A Guide to Pin Rolls and Turn-Ups

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PHOTO CREDIT: The Idle Man

Every few years, a trend comes along that brings a new way to wear a classic style. This year? Street style shots were ruled by cuffed hems on dapper men. Pin rolling, cuffing, and turn-up your hems is an easy way to jolt some life into an old pair of pants.

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It’s hard to identify just when pin rolling began. Maybe it was on the banks of the Mississippi, maybe it was on a sail boat on the East coast. It was big in the eighties – skinny legged denim in high-voltage hues ruled the streets.

In essence, pin rolling is a simple way to revamp your style without purchasing new pieces. Pull a slim jean or old chino out of your closet and refresh into an old piece. Also known as pegging or raga roll, pin rolling is basically when you fold in part of the inseam, and roll up the hem of your pant to a few inches above your shoe, creating a tapered look and showing off your shoes and ankles. Pin rolling came back into our outfit rotations thanks to sneaker heads, who were keen on a way to show off their freshest kicks.

Not only is pin rolling an easy way to add an air of cool to any look, but there are some practical benefits as well. Have you ever purchased a pair of new jeans, only to find that they’ve dyed your shirts, socks, and shoes indigo? If you hike up the hem, no colour will bleed onto your kicks.

Saucony black trainers blue jeans pinrolled mens fashion
Pinrolling your jeans is the perfect way to show off your sneakers like a true trendsetter
PHOTO CREDIT: Hanon

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For all you sneaker aficionados, rolling up the hems puts a much-deserved spotlight on your shoes. Although showing off your sneakers with a perfect pin roll is always advised, one of the best parts of this trend is you can really pin roll with any kind of footwear. Dress shoes? Go for it. Slip on sneakers? Insert flame emoji here.

Pin rolling is also an easy (and cheap!) way to get the tailored fit of a tailor without making the trip to a tailor. With the right roll, a pin roll adds extra tapering to any denim, chino, or slacks. Plus, if your sock game is strong, pin rolling is a great way to show off your personality by flashing bright, patterned socks.

Turn Ups vs. Pin Rolls

While cuffing and pin rolling (or pinch roll jeans) may look pretty similar, there are a few crucial differences. Most men cuff a pant to shorten the hem, possibly because the pants are too long. Pin rolling isn’t just to make the hem of your pant shorter, although that’s a pretty big part of it. Pin rolling is done to create a slimmer silhouette without buying a slimmer pant or heading to a tailor to have them properly fitted.

When you cuff a pant, it should sit right at the top of your shoe. When you pin roll a pant, it will fall about two inches above the shoe, leaving a small slice of ankle showing.

asics gel lyte iii white white mens fashion
Turning your skinny jeans up shows off your sneakers perfectly and makes them stand out on your outfit more
PHOTO CREDIT: Hypebae

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Pin Rolling Denim

Boot cut or straight leg denim is tougher to pin roll. Because they have a wider hem, it’s tough to get a neat pin roll. If you do manage to get a neat pin roll, pants with wider hems have a tendency of ballooning above the role. The ballooning effect gives the pant more of an elastic hem feel, which may not be ideal if you’re looking to avoid that sweat pant/athleisure look. On the flip side, super skinny denim tends to give off a legging appearance, so tread carefully when you’re picking your pant to pin roll. Pick a denim that fits you well, and roll (pun intended) with it. For the crispest pin roll, the stiffer the denim the better. A raw, stiffer denim will hold up the roll better so you won’t have to fuss with it as frequently.

Pro tips: keep an eye on the length of the pant. If they’ve got an extra long inseam (think stacking denim of 36’’ and above), pin rolling them will look sloppy.

mens fashion brown loafers selvedge jeans turn up
Pin roll your dark denim with loafers for an instant smart casual look.
PHOTO CREDIT: Saga

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Cuffed Dress Trousers

Rolling a dress pant? Pin rolling is a fun way to instantly update a smart casual look. Paired with a dress shirt or a t-shirt, showing off some mankle is cheeky, and the possibilities are endless. Cuffed trousers require a smarter shoe or a simple sneaker. Pick some nice loafers or a clean pair of trainers to match your trousers. Styling trousers with trainers is a modern take on a classic item and really brings those boring slacks back to life.

mens fashion rolled trousers white shirt black brogues
Turning up your dress trousers can be done, just make sure that your shoes fit with your outfit.
PHOTO CREDIT: Oh I See

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Pin Rolling Chinos

A great way to try a new trend on the classic chino? Add a little mankle! Keep the pin roll small – it’s more ideal to have a tight roll than to have a turn-up.

Chinos have always been a summer staple, but pairing a tight pin roll with some nautical hints of red and blue are a quirky twist on seaside fashion. Add a boat shoe like a Sperry or clean white sneaker and you’re set for the holidays. Formal shoes are also perfectly acceptable, but sportier sneakers like Nike dunks may send you into 80’s nerd territory. That being said, I bet someone can prove us wrong! We’d definitely advise keeping the chino as a summer staple. Pin rolled chinos aren’t as forgiving when wearing socks, so it’s a look that’s best kept in warmer weather.

Tan pin rolled chinos
Chinos + Trainers, a match made in heaven.
PHOTO CREDIT: Mkistore

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Pin Rolling Selvedge Denim

Selvedge denim is denim that’s specially woven in a way that prevents the raw edges of the denim from fraying. ‘Selvedge’ originates from the world ‘self-edge’.  A key identifier of Selvedge is distinct red stitching on the inside of the denim. Pin rolling or turning up your pant hem is a sweet but subtle way to show off your Selvedge denim and gain some serious sartorial points. The difference between the dark denim and the lighter interior adds great contrast.

shirts to wear with jeans for men white shirt selvedge denim jeans for men
Selvedge denim requires smaller turn ups and shoes that are gonna accentuate your jeans.
PHOTO CREDIT: The Idle Man

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How to Roll Up Jeans

When it comes to rolled up jeans there is a specific way to keep your jeans staying rolled up. So, how do you do it?

  • Step 1: Pinch a 1-2’’ piece of fabric at the side of your pant.
  • Step 2: Fold the pinched part over
  • Step 3: Begin rolling your hem tightly from the bottom.
  • Step 4: Continue rolling until about 2 inches (or however much you think looks good!) is left between the top of your shoe and your hem.

Note: When rolling the left leg, fold in from the right. When rolling the right leg, fold in from the left. This will create a symmetrical appearance in your roll.

The Turn Up

The turn-up is much easier to achieve than a pin roll – simple flip up the bottom hem of your pant and you’re set to go! Fold up the bottom of your pant (and avoid ruching the fold at all) and create a small gap between your shoe and trouser. It’s a simple and easy way to show off a shoe or sock, and it give s your look a laid-back, weekend vibe.

So why turn-ups? Turn ups add shape to the bottom of your figure.

This is really key if your upper legs are more muscular than your calves – turning the hem will balance you out by creating subtle volume on your lower leg. If your lower body is shorter, a well-executed turn up on a fitted trouser will give off the impression of a longer, leaner leg.

Dr Martens and turned up trousers, a perfect marriage.
PHOTO CREDIT: Iron and Tweed

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Cuffs add a bit of visual interest to the end of your trousers, but perhaps most importantly they also add some physical weight, which helps your pants hang attractively. They even help your trousers hold their crease. The great thing about turn-ups if you’re opting for a lightweight trouser, the appearance of a turn up will weigh down the bottom of the trouser. Tight roll jeans are an issue, if you’re planning on wearing cuffed skinny jeans then go for a single roll, and if your jeans are slim it might be worth trying out a pin roll.

Turning up Denim

Turn up denim (or cuffed jeans) is phenomenal unique casual look. It’s a versatile enough trick that it works well with trainers or with dress shoes.  Again, Selvedge denim is perfect for cuffing – flipping the hem shows off the tell-tale red stitching and creates a great dark-to-light contrast between the dark wash and inside.

Perks of rolling up jeans – you can play with the lengths! Hike that turn up as high as you want, a la Nick Wooster above, or keep it subtle and short. Wooster’s above look is higher than the regular turn-up, so if you’re going for that high a turn up, confidence is key. With turn-ups that high, it’s more of a statement than a casual   It works on formal or casual outfits too – toss a suit jacket or an old t-shirt on and you’re instantly channeling James Dean.

How to turn up your jeans
Step by step for turning up your denim.
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

How to Cuff Jeans

Whether cuffing your jeans or simply going for a turn up, you have to figure out which one works best for the style you’re going for. Most outfits need a simple single roll, however if you want to go for a bit more of a high fashion look or you just want to show off your trainers try a high roll.

Cuff your denim grid mens fashion
Knowing your turn up length is vital, see which one is best for you.
PHOTO CREDIT: Jack Threads

Turning up Trousers

So now you’re thinking how to cuff trousers right? Traditional trouser turn ups have a forward pleat and a plain hem. The American version is flat on the front. Although a higher turn-up looks relaxed with a denim pant and you can get away with a less precise turn-up, a trouser turn-up looks the sharpest with a neat, 2 inch roll up.

Note: when turning up a pair a pair of dress pants, align the pleat with the turn up. The slick look of a crisp crease will look stellar.

white converse mens street style
Turned up trousers and hi tops can work, just don’t go overboard with the length.
PHOTO CREDIT: The Idle Man

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What is Cuffing

Cuffing is a type of trouser that already has the roll up built in, they tend to be more of a sportswear trousers, with a tapered leg. Cuffed trousers are massive this season and are the easiest way to land the streetwear look with minimal effort. Wear your cuffed trousers with a shirt for a more smart casual look, or pair them with a sweatshirt and your favourite kicks for a casual look.

cuffed beanie outfit mens fashion
Luckily for you cuffed trousers are versatile enough to wear smart or casually.
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

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How Long Should Jeans be When Rolling Them

For a taller man, a 2 or 2.5 inch turn-up is ideal. For a shorter man, 1.25 to 1.5 inch will be the best suited. A shorter turn up for a shorter man will elongate your legs. But, play with the length! Find the length that you like the most and what you think works best for you. There is so much room to play with your turn-up – a larger turn up with less ankle will elongate your leg while a shorter one will condense your leg. It’s all personal taste though, so fiddle with your length to find the style you like best. As a rule of thumb, 2’’ is huge and 1 ¼ is small. Where what you are the most comfortable with!

Footwear

With a tight cuff, avoid pairing chunky sneakers with lighter denim. This combo can feel a little Dad-core  if not pulled off just right. With a longer roll, boots and sneakers are key. Because all the weight is gathered around your ankles, a heavier shoe, like a Doc Marten or a Oxford plays into the silhouette.

With a shorter turn-up, go wild! Boots, chukkas, Vans, anything with a heavy in-step will look key. With a pin roll, sneakers! Since the cut highlights the shoe and helps you show off your sneaker game, pick one of your favourite pairs and show em’ off. Sneakers are one of the main reason that rolling has come back into rotation so make-use of it to show off your favourite pair of sneakers. Do: make sure your sneakers are clean! Don’t go through the effort of rolling up that hem to put a dirty pair of shoes on display.

mens fashion brown boots blue jeans camel overcoat
Turn ups with your boots have to be the correct length so find the balance that is right for you.
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

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Styles to Avoid

Ok, this is the only rule that we’re going to stress as much as we can. No matter what, under any circumstance, should you ever have to roll up one leg of your jeans. You aren’t in a 90’s rap video and you most certainly do not need to. The only time we want to see one leg being rolled up is when you’re about to cycle and you fear your trouser will get caught in the chain. Leave this in the 90’s where it belongs.

ll cool j mens fashion
His name might be LL Cool J but his look definitely doesn’t match the title.
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

How to do Pin Rolls and Turn-Ups

Pin rolls and turn ups need to be styled properly so follow these guidelines. Pin rolls = streetwear, turn ups = chic so learn the right way to do each style. Length is super important, ankles are fine, shins are a big no-no. Knowing the difference will ensure that you can own each style so you can turn up properly.

On That Note

Cuffing your hems is all about what you prefer. Play around with the lengths or browse through some of our images above to see what style will suit your wardrobe. Cuffing is a key way to add a little oomph to a tired pant, without purchasing a new pair altogether. For a leg shape that tapers in at the leg, cuff a more relaxed denim. For a cropped look, roll up a skinny leg.

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