To Cuff or Not to Cuff? That is the Question
To cuff or not to cuff? That is the question. While not quite as heady as the question contemplated by Prince Hamlet, the decision has a big impact on the presentation and expression of your outfit.
Dress pants will be finished with a hem or a cuff. A hem means a plain bottom where the fabric is folded up inside the pant leg at the desired length. A cuff on the other hand will have the fabric at the bottom folded up on the outside, then be pressed or sewn in place to create the cuff. The above photo shows a cuffed bottom on the left and a hemmed bottom on the right.
What to Consider
Cuffs are widely considered to be the dressier option, after all, their added weight keeps your pant creases sharper, but you typically won’t see them on something as formal as black-tie or white-tie attire. Also, if the pant is pleated you’ll want to get them cuffed since the weight will hold the pleats’ shape and keep them looking crisp. The size of the cuff is also an important consideration. Cuffs have the effect of making you look shorter by cutting off the length of the pant, but a 1 1/2” cuff will add sophistication and elegance to any man’s look regardless of height. Confer with your tailor about what they recommend for a cuff with your build.
Hemmed bottoms are most common on flat-front pants. Historically considered a more casual pant choice, styles and tastes have evolved over the years to make a plain hemmed bottom on a flat-front pant standard choice for many men. The hem also facilitates the slimmer fitting suit (and pant especially) that’s become so en vogue recently, but hems are still appropriate regardless of how you like your pants to fit. That being said, there is nothing wrong with cuffing a flat-front pant. In the past they were considered to clash with each other as cuffs originated in England and the flat-front pant in continental Europe, but those distinctions have begun to fade. Today, you will undoubtedly see well-dressed men wearing a cuffed flat-front pant.
Bottom line. It’s a matter of personal preference, but these considerations should help you make a sound style decision for your build and fit preference. If you’re still unsure, give us a call at 1-833-CIR-ROCK or consult your tailor and allow expertise to guide you to sartorial splendor.