To Hem Or Not To Hem – What To Do With Skinny Jeans?

white-skinnies-blue-2Tucking the Blank skinny jeans to see what they’d look like hemmed

So, this is far from the biggest issue in the world, but I’ve been mulling the options lately and figured I’d throw the question out there. I was also surprised to hear a few other ladies complain to me about this, so I guess it’s a topic of interest for at least a few of us.

Since recently expanding my skinny jean collection, the next question to tackle is what to do with the extra length. You have four options with skinny jeans…you can scrunch them, cuff them, tuck them or hem them.

If you leave them long, you can scrunch, cuff and tuck, although there’s something about tucking that I think looks a little awkward without the bottom seam (I’ve done it, and never really liked it).

Hemming means you can no longer wear them scrunched, but you can still cuff if you’d like. Although, (and this is the main reason stopping me from hemming so far) unless the bottom is very fitted on you, hemming can cut off the skinny part of the jean, turning them straight leg. Again, not the most terrible thing in the world, but still annoying when you’ve thrown down money for a pair of cute skinnies, only to have them lose that fitted silhouette when they get back from the tailor.

Scrunching: The jeans in their natural state are nice and skinny all the way down, but has too much scrunch at the bottom for my personal taste. There is something about a lot of jean scrunch on short women that makes us look a little stumpy, and even though I’m on the leggy-side, I don’t think scrunched skinny jeans are very flattering on me. My other options are to either cuff or hem these.

hemming-skinny-jeansCuffed or hemmed? Which looks better to you?

hemmed-vs-rolledCuffed: Just cuffing the bottom keeps the skinniest part of the jean intact, so it keeps the silhouette narrow. The look is casual, and if the denim is thick, or you end up folding a lot of fabric, can also look bulky.

rolling-skinny-jeansTucked to simulate hemming: If I hem them, I think I’d want them hemmed just at the top of my shoe, so I could still cuff to the ankle if I wanted to. Although, cutting off a few inches from the bottom takes off the part of the jean that tapers to fit my ankle. Now they’re more like straight leg jeans. Darn.

hemming-skinny-jeans-sideThe difference between the skinniest part of the jean and where I would probably get them hemmed is about 1/2 an inch when laying flat, which equals 1 inch bigger around. That one inch makes a big enough difference to the style of the jean to make me reconsider hemming. Of course, you can ask your tailor to slim the ankle so they’ll be skinny again, but unfortunately, the natural look of a side seam on denim can rarely be reproduced by a tailor and usually ends up looking obviously tailored.

hemming-skinny-jeans-measurements

While I’m figuring out what to do, I’ve been cuffing my skinny jeans, which looks more casual, but luckily is in style at the moment so I’m in no big rush to decide.

Interestingly, I’ve seen a lot of women and bloggers (not just short women either…average to tall women are doing it to) simply tucking the extra length of their skinny jeans under and going about their day. As someone who has always been a stickler for hemming jeans and pants, it feels a bit weird to just tuck extra length under as a permanent solution. I’m curious what readers think, or if they’ve even noticed this at all. On one hand, just tucking extra length under leaves more styling options later, since you can then wear them cuffed or scrunched for other outfits. But then again, nothing beats the clean lines of having a nice, perfectly hemmed bottom seam on your jeans.

What do you think? Is it okay to leave skinny jeans long and tuck/cuff, or should they be hemmed (and slimmed if need be) for a more polished look?

60 Comments

  • Reply April 23, 2012

    Michelle

    Hmm… I do like the look of a hem line better than rolled under, but I don’t think it looks horrible rolled under.  Plus, like you said, if it is difficult to get a good looking seam while still keeping the skinny ankle, then don’t bother.

    As far as cuffing…Khatu is my inspiration for that! I love her larger cuffs!

    • Reply April 25, 2012

      Keeyatch

      Hi Kelly,

      Personally, I go for tucking in my skinnies. I prefer that over a permanent length which I cannot change once I get it hemmed. For all other factors such as jeans shrinking, my shoe
      Preference for that day, gaining weight which could
      Possibly stretch the fabric and ending up losing some length etc..
      If you really like having that crisp line detail though, then hemming is the way. To be honest, since your jeans are white, I don’t think it will be really noticeable by other people vs a light washed denim. Hope that helps! :)

      Kitch

  • Reply April 23, 2012

    Hl_designnstyle

    I totally get the dilemma of hemming skinny jeans, I always have my tailor taper the bottom as well so it stays nice and skinny. I don’t like the slouchy look.

  • Reply April 23, 2012

    Tracy

    Scrunch! I scrunch my leggings too instead of hemming. So I guess I’m used to it now. It may not look the best but it feels right!

  • Reply April 23, 2012

    Jorlette2

    As a vertically challenged gal myself, I am finding it much easier to find jeans today for my height since capris are in style now. Did you try the j brand capris? I think they would look really good on you.

  • Reply April 23, 2012

    Hello, Framboise!

    I’ve been doing a combination of these things.  For the pairs I knew I wanted to be a certain length (like the yellow ones in this post), I hemmed, making the end result look cleaner and more finished.  Other ones, if they’re not too long, I’ll scrunch a little.  

    Finally, I’ve been tucking two of my more recent acquisitions as I’m not yet sure where I want the hem to be, but I am going to decide at some point.  For me, tucking isn’t really a permanent solution as I’m not the best at making sure the legs are equally and consistently tucked.  

    • Reply April 24, 2012

      Alterations Needed

       Yes, the equal and consistent tucking is hard to achieve if you’re just going to tuck under. I’ve seen quite a few women who tuck and then go out to dinner or the mall, and without them realizing, one pant leg is falling out all over the place. Makes me afraid to do the same…don’t want to be that girl walking around with the weird looking pant legs. =P

  • Reply April 23, 2012

    Velosewer

    Hem them to the long length so you can tuck or scrunch them for shorter versions later. I like the hem to look neat with heels and casual with flat shoes.

  • Reply April 23, 2012

    pimpIT

    Hi Kelly,
    this is a blog post just to my taste! Being petite, the length of  jeans often is a ‘problem’ for me too. I mean, it’s not a big deal for me to cut them off and hem them, because it’s my profession, but sometimes I don’t feel like it ; )
    But you were asking for our opinion: 
    For me it’s an absolute no-go is to tuck them inside. I don’t like this look at all because everybody can see that the length doesn’t fit. The same is true for scrunching if there’s too much material.
    To roll them up is a very good alternative, but you are right, if there is too much material it may look bulky.
    Here comes a great SOLUTION for everybody, even those who don’t have a sewing machine: DIY Original Hemmed Jeans, a method to hem the jeans without cutting off the original hem and nobody can’t even tell that it’s hemmed!!! I twittered a link of this video to you (maybe you found it?) some weeks ago. The quality of the video isn’t very good but it is explained very simple and perfect for non-professionals. The hemmed part is removable or not, just as you like it, and you are still able to roll it up. There is one more (professional) way to do it but this one is a little too complex and more suited for advanced needlewomen ; ) So, I’ll insert the link to the video down below and try to paste 2 images… I’m very curious about your opinion! 
    How to Hem Your Jeans with the Original Hems:

    Hope this might help some of you…
    Love
    Corinna

    • Reply April 24, 2012

      Alterations Needed

       Hi Corinna. Thank you for the link to the hemming tutorial. Truth be told, I’ve had tailors use a similar technique (not leaving the extra fabric in the pant leg, but stitching just above the original seam instead of opening it and re-sewing it closed) and I’ve never liked it. I feel like it makes the bottom seam flare out and look obviously altered. I would also imagine it would work best on straight leg jeans, since you’re short on original hem when the jeans are skinny and tapered at the end, and have too much original hem when the pants are flared or boot-leg at the end.

      • Reply April 24, 2012

        pimpIT

        Hm, ok, I know what you mean. In this case I would alter it in the regular way (cut, tuck & sew). Leave enough length, so you can still roll it up ; )

  • Reply April 24, 2012

    wendyslookbook

    Thank you for blogging about this topic!  To be honest with you… before I started blogging, I had no idea people were concerned or have strong opinions about hemming.  I started wearing skinny jeans about a few years ago, and at the time, the trend was capri length.  I saved up and purchased my first ever skinny jeans… a Citizens of Humanity black pair.  Super excited, I hemmed the length myself with my little sewing machine at home.  The “look” was a few inches above the ankles and very Aubrey Hepburn.  I loved it!  Then about a few months into it, the trend changed to ankle length or the scrunched look.  I regretted cutting off those extra inches.  After that particular hemming incident, I started to tuck in my jeans and really enjoyed the freedom of having options to wear it in different ways.  I hem all of my other jeans (bootleg, wide, trouser cut, etc.) because I don’t want it to drag on the floor, but the lack of a clean hem line on skinny jeans never bothered me.  And I didn’t really pay attention to other people’s hemline to notice it either. 

    When it comes to the ultimate question… to hem or not to hem.  I really think it depends on your comfort level.  If the lack of a clean hemline bothers you, I would hem it.  If it doesn’t, then I would leave it.  Or just tuck it in as a temporary solution so you can decide where to hem it later.  I think it’s just a personal preference, and in my humble opinion, doesn’t affect the aura or feel of the whole outfit.  I admire people’s shoes way too much to even notice if there’s a hemline or not =)             

    • Reply April 24, 2012

      pimpIT

      Nice to meet you here, Wendy ; )
      After commenting this morning I ‘ve been thinking about WHY a tucked hem always bothers me. Then I read your comment which is so tolerant- as you always are and which really makes you so adorable- I knew it.  Must be a ‘work-related disease': for me it looks unfinished = )

    • Reply April 24, 2012

      Alterations Needed

       Thank you for your thoughts Wendy! Ugh…realizing something you just got tailored is no longer the right length is so painful! I did that to a skirt before I knew any better, and after every where I looked magazines were telling me that short women needed their skirts SHORT. I had it hemmed too short, which messed up the style of the skirt entirely and now it’s still sitting at the bottom of a pile in my closet because I can’t wear it, but still can’t bear to get rid of it. =P

      And yes, it makes it more difficult considering, like you mentioned, the style of what length to wear your skinny jeans keeps changing, where as bootleg, wide, trouser styles never changes, which makes it easy to hem them without a second thought.

  • Reply April 24, 2012

    Cher

    I’m one of those people who have strong opinions about hemming. LOL. Or at least, whatever one chooses to do with the excess material. But I’ve always had a thing about details. A little bit of scrunch is OK, too much scrunch, just makes you look too lazy to hem. I like a single fold outwards (which is what I’ve been doing a lot of lately) or a pegged look because to me it looks intentional, but I really dislike the double/triple fold or rolled look as you call it. It’s just too bulky and reminds me of when I was 8 years old when that was the “thing”, it also makes me think that the person is just too lazy to hem. Folding under is fine, assuming it’s with a denim that’s not so noticeable that it’s not hemmed. I don’t really think it makes it look like a straight leg at all. Generally from about mid-calf and down it doesn’t taper that much anyway, but it really depends on how much length we’re talking about. From above, I don’t see any change from “skinny” to “straight leg” when you fold it inside.

  • Reply April 24, 2012

    Petite LG

    I have always wondered the same thing.  I wore a pair of rolled up skinnies when I was in Boston and Jean asked me “Are you going to hem them?”.  I said no, I probably just roll them up like that. “Really?” she asked. Obviously, having the perfect length is what she prefers. I am OK with either, I guess. If jeans are available in shorter length (which isn’t always the case), that’s great. If they’re too long for my height, I’ll just roll them up. I rather roll them up than tuck them in. Rolling them up gives the outfit a more casual vibe. 

  • Reply April 24, 2012

    Andrea_Day

    I prefer hemmed to cuffed, although I usually just tuck mine, so if I need the extra length later, I’ll have it. (For instance, if you un-tuck the jeans and have a few inches of extra length down around your ankle, I find them easier to stick down into boots.)

    • Reply April 24, 2012

      Alterations Needed

       Interesting point about stuffing them into boots. I never even considered that. Thanks Andrea!

  • Reply April 24, 2012

    Amber

    This was a huge issue for me a few years back when I was more into wearing jeans. I hate tucking. I think it typically doesn’t look right. I also hate scrunching and think its less than flattering and breaks up the clean line of the leg. I cuff a lot and think its a nice casual option. Usually I end up shrinking or hemming my pants. I think its just a more flattering look overall.

  • Reply April 24, 2012

    Carla

    The white jeans look fine cuffed, since there is not a lot of color difference. The overly scrunched shortens the leg, as does the cuff with a dark jean. It draws your eye to end of the leg and your shoes. Hem & slim to look polished is my vote!

  • Reply April 24, 2012

    My Dressy Ways

    What timing! I just hemmed all four of  my skinny jeans last night! I actually played this post out in my head before tackling the hemming too. Before I hemmed them though, I did wear them uncut and long. I tried to cuff them but I felt like the cuffing truncated my already short legs, so I resorted to rolling them under.

    The issue I found with tucking – which may have been the issue with cuffing too, was that I had too much extra fabric. This is why I decided to go ahead and hem my skinny jeans. When I went to hem, I had to determine whether I was going to hem them with a little scrunching or not. Thinking back to when I wore them tucked under, I felt like making them hit right above the top of my shoe without scrunching made my legs look shorter, so I decided to give myself some extra fabric for scrunching. I used a pair of ankle jeans that fit me like the perfect scrunched skinny pants as my measurement. I haven’t worn them all yet – I have a pair on today, but I’ll let you know what I think of the end result!

  • Reply April 24, 2012

    arts

    hey Kelly

    Have you tried ‘New York and Company’? They have some cute skinny jeans. The petite xs would fit you at right length. It hits me at the ankle and I’m shorter than you.

    • Reply April 24, 2012

      Alterations Needed

       Hi arts! Nope, I haven’t tried New York and Company in a really really long time. I’ll check them out next time I come across a store. Thanks for the tip!

  • Reply April 24, 2012

    TOBeautyReviews

    I like the scrunch look and think you can still cuff and tuck if you want but I agree on you there might be a bit too much scrunch! I know this sounds crazy but would hemming it slightly so you can still scrunch or cuff without bulk work?

    • Reply April 24, 2012

      Alterations Needed

       Thanks Elaine! Yeah, that was another thought I had…just hemming a little so the bottom isn’t as bulky. Decisions, decisions… =P

  • Reply April 24, 2012

    Mary Ann

    I think all options look great on you. I don’t think it’s too big of deal, tucked or hemmed. Usually I hem mine, but I tuck under my leather skinny leggings.

  • Reply April 24, 2012

    Jacqueline C. Rineer

    I actually like to scrunch mine and wear them with 3 + in. heels but otherwise, they would be getting hemmed.  

  • Reply April 24, 2012

    R.L.

    I have the same issue with a pair of pants and actually decided I’m going to have them hemmed.  Since I wear mostly flats, more than 2 inches of scrunch makes me look sloppy and then I feel too kiddish with the cuff.  But if the lack of a hemline doesn’t bother you, I’d say don’t alter.  Versatility is worth a lot.

  • Reply April 24, 2012

    Dewfallen

    Skin-tight all the way down has the effect of being stumpy and unflattering on many women, as well as being difficult to pull on, so I personally think that hemming is the way to go.

  • Reply April 24, 2012

    Laura Frost

    I tend to roll mine under until they have been washed a few times, and when I am sure that they are fully shrunk, I usually get to hemming and/or slimming them. Cuffing makes my already short legs look shorter, in my opinion.

  • Reply April 24, 2012

    ebw

    Cuffed. Definitely.

  • Reply April 24, 2012

    SME

    HI Kelly,
    I completely understand your problem.  Personally, I don’t think you should hem the pants because it looks really cute scrunched and cuffed. The added length gives your versatility with the jeans.  But… a nice hem does make it look “oh so finished”.

  • Reply April 25, 2012

    davi

    Hi Kelly! Being 4’11, I have certainly encountered this dilemma as well.  I used to always tuck the extra length in, but I was never fond of the look.  As for cuffing, that never even crossed my mind until I saw how great you pull it off!  And I’ve experienced many regrets post-hem, mostly with the lengths being too short (or perhaps due to not having a great tailor).  At any rate, I have found a new way to wear my skinnies, and I absolutely swear by this.  This is not a perfect solution nor will it work for every skinny, but it has worked for me and I  have never looked back to the normal tuck.  Essentially I tuck my jeans in as most people would normally do – however, I don’t touch the seam and it remains visible.  This almost creates the illusion of having perfect-length, hemmed jeans.  This is difficult to explain, so I will share a link to a photo I took:  http://i47.tinypic.com/2ppln5f.jpg.  If you look closely, you can see where I tucked the fabric.  For reference, these are the 7FAMK Gwenevere skinnies, and they are 4″ too long for me! Hope this helps!

    • Reply April 25, 2012

      Alterations Needed

       That is a really ingenious solution! I’ll have to give it try! Thank you so incredibly much for taking the time to take and include a photo for us too. =)

    • Reply April 26, 2012

      Jacki Schreiner

      I do the same thing! I don’t like the scrunched look at all, and I think this is a great alternative to hemming. 

    • Reply August 15, 2013

      Emily

      I don’t see it! :(

  • Reply April 25, 2012

    Kat

    I think if you iron the folded hem when you tuck it, it would look more finished.  Otherwise, I think hemming it to a length still long enough to cuff would be perfect.  The  current length of your skinnies makes the cuff too bulky looking.

  • Reply April 25, 2012

    roe

    I’m not a fan of tucking, something about it seems unfinished, but I’ve never done it, and don’t really notice it when others do.  If you’re looking for a nice streamlined look, definitely hem, but you’re right, it may take away the skinny look.  I’ve always just been accustomed to letting it scrunch or cuffing. 

  • Reply April 25, 2012

    ShenDove

    Though I tend to just scrunch up my skinny jeans at the ankles, I think it really depends on the type of shoes you are wearing whether it’s worth-while to hem.  Cuffing makes my short legs look even shorter but seems to work well for longer legged petites.

  • Reply April 25, 2012

    New Petite

    Like you said I tuck them in or cuff it. I’d say this is a better option than altering coz the jeans (atleast for me) tends to shrink with wash so that gives them room to shrink without making them look awkward on me. 

  • Reply April 25, 2012

    jp22

    Maybe it’s a little crazy, but when I find a pair I like at a good price, I’ll buy two. I’ll hem one pair and keep another a few inches longer. This gives me the versatility to wear them with different shoes and outfits. Black suit pants went on sale for less than $20 in 0P at Banana Republic a few years ago and I bought three pairs! Hemmed them for high heels, kitten heels and flats. If it’s a good deal, I think it’s worth it!

  • Reply April 25, 2012

    Jen

    I’ve definitely noticed the tucking phenomenon on multiple fashion blogs across the board as well! I’m with you though, it’s not my favorite look. I only tuck as a temporary solution before going to the tailor since, as you said, it helps to gauge what length to chop it. On the other hand, I find that on the skinniest legging jeans I have no  qualms with the scrunched look which a lot of people abhor. Ever since I saw the Olsen twins sporting the look years and years ago, I’ve liked it! I also only cuff looser skinny pants which gives a “boyfriend jeans” effect on my toothpick legs. I suppose it’s all up to personal taste. :) 

  • Reply April 25, 2012

    Angie

    I think cuffed or tucked is the most versatile and looks the best on this particular pair. I usually hem my own around the ankle aerea.

  • Reply April 25, 2012

    Karen

    I’m definitely one of the skinny jean tuckers here! haha I think it depends on the jean and how skinny they are. I think the darker wash denim and ones that don’t have light colored stitching are less obvious when you tuck. I can’t afford to hem all of my jeans since I have so many so it’s always been an easy fix for me but to each their own! =)

  • Reply April 26, 2012

    Janey

    I normally tuck my jeans so that I have all the options unless the pants are way to long to scrunch or cuff without looking silly. At that point if I have to take them to a tailor I might as well have them hemmed to an appropriate length.

    Great look!

    http://fiveminutefashions.blogspot.com/

  • Reply April 26, 2012

    Alexis

    I’ve always tucked in my jeans as well.  Mainly because I have so many pairs and can’t afford to tailor them all.  Plus, with the cuffed look coming back, the extra fabric is nice to have.  To each their own I guess :)

  • Reply April 26, 2012

    StyleAt30 by Jo

    For this season, I like them either scrunched or just folded out.  Hemming would be a great option though for super skinny jeans (almost jegging type).  I think you look great whether the jeans are hemmed or not though :)
    http://www.StyleAt30.com

  • Reply April 27, 2012

    Janette

    I’ve been tucking the extra length of my skinny jeans and like that I can change the length as needed. I was going to hem some of them, but after reading this post I’m not sure as I don’t want to ruin the style.  I don’t like scrunching… as a small person I feel like it makes it look like I’m wearing jeans that are too big.

  • Reply April 27, 2012

    Helen

    I would leave the length as it is. Tucking it or folding it up when the outfit calls for it, is what I would do. I only hem bootcut or flares. I have thought about slimming the jeans but haven’t gotten the guts to do so. I just don’t want to mess up the look.

  • Reply April 27, 2012

    Jane

    Consider that after your skinny jeans are washed and dried, they may shrink a bit in length anyway. It might pay to wait and see what happens before committing.

    • Reply April 27, 2012

      Alterations Needed

       Great point Jane! I totally forgot to mention it! Jeans should always be washed and dried a few times before hemming. And even then, many will still shrink up over time. I’ve certainly been cuffing my jeans with the intention of wearing, washing, and drying for a while before committing to a length for hemming. Thank you for mentioning this!

  • Reply May 4, 2012

    Abby

    I always hem. I do not like cuffs or scrunches because I do not want anything to break up the line of my already very short legs. (But I have much shorter legs than you do, I believe. 24″ inseam)

  • Reply August 21, 2012

    Faith

    Just got me 2 pairs of skinny jeans and with a 24″ inseam, I always have to hem my pants. I was looking to see how to hem them and came across your blog. As a short person, 4’7″, I am not fond of scrunching or tucking – I’ve always thought it was the lazy man’s way of dealing with larger clothes. I like my clothes to look like it fits me, so I always hem. I may hem these jean to mid ankle length, I’ll pin before cutting just to be sure.

  • Reply December 3, 2012

    Aina Mary Malngiang

    HI..Kelly I thought Scrunching jeans will look good. I am 4’11, can you show till what length to wear with flat shoes but not short pants I wean long pants..

    • Reply December 3, 2012

      Alterations Needed

      Hi Aina. People have pretty strong opinions about pant length, so it’s pretty much up to you and what you feel looks good on your body. I don’t like a lot of scrunch on anyone, but especially short girls because I think it makes us look stumpy, but that’s just my opinion. Some people think short women should never wear cropped or ankle pants because they can truncate your legs…but I think this is hooey because I’m not going to bypass a trend or look I really like just because I’m short (and I like the way my cropped pants look on me). So take it all with a grain of salt. Skinny pants/jeans that end at the top of your shoe are the safest bet, and for bootcut or flare pants, most people say they should end 1/2″ from the floor.

  • Reply March 8, 2013

    john

    The writer’s argument for not hemming compared to tucking makes no sense. whether you tuck or hem to the same length, the opening will be the exact same size. The “skinny” part is lost either way. With the tuck, it’s just hidden inside your pant leg and most likely tighter on the higher part of your leg as well. silly.

  • Reply October 26, 2013

    ilovecookies

    Even if I hem jeans its useless. They still don’t fit properly. I end up with the knee part down my calf and the fit just isn’t right. Petite trousers are specially styled for petite women. Its much more complex than length because our body parts are in a different place if that makes sense.

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