29 In Series/ Style

Jean Guide for the Modern Woman

Jean Guide on BrendaKinsel.com

A narrow cuff for my narrow legged jeans

 

Welcome to my new series called Jean Guide for Modern Women. When I’ve written about jean outfits in the past my comments section lights up with requests for more tips. I keep hearing your request in my ears. I made a promise and I intend to fulfill on that promise starting right now!

One of the things that had me stalled was that when I sat down to compile tips, things got unruly fast. This subject is like a wheel with “jean” in the center and lots of spokes; each one wanting attention. My solution? Create a series and take it a spoke at a time.

But before we start, I truly think we need a theme song. This morning when I started writing, a tune came to me immediately. I can’t get it out of my head and now maybe you won’t either. (Please forgive me!) Remember when Dana Carvey and Mike Meyers had that sketch on NBC’s Saturday Night Live called Wayne’s World? It later turned into a movie (which I saw!) and then another one. Well, the words aren’t clever but sing the Wayne’s World melody in your head but substitute Jean Guide for Wayne’s World.

Jean Guide … Jean Guide … Ex-cel-lent … Ex-cel-lent … Party on … 

We have our theme song; now let’s party on about jeans. In today’s lesson we’re going to talk about hems or bottom edges of jeans and what to do with them.

The Frayed Edge

This edge treatment is flooding the shelves and rack spaces of any place where jeans are sold. You’ll find frayed edges on skinny jeans, cropped ones, boyfriend jeans and wide legged jeans. “What’s the big deal with the raggedy edges?” I thought when I first saw them. I actually groaned. I mean, who needs this?

This was a trend I was surely going to skip … just like I was going to skip that appalling skinny jean trend that appeared years ago and well, you know what happened. I fell in love, ate fashion crow, and have been wearing skinnies ever since!

So guess who fell in love with the frayed edge the first time she tried them on? Moi. At first I thought I’d wear this style on the weekends here in Sonoma, super-casz. But now I’m thinking I want to dress them up!

Ragged edges on jeans

Ragged edges on jeans

I went to some of my favorite Instagram feeds to find pictures demonstrating the frayed edge. I absolutely love the black and white outfit on the left. Everything that’s served up with that black jean is pretty, feminine, and lovely. It’s a great modern, stylish look. On the right our blogger friend Dawn Lacy wears her blue frayed edge jean in a more rocker way with the black strapped boots and leather jacket.

These images of frayed denim edges on hems are, left to right, from @officeofangelascott and @fashionshouldbefun.

The deep cuff

Deep cuffs on jeans

Deep cuffs on jeans

In this collage above, our ladies have turned their jean hem up into about a three-to-four-inch cuff. This deep cuff works best on boyfriend, relaxed, jeans. This would be impossible to achieve with a skinny jean.

The styling on the left is again, fabulous for modern women like us. I love how she’s taken the classic blazer and white shirt, added a belt and totally groovy black and white shoes to pull it all together. This deep cuff is a great way to showcase wonderful shoes or boots like in the picture on the right. Great shoes quickly raise the cool factor. Beautiful.

These ladies with the deep cuffs are left, @aristotelianstyleandabigdog, and right, @thatsnotmyage.

Even deeper cuffs

In this next collage below, Shauna, in the leopard boots, has a deep cuff in her unhemmed jean. And Tamera on the right has an even deeper cuff. She’s wearing the latest embroidered jeans (ones I must try as well). As you can see, the treatment on jeans is getting more and more imaginative. What I want you to focus on is how great these ladies look in these current jeans. You could too! Best to give it a try before you walk away in a huff, like someone we know (wink wink), saying they are for young people and not for “people our age.”

 

Deep cuff on jeans

Deep cuff on jeans

These deeper cuffs are, left to right, from @chicover50 and @tamerabeardsley.

The double fold cuff

Shauna is wearing these two jean styles in the collage below. They are relaxed, distressed, and the right one is embroidered. I can’t tell for sure but I think this cuff has been achieved in two steps. Because the jeans aren’t narrow, it looks like the edge of the jean was turned up a good four inches. And then, that four inch cuff became a two-inch cuff once it was folded in half. The fold hugs the hem of the jean. I love doing this with jeans that are a little too long. Don’t get stuck on exact measurements. I’ll flip the edge up five or six inches even, then fold, and then fiddle with it until it looks right. This double fold cuff is perfect on these relaxed jean styles.

Rolled and distressed jeans

Rolled and distressed jeans

These rolled and distressed jeans are both brought to you by @chicover50.

The narrow cuff

When it comes to skinny jeans, you’re not going to be creating a four-inch roll because they will be too tight over your calf. So the best option is to take the edge and roll it up just half an inch. You can leave it just like that or you can roll it one more time and have a one-inch roll. In the examples below you can see how perfect this narrow cuff is with both boots and slides or sandals.

 

Jeans with one skinny cuff

Jeans with hem turned up once and narrow

These tiny hem flips are being worn, left to right, by @glamupyourlifestyle and @andattitude.

Below are more examples of flipping the bottom edge up just once. On the left, the jean is skinny which works well with the narrow half-inch cuff. On the right, the leg is wider and the one inch or so cuff works well.

jeam hem

These examples both come from @chic_in_chanel.

 The double rolled, narrow cuff

I want you to observe the cuffed hem below on the left. This is Sara Hatten-Masterson, a colleague/friend of mine in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. I love the easy, casual jeans and pale blush top. Both pieces are rumpled and relaxed. I’ll bet you anything that Sara has rolled this hem more than she’s folded it. It’s easy to do. Think of scrunching up a rolled newspaper. You treat the hem that way too. You roll it so it looks loose instead of flat.

On the right, Susan has cuffed her jean twice but she’s made it straight and smooth. Both of these cuffed jeans are the same width; they’re using a slightly different technique to achieve different results. Brilliant.

Jeans with fairly narrow double or triple rolls

Jeans with fairly narrow double or triple rolls

I love these one-to-two inch rolls by, left to right, @style_designco and @themidlifefashionista

In the cuffs in the collage below, the jeans aren’t skinny but not super relaxed either. These gorgeous ladies have created a double cuff that looks to be about two or two and a half inches deep.

They are both smooth cuffs. I love their outfits! Are you getting the hang of this?
jeans rolled examples

These examples come from, left to right, @textelle and @glamupyourlifestyle.

Not interested in cuffing? Go no-fuss with an ankle jean

If cuffing seems bothersome to you and you’re not ready for the frayed edges, you can stick to the classic ankle length jeans. As we’re heading into spring and wanting to show some skin, these ankle jeans below are super no-fuss. The jean on the left is a skinny ankle jean and the one on the right is closer to a narrow or straight-legged ankle jean. Just add a favorite bootie or a sandal and you’re set!

 

Ankle length jeans

Ankle length jeans

These ankle jeans come to you from, left to right, @styleandnature and @susan_unefemme.

Did rolling, fraying, and cuffing get easier for you? Let me know if this helps. I do have four more spokes on the jean wheel that I’m working on for you, but I’m open to more of your questions! Enjoy!

 

You Might Also Like

29 Comments

  • Reply
    Lisa
    March 7, 2017 at 3:46 am

    Hi Brenda! I’ve been rolling/cuffing my skinny jeans but mostly because they’re too long! In your opinion, what is the best length (unrolled or rolled)? Can’t wait for the other spokes on the jeans wheel.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 7, 2017 at 8:17 am

      If they’re really long, I would get them hemmed and then start your cuffing. I like seeing ankle. With skinny jeans either they will pool around the ankle (some people can pull that off) or you cuff them. But you can’t do deep cuffs because of hitting your calves and then you’re uncomfortable all day. One suggestion I’ll make is to have the jean come about one to two inches below your ankle so you have plenty of material to work with to get the cuff you want. I didn’t mention this in the post but for one client, I do triple cuffs because I want to see the jean looking more cropped than ankle. Does this help, Lisa?

  • Reply
    Spags
    March 7, 2017 at 4:26 am

    Hi Brenda! I know what you mean about deciding to ignore a trend, then loving it. I swore nothing would get me out of bootleg jeans and I would never be seen in skinnies. Now I wear nothing else. The embroidered jean is everywhere in UK stores: I’m still debating whether to get into these, as I was around last time they were a thing. Is it ok to embrace a trend for the second, third, fourth time? PS I love your blog.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 7, 2017 at 8:21 am

      Oh yes, I remember it too! In my mind’s eye I can picture me in a tiny apartment in college at the University of North Dakota, embroidering my jeans near the open stove because it was so cold in that apartment. This trend is making me want to do more DIY adornment on my jeans. That was so much fun. I am definitely going to be wearing an embroidered jean this spring. And I think I can make it look modern within my style. When I do, I’ll surely write about it and show pictures. I say go for it! Thanks for the blog love, Spags!

      • Reply
        Mary
        March 7, 2017 at 9:22 am

        Hi Brenda, I’m kicking myself about now…last year in a major purge I let go of a beautifully embroidered pair of Vivienne Tam jeans (from the back room at Loehmann’s at least 25 years ago). They were a bit too big and out of style — haha how fashions change in a flash! Now, thinking they would have been perfect this spring…a bit baggy, rolled up cuff, with gorgeous blue flowers up the leg…Alas, am truly hoping someone discovered them at the thrift store where I donated them and is proudly wearing their on-trend find!

        • Reply
          Brenda
          March 7, 2017 at 11:26 am

          Oh my gosh, Mary, I’m a bit heartbroken myself about this donation. I’m going to have a moment of silence for those beautiful Vivienne Tam jeans. Maybe you’ll be lucky and find something similar in a thrift store somewhere or else head to Anthropologie!

  • Reply
    Pat
    March 7, 2017 at 7:24 am

    Sooo adorable, Brenda!! Clearly, this style is best suited for taller women, with or without neutral colored shoes. Why would a petite woman create so many horizontal breaks to a shorter stature? In our quest to be modern and current are we losing sight of what’s most important, proportion?

    You have worked so hard on this Jean tutorial, thank you. I’ll look forward to future posts.
    a faithful fan,
    Pat

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 7, 2017 at 11:37 am

      Hi Pat,
      I might blow your mind on this response but I find when I come across a stylish women and her outfit is all put together well, I’m never focused on her height or her size. I think rules for people whether it’s for petites, people with short legs, long legs, plus-size (pick your category), often lose sight of style. Probably my first rule that I adhere to all the time is creating an outfit that brings the attention up to the person’s face, quickly. I know I pay attention to proportion, always, but even those rules change a bit with the evolution of fashion and style. Style tells the bigger story. In my humble opinion. I wish we were talking about this over a cup of tea in Southern California. It’s a great topic! One I’ll be thinking more about today.
      Yours faithfully,
      Brenda

      • Reply
        Laurice
        March 7, 2017 at 12:55 pm

        I’m so glad you’ve addressed this issue as well Brenda. At 5′ 2″ I look like a Munchkin in cropped pants of any kind.

  • Reply
    Cathy D.
    March 7, 2017 at 7:48 am

    Dear Brenda,
    Thanks so much for this wonderful post! It’s exactly what I’ve been waiting and hoping for, real in-depth coverage of the questions so many of us have about how to buy and wear jeans. I have a pair of straight-legged jeans that are definitely too long. I was thinking of taking them to the tailor, but now I’m going to try rolling them. What fun! I can’t wait to read the other four spokes.

    Somehow this got me wondering whether jeans are the only kind of pants that can be rolled successfully, or whether rolling might work with other types of pants. But perhaps that’s a topic for another day.

  • Reply
    jodie filogomo
    March 7, 2017 at 8:10 am

    I love seeing the variety you’ve shown here, Brenda!
    In a way, it makes me think that there is no “one” right way. Which is quite freeing if you ask me!!
    jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

  • Reply
    janet majors
    March 7, 2017 at 10:11 am

    Whoever said women of a certain age cannot dress with a certain joie de vivre, does not know Brenda Kinsel. Thanks for sharing your jeans guide. I’m open to the frayed hem version , but still not convinced it’s just a trend. I guess time will tell.

    Janet

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 7, 2017 at 11:22 am

      You’re right about that, Janet! I think when something first hits the scene there will be people who must have it without a moment’s delay. Then the new thing lives on and if it holds, it becomes a classic just like skinny jeans did. Have fun with your new frayed jeans when you get them!

  • Reply
    Susan B.
    March 7, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Great tips, Brenda! Thanks for the mention as well. I’m getting ready to try some deep cuffs next…

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 8, 2017 at 10:03 am

      Well, I’m such a fan of you so it was great to find examples on your feed. Everyone go to @susan_unefemme on Instagram for more great styling ideas. Thanks, Susan!

  • Reply
    Mary Ann Doerzbacher
    March 7, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    I am so happy with your discussion of cuffing jeans. Many jeans are too long for me. I am just a bit too tall (5’4″) for petite but average jeans are too long. I HATE having to hem them myself so now I can cuff because Brenda said it is ok! Yay! Thanks, Brenda. Loved this piece.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 8, 2017 at 10:01 am

      Fabulous, Mary Ann! A new solution!!!

  • Reply
    Susan G
    March 8, 2017 at 3:00 am

    I’m afraid I’m the lone dissenter here, Brenda. Frayed edges, cuffed crops — in fact, any crops — are just not attractive to me. I’m very tall, and any pant short of full length reminds me of my flood-pants youth. Frayed edges look careless and unkempt. JMHO, of course. I don’t wear skinny jeans, either. I like bootcuts, flares and trouser legs. Never mind — to each her own! 🙂

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 8, 2017 at 10:01 am

      Thanks, Susan! Love hearing this. When I read up to “I’m very tall” I thought immediately that I’d put you in flares and put all that attention on your length. But you’re doing that already! I find for everybody who has had a thing they’ve dealt with all their life that there’s just no getting around sticking to the classic thing that works. I’ll address height in another spoke of the Jean Guide for the Modern Woman. You prove something that is absolute: not everything works on every body. Fabulous! Cheers and thanks for posting your comment. Xx

  • Reply
    Ann Werries
    March 8, 2017 at 11:25 am

    All fall/winter this year, I’ve been playing with varying cuffs. I feel so “on trend”!!! (for once) I was a late adopter of the skinny jean but have thoroughly enjoyed them now for 2 or so years. I’d been thinking about this the other day …”what’s the right way to cuff…?” So g;lad you psychically tuned in to my question and answered it–any way you like!!!. Thanks Brenda….

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 8, 2017 at 7:59 pm

      Delightful, Ann! Glad you’re having fun with skinnies AND cuffing!!! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Liz
    March 8, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Susan G shouldn’t feel like the lonely-only dissenter.
    While I have to admit that the ladies in your photos wearing frayed edges and extremely distressed jean legs look fabulous, I’m not even tempted to try them for myself. They’d look unkempt on me and, I think, like I was trying too hard to look younger.
    Plus that, I live in a area (Washington DC) whose inhabitants tend to dress more formally. It’s not usual to see women who live here–unless they’re college students–wearing frayed or distressed jeans even if they’re they’re dressing casually.
    To each her own, though. As I say, I can appreciate the multiple presentations of jeans, and it does encourage us to experiment within our comfort zones.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 8, 2017 at 8:01 pm

      Place is a big factor. I can see that in DC for sure. You know, what’s funny is that I thought the frayed would be way too messy for me. Some part of my liked it! Now I still have to put some miles on them before I know for sure. But you’re right, it’s just another choice! Thanks, Liz.

  • Reply
    Rebecca
    March 8, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    I love a super big cuff on a skinny jean ! Especially when the inside stitching is unique… red or yellow thread. And of course the frayed hem , which I do myself :). But I keep the Fray clean , trim after a wash .

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 8, 2017 at 8:02 pm

      So when you frayed yours yourself, did you just cut off the hem of a jean and let it do its thing and then trim them when they got shaggy? I love DIY projects! Thanks, Rebecca!

  • Reply
    Sharon Martinuzzi
    March 27, 2017 at 5:20 am

    Hello Brenda, my first look at your site, and I loved it! Have never felt really confident with my jeans wearing, but do love one pair of skinnies but love my bootlegs still, and have been noticing a lot of frayed ends in bottoms and tops and liking the look! So, I do feel really enlightened now after reading all your advice! And am heading into my wardrobe right now to see what I can restyle! Thanks so much! Sharon

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 27, 2017 at 11:55 am

      Yay!!! Love to hear you’re headed to your closet to do some styling. Thanks, Sharon. I hope your first look leads to many, many more! Thanks for joining the conversation.

  • Reply
    Robin Hawkins
    March 27, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    When it comes to trends, I usually opt out until the hype dies down. Then I check it out. I did this with skinny jeans and mostly because I am plus size and I could not see myself in them. Finally, I tried on a pair and I bought several pairs. I am looking forward to trying boyfriend jeans and having fun exploring different ways to style my jeans. Thank you for the post

    • Reply
      Brenda
      March 28, 2017 at 8:58 am

      You know what? That’s what I did with skinny jeans as well! I think that’s a fine idea. So glad you shared your experience as I’m sure this is true for many of us (most?). Happy exploring!!

    Leave a Reply