If every pair of pants I bought sat exactly how I wanted them to for each and every occasion, I’d be a happy man. In reality, sometimes you have to make some adjustments. So, can you cuff chinos?
Chinos can be cuffed or pinrolled to maintain a better fit without having to get them tailored. It would also allow you to show off your ankles, socks, shoes, or boots. The type of cuff you roll for your chinos, as well as the height at which it sits, will vary depending on your footwear, the fit, as well as the weather.
Although it is, in theory, a simple practice, it’s important to know how to cuff chinos properly depending on the specific circumstances.
You may want a simple cuff at certain times and a deep cuff at others, for instance. I’ll be talking you through what cuffing options you have available to you, as well as how and when to do each one.
I’ll also be discussing how to pinroll your chinos further down below, after explaining how it’s subtly different to cuffing.
I’ll finish off by running through some frequently asked questions on the topic to really fine-tune your understanding.
Let’s get to it.
3 Tips Before You Start Cuffing Your Chinos
You’re probably pretty excited to get started. But before we move on to discussing how to cuff chinos in the coolest ways possible, bear these tips in mind.
1. Ensure It’s Appropriate
OK, so we know you can do it. The next question to ask yourself is should you cuff your chinos?
It may well not be appropriate for the setting or occasion you’re dressing for. It’s typically a more casual look, so will work well for semi-casual but potentially not business casual dress codes.
Cuffing chinos is also most appropriate with low-top shoes or sneakers in the summer, or with boots in the winter.
Showing an ankle when it’s frosty outside just looks awkward.
So, take the formality of the occasion as well as the weather into account when deciding whether the look is appropriate.
2. Ensure Your Chinos Have The Right Length And Fit
If your chinos are already pretty short, cuffing them up will make them look too short. The pedal pusher look is probably not what you’re going for.
If you buy your chinos with the intention of rolling them up, try to have around 3 to 5 inches of extra length to work with. Remember that some shrinkage will likely happen over time; you should account for this.
The best fit for cuffing chinos would be a slim or skinny fit. In other words, tapering is your friend when it comes to cuffing.
Straight fit, classic fit, and anything wider would generally look more awkward cuffed as there’s too much fabric around your ankles. The cuff will just look too wide and baggy.
The best option here would be to pinroll those wider-cut chinos instead of cuffing them. I’ll be showing you how to do that later on.
But slim or skinny-fit chinos with a slight break at the hem are perfect for cuffing.
3. Try And Keep It Crisp
This does partly depend on personal preference. Some men do like a messier-looking cuff, but this generally works better with jeans.
When it comes to chinos, a cleaner, crisper, and neater cuff will generally look a lot better.
This is easier said than done, however. You’ll get better at it with practice.
But if you want to keep it crisp once you’ve rolled it to your desire, ironing over it is a quick and simple way to do it. This will minimize the risk of it coming undone over the course of the day.
Once you’ve figured out the type of cuff you love and the height at which you want it to sit, consider getting it sewn in. Just head to a tailor and get it done.
This has the benefit of peace of mind; it’ll never come undone. Plus, the cuff will just look oh so crisp and neat. It gives you less flexibility, so be sure you know what cuff you want before you get it done.
How To Cuff Chinos: 3 Simple Variations
For each of these variations, I’ll be telling you how to do it and when it would be most suitable. Remember, footwear, as well as the weather, need to be taken into consideration.
This is going to help you decide the best way to properly cuff your chinos for your specific purposes.
I’ll be talking about pinrolling chinos in the next section, so if you know that’s what you want, skip forward to that section.
1. The Simple Cuff (2 Inch Roll)
As the name would suggest, this cuff is suitable for most purposes. The size of the rolled-up cuff is around 1.5 to 2 inches.
If you’re on the shorter side, go closer toward 1.5 inches. If you’re a taller guy, 2 inches should work well. It’s all about maintaining good proportions throughout.
This cuff size will remain consistent – it just looks good.
What can vary, however, is the number of rolls you do and the height at which the cuff sits up your calf.
The more rolls you do, the higher it’ll be.
But no matter how many rolls you do and how high it gets, the size of the cuff should be between 1.5 to 2 inches (depending on your height).
Let’s discuss how to do it, starting with one roll.
When to do it – Low-top shoes or sneakers in the summer. More rolls would probably show too much ankle and look disproportionate.
- Easy. Simply roll up the cuff from the inside out once to between 1.5 to 2 inches in size.
- Press around the roll to make it nice and crisp. Try to ensure an even size at the front and back.
- If you want, you can tuck the very edge (hem) backward once you’ve finished the roll to get a nice and crisp outline.
Double Or Triple Roll
When to do it – High-top shoes or boots.
- First, follow the same steps you did for the single roll.
- Once you’ve got a nice and even single roll, fold it up once more to get a double roll. Maintain the 2-inch cuff size.
- You’ll probably find that the cuff bottom touches the top of the bony bit of your outer ankle.
- In the same way, roll it up once more if you want the triple roll. Once again, maintain the 2-inch cuff size.
The question you may have now is, how high should you cuff your chinos?
When choosing between a double or triple roll, think about the height your footwear reaches.
Taller boots and high tops like lace-ups would most likely benefit from a triple roll, and the cuff bottom would probably reach the top of the shoe.
The shorter chukka boots, on the other hand, would probably benefit more from a mere double roll.
But even double rolls can look great with taller boots and high tops. The cuff bottom simply sits around 2 inches below the top of the boot, which can look even more natural.
Try out both and see which you prefer.
2. The Deep Cuff
This one is a little more old-fashioned but seems to be coming back. It can look pretty urban and masculine at the same time.
It’s characterized by a big cuff on those chinos, unlike the simple, 2-inch cuff we just talked about.
A deep cuff is around 5 inches in size. Go an inch smaller or bigger depending on how tall you are. If you’re on the shorter side, go for a smaller cuff.
If you’re particularly short, avoid the deep cuff altogether and stick to the simple, 2-inch cuff.
When to do it – Deep cuffed chinos work best with larger boots like lace-ups. A deep cuff with low-top shoes, for instance, looks disproportionate.
Here’s how you do it:
- Roll the chino cuff upward from the inside out once to around 5 inches in size.
- Ensure it’s even at the front and back.
- Tuck the very edge backward to get it nice and crisp.
Sound familiar? It’s the same as doing a single roll Simple Cuff – you’re just making the cuff bigger.
3. The Tuck In
This is the least common one but is a pretty fun one to understand. Who knows – it may well be for you. It’s technically more of a “hem” than a “cuff”, but here’s how you do it:
- Instead of rolling your chino cuff from the inside out, tuck it from the outside inward.
- Tuck in around 2 inches of length.
- This will leave a nice, crisp edge and a neatly cropped look. You won’t see any of the inner linings of your chinos.
- Iron over it to prevent it from coming undone.
The look isn’t for everyone. It can be considered a quick and easy way to shorten your chinos without having to go to a tailor.
When to do it – Much like the single roll simple cuff, it works well with low-top shoes or sneakers and is great for showing a bit of sock or ankle in the summer.
How To Pinroll Chinos
Pinrolling is slightly different from simple cuffing because the bottom of your chino leg is pinched before it’s cuffed upward. This leads to a nice, slim, tapered look at the ankle.
If you want to cuff those chinos tight, pinrolling is the answer.
Here’s how you do it:
- With your chinos uncuffed, pinch the fabric at the bottom of the inner seam (by your inner ankle).
- Fold this pinch backward toward your heel.
- Hold this fold in place while rolling your chino cuff upward from the inside out. Roll it up and over the pinched fabric to around 1.5 to 2 inches in size.
- Then, roll up the cuff one more time to ensure that none of the extra fabric you pinched and folded will come undone.
- If you need to roll it up a third time, that’s fine. Just maintain a cuff size of around 2 inches no matter how high it sits. Mine sit at 2 rolls in this picture.
ProTip: If you’re struggling to keep the pinched fold in place as your cuffing upward, keep it in place with a rubber band. This will also help prevent it from coming undone once you’ve finished.
When to pinroll chinos – It’s a great way to fix a baggy excess of fabric at the bottom of your chinos around the ankles. This is a problem with straight and classic fits. Pinrolling the chinos gives a nice, tapered appearance at the ankles.
If you’re wearing low-top shoes, the pinrolled chinos should end just above the bony part of your outer ankle.
If you’re wearing high-top shoes or boots, you’ll want them to sit just on top or a couple of inches below the top. Feel free to add another roll if you need to in order to achieve this.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some commonly asked questions on the topic to finish off with.
When Should You Cuff Chinos?
Chinos should be cuffed for the sake of either practicality or style. It makes sense to cuff chinos when they’re longer than you would like them or they’re simply too baggy around the ankles.
As you’ve most likely gathered already, cuffing chinos are also a great way to make a subtle fashion statement.
When the style of the cuff is appropriate for the weather, the footwear, and the occasion, it can look very impressive indeed.
What Should You Wear With Cuffed Chinos?
Cuffed chinos should be worn with casual or semi-casual clothing. This will vary depending on the weather.
The versatility of chinos will allow you to wear them all year round, although heavyweight chinos would be more appropriate for the colder months.
Just remember, cuffing is a pretty casual look. Don’t do it for business casual or formal events.
During the summer, go for items such as boat shoes, white sneakers, suede loafers, T-shirts, open chambray shirts, or even a sports coat.
Remember, showing some ankle under those cuffs would work well during the summer, so don’t be afraid to rock those low-top shoes.
During the winter, go for items such as Chelsea, chukka, or lace-up boots. Wrap up with a nice merino wool cardigan and a parka.
You’ve got plenty of options.
How Do You Cuff Baggy Chinos?
To cuff baggy chinos, you’ll need to pinroll them. Trying a simple or deep cuff would leave too much fabric floating around your ankles.
It’ll look too wide and won’t look smart. The more tapered the chinos are at the ankles, the more impressive the cuff will look.
You won’t have this issue with slim-fit and skinny-fit chinos. The pants are tapered enough to not leave too much excess fabric at the bottom.
If you’ve got straight or classic fit chinos, you’ll need to pinroll them to make sure they taper enough to look good.
Should You Cuff Or Hem Your Chinos?
Hemming chinos works better for a more formal and dressier look, while cuffing chinos works better for a more casual appearance.
Let’s talk about the difference between the two.
We’ve talked extensively about what cuffing is – rolls turned up on the outside of the chinos.
Hemming is the exact opposite. The chino fabric is folded upward and inward into the leg of the pants. None of the inner linings would be visible.
You would do this in the “Tuck In” I described above. Getting your chinos “hemmed” means that you or a tailor would sew them fixed into this position.
In general, hemming will give you a cleaner and crisper edge. Even well-ironed or sewn-in cuffs would still add some bulk.
In general, if you’re looking to wear those chinos for more formal occasions, getting them hemmed would be more appropriate than cuffing them.
How Do You Keep Chinos Cuffed?
To keep chinos cuffed, consider using cuff clips or a rubber band for some temporary support. When you’re looking for a more permanent solution, having the cuffed sewed by a tailor would be your best option.
Keeping chinos cuffed can be a challenge, especially when you’re on the move. Fortunately, there are a couple of methods you can try that don’t involve applying fabric glue and other potentially damaging substances to your beloved chinos.
Cuff clips are designed to keep cuffs in place, preventing them from unraveling. They’re easy to use and can pretty easily be found online.
A rubber band is a DIY solution. Simply wrap a small rubber band around your cuff to keep it in place. Wrap it loosely to avoid creating creases in your chinos.
If you wanted to sew the cuff in place, you could do it yourself if you were handy with a needle and thread. It’ll ensure your chinos are permanently cuffed and stay in place all day.
Are Cuffed Chinos Smart-Casual Or Business-Casual?
Cuffed chinos are generally considered appropriate for smart-casual attire, especially during the warmer months of the year. They’re great for dinner dates, garden parties, and summer cocktail parties. However, cuffed chinos aren’t appropriate for business-casual settings – they simply look too casual.
You wouldn’t want to wear cuffed or pinrolled chinos to a business-casual workplace or office setting. Interviews and business meetings are a no-go. You’d be much better off with a pair of dress pants or smart chinos.
Smart chinos generally have more “formal” features such as center creases, jetted pockets, a tapered fit, and no cuffs.
Having said that, there are always exceptions to the rules, especially given how lax the definition of “business-casual” has become over the years.
Some “business-casual” workplaces are so relaxed they should really be labeled smart-casual, but hey.
Modern creative workplaces commonly do this. Ultimately, cuffed chinos would probably be fine here.
Having said that, it’s always best to reserve your cuffed chinos for smart-casual settings and avoid them in truly business-casual ones whenever possible.
Cuffing chinos is a simple and subtle way to make them better suit and fit your needs. It does add even more to the glorious versatility of chinos.
Knowing how and when to do it is probably the hardest part of what is a pretty simple procedure.
Ready Sleek founder. Obsessed with casual style and the minimalist approach to building a highly functional wardrobe. Also a fan of classic, vintage hairstyles.