Cuffing Your Pants: 3 Things to Know

Not sure whether you wear cuffed pants? Here are three key things to consider when you want to look your best.

 When trying to decide how to wear dress pants, it’s easy to have a hard time knowing where to start. Formal fashion is sometimes difficult to navigate – you might look around the room at a gathering and see three different guys wearing their pants three different ways, and not know who is right. Additionally, taking to Google for fashion advice can often leave you even more confused, drowning in a sea of opinions. After reading this article, you’ll have all the information you need to wear your pants with confidence.

1. Defining the Terms

Defining your terms is always a good place to start. In fashion, there are plenty of words that are thrown around and it’s easy to lose track of what everything means. Just in case, here’s a quick review of the difference between cuffing and hemming.

Cuffing: Rolling up the bottoms of your pantlegs on the outside, so that the inside of the fabric is visibly “cuffed.” It’s important to note that these cuffs are categorically different from the ones you might see on jeans or other casual pants. Formal cuffs are made by folding the pantleg once, rather than multiple times.

Hemming: Folding up the bottoms of your pantlegs on the inside, so that the inside of the fabric is hidden. Hemming is traditionally the standard for dress pants.

Now that you know the difference between cuffing and hemming, it’s essential to know when cuffing and hemming are most commonly used – you don’t have to always follow the rules, but they’re definitely good to know.

 2.  Learning the Rules

Typically, pants are cuffed in specific situations. Other times, it is best to hem. Here’s a brief rundown of when to cuff and when not to.

When to Cuff:

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Know your build. If you are taller and thinner, cuffed pants will compliment your build. Cuffs provide a separation between leg and ankle, which can make a taller, thinner person’s build look more proportional. 

Know your pants. 

When you’re planning on dressing up, it’s always easier knowing what kind of pants you’re wearing. This will give you a sense of whether cuffing them is the best option.

          To Cuff:

      Single-pleated pants. Although some people choose to hem their single-pleated pants, there is a strong case for cuffing instead. When cuffed, single-pleated pants can take on a distinctly classic look.

      Double-pleated pants. These should always be cuffed, not hemmed.  

To Hem:

      Tuxedo pants. You definitely don’t want to wear cuffed pants with your tuxedo.

      Flat front pants. Traditionally, pants without pleats are hemmed, not cuffed. This is because flat front pants are European in origin, and cuffing your pants is an Anglo-American tradition. Mixing these two traditions is a fashion faux pa. 

Know the occasion. 

If you are aiming to make a casual outfit look a little fancier, cuffing your pants is a great idea. However, if you are in dress pants but don’t want to look too formal, hemming may be a better choice. It helps to know the occasion you are dressing for when deciding how to wear your pants. A good rule of thumb is cuffing when you are going for a more formal look, and hemming when you want a more casual look.

3. How To Cuff your Pants

Many pairs of dress pants come with cuffs. However, adding cuffs to your pants yourself is always an option. Make sure your pants are long enough that cuffing won’t make them too short. With enough length to spare, you can easily add your own cuffs. Here’s how.

      Fold the fabric once. You may be used to cuffing your jeans or other casual pants multiple times, as this has been on trend in recent years. However, cuffing dress pants is a different game entirely.

      Check the length. Make sure your cuffs are the same length as each other. This is an easy mistake to make and can easily be avoided with a quick check. 

      Keep your cuffs short. This looks best regardless of what shoes you wear. Too big of a cuff makes your outfit look disproportionate.

      See how you feel. The most important thing is making sure that you love the way you look in your pants. Remember that hemming is always an option. Cuffing your pants is never essential, but it can dramatically boost your confidence and presentability.

Ultimately, you have the freedom to choose whether you hem or cuff your pants. Now that you know when cuffs are most suitable and how to add your own cuffs to pants, it’s your call. There’s always a time and a place for cuffs, and they’re a great way to give the impression that you know how to dress for any occasion. 

 

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