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. So what has this year introduced? Street style shots were ruled by cuffed hems on dapper men. Pin rolling, cuffing, and turning-up your hems is an easy way to jolt some life into an old pair of pants. Read on to find out more.

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It’s hard to identify just when pin rolling began. Maybe it was on the banks of the Mississippi or maybe it was on a sailboat on the East coast. This style 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. You can pull a slim jean or old chino out of your closet and instantly refresh it into a new 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 repertoire thanks to ”sneakerheads”, who were keen on finding 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.

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Pin-rolling jeans perfectly shows off your sneakers.
PHOTO CREDIT: Hanon

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For all of 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 tailor-alterations without actually making the trip to a tailor. With the right roll, a pin roll adds extra tapering to any denim trousers, chinos, 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 trousers 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 part of ankle showing and letting the shoe be seen in all of its glory.

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Turning Up Your Jeans
PHOTO CREDIT: Hypebae

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Pin Rolling Denim

Bootcut 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, trousers 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 athleisure look.

On the flip side, super skinny denim tends to give off a legging appearance, so tread carefully when you’re picking your trousers 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.

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Brown Loafer
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 jeans for men or 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.

Pin Rolling Chinos

A great way to try a new trend on the classic chino? Add a little ankle! Keep the pin roll small – it’s 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 nautical 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, we 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.

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Turning Up Your Dress Trousers
PHOTO CREDIT: Oh I See

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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 cool yet 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.

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? We have created a very simple 4 step guide to achieving the best roll up for your jeans.

  • 1: Pinch a 1-2’’ piece of fabric at the side of your pant.
  • 2: Fold the pinched part over
  • 3: Begin rolling your hem tightly from the bottom.
  • 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. It will also make your outfit look a lot more thought over and neater.

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Selvedge Denim Requires Smaller Turn Ups
PHOTO CREDIT: The Idle Man

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The Turn-Up

The turn-up is much easier to achieve than a pin roll – simply flip up the bottom hem of your trousers and you’re set to go! Fold up the bottom of your trouser (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 gives your look a laid-back, weekend vibe.

So why turn-up? 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.

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Dr Martens Brogue Boots
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

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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 trousers hang attractively. They even help your trousers hold their crease. 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 is a unique casual look. It’s a versatile enough trick that 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.

A perk of rolling up jeans is that you can play with the lengths! Hike that turn-up as high as you want or keep it subtle and short. If you’re going for a high turn up over a regular one, 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 channelling James Dean.

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.

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Rolled Jeans And Converse
PHOTO CREDIT: The Idle Man

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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 finish of a crisp crease will look stellar.

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.

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Rolled Up Jeans
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

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How Long Should Jeans be When Rolling Them

For a taller man, a two or two and a half 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 inches is huge and 1 ¼ is small. Wear 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 Dr Marten or an Oxford plays into the silhouette.

With a shorter turn-up, go wild! Boots, chukkas, Vans – anything with a heavy in-step will look key. Since the cut highlights the shoe and helps you show off your sneaker game, pick one of your favourite pairs and show them off. Sneakers are one of the main reasons that rolling has come back into the 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.

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Turn-ups With Boots 
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.

A Guide to Pin Rolls and Turn-Ups

  • Pin rolls and turn ups need to be styled properly, so follow our guidelines. If you’re unsure on the look, then avoid it overall.
  • Pin rolls work best for streetwear. Both showing your ankles or wearing colourful socks are fine for this look.
  • Turn-ups are 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.
  • Use the right trouser. Pin rolls or turn-ups are no good on the wrong trouser as they will look off and most likely unravel.
  • Keep them equal. Keep both trouser legs equal lengths when you role them up. If you don’t do this, you are guaranteed to look utterly ridiculous.
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Brogue Boots And Jeans
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

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. Now that you know all of the styles and have all of the tricks, you can go ahead and recreate this look.

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Every few years, a trend comes along that brings a new way to wear a classic style. So what has this year introduced? Street...
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