Q And Answer: Hem, Cuff Or Stack Your Jeans?

February 16, 2010

Q and Answer: Hem, Cuff or Stack Your Jeans?

Jesse (not me) asks: So since these new Levi’s you posted only come in one length, what do I do with the extra length? Roll it? Have them hemmed? Help!

This one’s a matter of personal taste.

First of all: remember to get the shrink out first.  Even if the jeans are sanforized, they’ll lose a little length, so do your hemming after your soak.

Then, there are three choices: hemming, cuffing, or stacking.

A tailor can hem your jeans for you.  If you happen to live somewhere with a fancy jeans store like Self Edge, they’ll have a chain stitch machine that can hem your jeans industrial-style.  If you don’t live in a major metropolitan area, any tailor or alterationist can use some fancy fabric work to retain the original hem while shortening the inseam.

Some people prefer to cuff their jeans a few inches.  Until the middle of the 20th century, denim wasn’t widely available in varying lengths, so it was often cuffed rather than being hemmed.  We’re fine with this, though you should know that it’s a much bolder choice aesthetically than uncuffed.

You can also “stack” your jeans.  Unlike dress pants, it’s totally fine to wear jeans a little long.  How this looks will depend on how wide the legs of the jeans are (on either extreme it starts to look silly).  Some people are totally for this, some totally against, we try not to worry about it too much.

So: if your preference is neutrality, have them hemmed.  If you feel comfortable looking a bit like a person who might use the phrase, “Hey youse guys!” then cuffing is for you.  Stacking will give you a bit of attitude but a less clean look.

The choice is yours.