You may or may not want, or need, to roll your jeans or chinos, but even the most curated look can be enhanced with a proper roll. However, the size and type of the roll you choose can say a lot about you and should complement your footwear.
First, glance down at your ankles and make an honest assessment of the shenanigans going on down there right now. Too much bunching, or stacking, especially with a relaxed or wider leg can look at best unrefined and at worst downright messy. Perhaps you’ve chosen a bootcut taper, designed to fall around the ankle and heel without bunching, or even snapping as you stride. Bootcut jeans usually have an occupational or regional appeal and many guys choose them for perceived simplicity and versatility. Our suggestions if you fall into this group are to be careful of the size of the taper (flare?) as some can border on bell-bottom stature and that you probably shouldn’t wear sneakers with them. In fact, if you’re pressed for time, you might skip to another of our posts as its best not to attempt a roll with those groovy pantalones.
Stacking, especially a longer, slim fit jean is trending, but be sure that you’re comfortable with super-slim denim and that you pair it with a chunky, high-top sneaker or a textured boot with a slim ankle, or upper, and a low-profile toe box.
Ok, what if you’ve gone the other route and are breathing the free air below the mid-calf? Cropped or cutoff highwaters should be appreciated in the summertime with a pair of kicks that deserve to be shown off (don’t forget the no show socks!) or any other time of year with a smart accent sock and polished leather oxford or monk strap shoe.
Now, down to business. There are three main types of rolls, or cuffs, to work with: the single roll, the double roll, and the pinroll -sometimes called the French roll or cuff.
The Single Roll
The single can be as simple as an accent flip of the hem to show off the fabric’s underside contrast or to feature the selvedge seam and thread choice. Depending on the length of the inseam and desired crop, the depth of the single roll can vary. A good rule of thumb is that the deeper the single roll, the heftier or more vintage the style should be. Deep singles can complement a 6 inch leather boot or a pair of classic high-top All-Stars. Where a lower-profile single roll is ideal for a skate sneaker and slimmer fit of denim.
The Double Roll
The double is probably the most common roll and the easiest to moderate size for symmetry. While the double works with almost any shoe, care should be taken in selecting the denim with which to attempt it. Light and mid-weights should be rolled an inch or less with the first and then a little more than an inch for the second. Slide up or down until you’ve found a desired, and hopefully similar, height. Heavyweight denim, 16 oz. and up, can be tough to roll more than once without looking like you’re hiding an ankle monitor, so don’t try it. If they’re still too long for a single roll once you’ve washed through some shrinkage, you may need to visit a local tailor. Just be sure that they are comfortable and familiar working with denim.
A big hit in the 80’s, the pinroll or pinch-roll is trending once again, driven by the crossover of athleisure into the denim scene, for those seeking a jogger look in a denim of both lighter weight and wash. Even if your hem is already at, or above, your ankle you can still perform a fold and low-profile roll to showcase your kicks (and the divots in your shins from childhood). This looks works best with a slim or modern taper fit and always make the fold on the inside of the ankle prior to rolling.
The art of rolling your jeans can take some practice and a certain level of attention to detail. But you may find that once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll be looking for the best roll with every style of pants in your wardrobe. And buying new socks!
Which roll do you prefer?
Cheers and may your story be well-clothed and written with vibrant ink on smudged and dog-eared pages.
Founder of American Reserve Clothing Co.