HOW TO CUFF JEANS | MEN’S GUIDE TO
MASTERING THE ART
Friday 22 September 2023
The thing about good jeans is that 90 per cent of the attention takes place around your ankles. How you hem your jeans, and how you cuff them, pretty much determines how good those jeans are going to look. Get this bit wrong, and the rest doesn’t matter. You’ll be the guy with baggy bootcuts flapping around your toes. Of course, cuffing trends change over time. In the ‘90s, saggy, skater-style, un-cuffed jeans were all the rage, but denim fashion has evolved since then. Now most guys are cuffing their jeans. So, here’s our basic guide to cuffing men’s denim jeans. The good, the bad and everything in between.
IS IT OK TO CUFF YOUR JEANS?
Absolutely. Cuffing is an art, an aesthetic statement. It highlights the shoes and sharpens your overall appearance. Cuffs? It’s simply the hem rolled up. And there's not just one way to roll; there are several, and we're about to look into each.
WHEN SHOULDN'T I CUFF
The general rule is that wide-leg, boot-cut jeans shouldn’t be cuffed. Same usually goes for skinny jeans. One has too much fabric, and the other is snug enough already. Cuffing also doesn’t work if the denim is too thick—it could feel like trying to roll a newspaper. But for other styles, especially slim-fit jeans? It’s a resounding yes. And if they're too long (and getting them hemmed at a tailor isn’t an option)? Cuffing is a must.
The single cuff
The simplest of them all. A timeless choice that's adaptable and effortlessly stylish.
• Step 1: Start by holding the hem with both hands.
• Step 2: Flip the hem outward, just once, ensuring a clean, even fold.
• Step 3: The contrasting stitch and the inside weave of the denim should now be on display, giving a gentle contrast to the outer colour.
The deep cuff
Also known as the 'Mega Cuff', this is a bold statement not for the faint-hearted, but it's a solid choice for those looking to make an impression. If you’re a short guy, avoid this cuff, as it’ll really draw attention to your height. We suggest saving this cuff for looser jeans with a heavier weave.
• Step 1: Begin as if you’re executing a single cuff.
• Step 2: Extend the cuff's length by rolling it upwards.
• Step 3: Keep going until the cuff measures about four inches in height. Ensure the roll is smooth and even all around.
The effortless, laid-back approach. This is your easy-going, relaxed style, perfect for a casual day out.
The stack is kind of an alternative to cuffing. But it only works with very slim or skinny jeans. Basically, a stack is letting your in-seam run low and then bunching the fabric up around your ankle and calf.
• Step 1: Choose jeans with a slightly longer inseam, letting it run an extra 2-3 inches beyond your ankle.
• Step 2: Allow the fabric to bunch naturally around your ankle and calf, creating a "stacked" effect.
The double cuff
Our personal favourite and the most popular of the cuffs. This cuff is basically tailor-made for chunky boots: Chukkas, Chelseas, Docs or military boots. Anything big and rugged looks good under a double cuff.
• Step 1: Start by creating a single cuff.
• Step 2: Taking the bottom of your initial cuff, fold it up once more.
• Step 3: This second fold hides the hemline and results in a chunkier, more pronounced cuff. Adjust for symmetry.
The bicycle cuff
Named for its practicality in cycling without catching fabric in the chain. Nowadays, this is seen in a lot of streetwear fashion.
The bicycle cuff requires a bit more confidence, and the right pair of shoes. It’s basically a double cuff that’s been pushed right up your calf. We recommend styling this with low-top sneakers.
• Step 1: Begin by fashioning a double cuff.
• Step 2: Gradually push or roll this cuff further up the calf.
• Step 3: Adjust so it rests just under the knee, ensuring it's snug enough not to slip down but not too tight to restrict movement.
Denim jeans cuff rules
How to cuff baggy jeans
It's all about the degree of bagginess. For straight-leg jeans, a double cuff usually suffices. Shoe selection? Critical.
How to cuff men's skinny jeans
Skinny jeans need a skinny cuff— that’s the golden rule. Stacks are the best for skinny jeans.
How to cuff jeans with boots
High ankle boots need a high cuff to show off all that gritty, distressed leather. A deep cuff works best here, depending on the width of your denim.
Matching your denim jeans cuffs to your shoe style
Cotton Zip Bomber & Low Top Sneakers
A basic single cuff is your go-to choice for low tops. Aim for the hem to end roughly a centimetre above the shoe. This strikes the perfect balance between highlighting your ankle without revealing too much calf. To be honest, almost any cuff style can work with low tops. They’re super versatile. .
Formal low top shoes
When dressing up, it's all about subtlety. Consider opting for a natural break — a trip to your tailor to hem your jeans, so the fabric gently grazes the laces, introducing a delicate fold. Alternatively, a thick double cuff can serve you just as well. The key is not to let the fabric bunch and stack.
High top sneakers
Cuffing is non-negotiable with high tops. Choose between a double cuff or a deep cuff. Whichever you opt for, the aim is to go nice and high to show off the entirety of the shoe's upper. If you're looking to achieve this with a cropped hem, we suggest getting them tailored.
The only problem with cuffing is that it can wear out your jeans faster. The cuff creates a tight fold, which degrades the denim over time. This is especially true for unwashed, raw denim, which can be kind of fragile. The best way to prevent holes and tears in the hem is to switch up your cuffs regularly. Switch up your styles, roll out your cuffs after wear, and maintain a jeans rotation.
No matter your style or preference, cuffing is an art that, when mastered, elevates your denim game. With POLITIX by your side, your jeans and shoes will always be in perfect harmony, making every step a statement of style.