted to execute the style to varying results, and with so many decisions to be made these days when it comes to men’s style, if this is unchartered territory, Outsons is here to provide a comprehensive breakdown of how to navigate the art of the cuff.
What Are Cuffed Pants?
Entrenched into Anglo-American culture since the 1890s, turn-ups began during King Edward VII’s reign as a way to prevent wear and tear on a pair of trousers. By cuffing the pants, men of the era were able to keep their pants in the best shape possible for the longest amount of time, ideal for an era where people had fewer clothing options. Viewed as an aristocratic aesthetic in the United Kingdom, the look was quickly adopted on the other side of the Atlantic and renamed from turn-ups to cuff pants, with many American businessmen co-opting the style as a mark of distinction. If you want something that you can wear around your ankle and are aiming for casual styles, here is why these are a necessity.
With cuffed pants, the fabric at the bottom of the pant leg is folded up on one side of the pant leg instead of the inside. Cuffed pants add a level of style and professionalism to a look, considered a dressier option for standard trousers or suits. Cuffed pants work with casual outfits and some formal looks as well.
Cuffed Pants Rules
With cuffed pants, there are no hard and fast rules, but there are a few to take into consideration if you want to put your best look forward. There are more than a few brands these days that produce pre-cropped denim jeans and chinos as part of their standard collections, which takes some of the pressure off of some men to fold the hem for a shorter look. If you are starting from scratch, follow this style protocol.
- Repeat after us – flat front pants and cuffs do not work together. In fact, the two looks will clash if put together, so avoid this fashion faux pas!
- Single pleated pants can be cuffed as due to their versatility
- Two-pleat pants should always be worn with cuffs
- cuffs are never appropriate for tuxedo pants.
The cuff size in general measures between just under an inch up to nearly three inches. When in doubt, men should opt for cuffs between 1.5 to 2 inches.
Who Should Wear Cuffed Pants?
At Outsons, we realize that not every look works with every man, and with cuffs the same rules apply as some men look great with cuffs while others would look better in pants with a hem. The following are the circumstances that work best for cuffs.
- Men with leaner frames make great candidates for cuffs as it complements a slender physique while giving a fuller appearance to pants. For men with slimmer builds that are wearing pleated pants, you also can add cuffs.
- Taller men look great in cuffs as the line of them breaks up the long line and gives off a slightly shorter appearance.
- For dressier occasions, a quick simple cuff can elevate a look to produce a fancier effect. You will also enjoy thicker fabrics and cotton for this wear.
How To Wear Cuffed Pants
The hem of pant cuffs should slant ever so slightly so that your hem rests on the top of the shoe heel. For men that are having pants tailored with cuffs, be sure to have them take into consideration the slant and resting point. Pants off the rack should be tried on to ensure they lay right on your leg, and either one pleat or two is fine. The cuff should cover your socks while walking, plus be wide enough to cover your shoelaces if you are wearing a dressier shoe. One style hack that many men should know is that cuffing your pants is a great way to extend their life as well. Since pants experience more wear and tear at the bottom than anywhere else, by cuffing the bottom, you can use the additional fabric that has been tucked into the hem and give new life to your pants once the worn fabric has been replaced. Want some cool khakis or guidelines on how to wear these casual pants? Read on!
Denim Versus Chino Cuffs
The two fabrics necessitate a few variations on cuffing that men should be aware of when it comes to adopting the look.
Denim cuffs have small seams on the pant leg, so you have more leverage to adjust the cuff size as you please. In general, you are cuffing jeans, you should have at least one cuff. If you want a bolder, more daring approach to cuffing, one forward look is one giant cuff that is between 6 to 8 inches high. True denim fans have taken this trend worldwide, and it works best with straight leg, relaxed, or classic fit jeans. Again, this look works best on taller men as the bigger the cuff, the shorter you look as it segments the lines of your legs.
Chino pants are already a great look as is for men, but with a nice cuff applied, the style factor is elevated. With chino pants, the standard is one or two cuffs to create a polished look that works wonders for showing off your chukka boots or pairing with a suit jacket. Remember that for a pair of chinos, the pant hem will dictate how wide the cuff will be and you should cuff according to your height. As a special note, a pinroll cuff is when you pinch the fabric on the pant leg, then fold it flat against your leg before cuffing. This is another excellent look that works well with a pair of loafers or espadrilles during the summer months.
Adding Cuffs to Existing Pants
As long as your current pants have an appropriate amount of fabric at the bottom, a cuff can be added. When shopping for a new pair of pants, remember that you will need a few more inches for a tailor to add trouser cuffs in the future. To test if the pants have the right length, make sure you should fold the bottom of the pants as if they are already cuffed, then see if there is enough room left for a tailor to sew and hem.
Shoes To Complement Your Cuffs
With great cuffs comes great shoe responsibility since you automatically draw more attention to your shoewear in this style. So if you decide to venture into this sartorial direction, your shoes should be in peak condition, whether they are Oxfords, Derby shoes, wingtips, low-top sneakers, or Chelsea boots. Proper pair of slacks will make your purchase visible and stylish.
What you need to know about how to style cuffed pants:
To cuff or not to cuff is a trend that you may or may not want to hop aboard, but should you take the challenge, the most important thing to remember is that you should dress authentic to your personality and what feels and looks right on you and your body type. With a cuff, the main goal is to present a sleeker, more refined look that looks effortless. Note that a wider cuff is more casual, whereas a narrower cuff is more formal. Are you ready for your dress pants?