Why Do We Cuff Our Pants?

January 6, 2016

Why Do We Cuff Our Pants?

For trousers, we may want to conform to a perceived code of dress, or to add a little heft at the hem for a better fabric drape, or because the Duke of Windsor did once so now must we all. For jeans, some of us want to show off that sweet, sweet, selvage seam; some of us want to pay homage to rockabilly heroes or share a little of the spirit of 1950s motorcycle gangs. But we all want to do one thing: make our dang pants shorter. Roy from Los Angeles recently posted this wonderful photo of himself as a boy in his family’s backyard to illustrate that at the time, kids’ families bought their pants long, folded the excess inside and sewed it up, pulling out and re-hemming as the kids grew–the liberated fabric is less worn and darker. This isn’t a secret (hell my mom did this for me in the 1980s a couple times); but it’s rare to see it illustrated so well in a primary source. Roy added some context for me:

The picture was taken in my aunt and uncle’s back yard on North Palm Drive in 1955 or 1956

[editors note: here is a North Palm Drive, Beverly Hills, backyard today]. The ladder is resting on a little bamboo building that was way in the back (behind a fountain, a pergola, and other things like that).

The white building behind me in their neighbor’s garage.  My aunt spent the last fifteen years of her life in her bedroom with the windows closed and the curtains drawn, so she never knew that almost all the other Spanish Colonial Revival or Tudor houses on her block had been torn down and replaced with Column Houses after the Invasion Of The Column House People.

If you ever watch the documentary film, “The History Of Beverly Hills, 100 years, 100 Stories” you will see a brief mention of who it was who brought the first Column House People to Beverly Hills, as well as my explanation of the evolution of retail on Rodeo Drive, which I explain as, “The labels moved from the inside to the outside.”

Thanks Roy!