Cuffed pants aren’t just for wading barefoot in streams. They can actually be a powerful style choice!

You won’t find cuffs on most suits, but you’ll likely be impressed when you spot a pair of cuffed suit trousers.

So, how can you incorporate this look effectively? I’m so glad you asked.

Cuffed Pants Basics

Cuffed trousers are effortless to achieve. They are the look you get when you fold your hem upward on the outside of your pants.

what are cuffed suit pants

The fold is apparent and incorporated into the fashion. You usually roll a couple of times to achieve the style.

Cuffs aren’t just a way to shorten your pants, although they do achieve that. Instead, they’re a stylistic flair.

They’re often held in place with stitching at the seams so they don’t unroll. But you can achieve this effect yourself if you’re eager for this look.

Still, your trousers must be long enough to roll without creating problems.

Sometimes you may want to cuff your pants, but there is no material to spare. In that instance, you may be able to have a tailor add a faux cuff with a second piece of fabric at your ankle.

When bespoke suits incorporate cuffs on suit pants, the tailor angles them so they’re longer at the heel.

As a result, the front of the cuff is slightly raised so there is no pant break, and your shoes are visible.

bespoke suit pants cuff and break

Cuffing your pants makes them less formal, though they may still be appropriate for some suits.

How to Wear Cuffed Pants

Remember that cuffing your pants will affect how they sit on your body, so you’ll need to ensure your trousers will still look good.

For example, you want a slight pant break along your ankle.

How the trouser break should fit

The cuffs should roll high enough that your break isn’t deep but not so high that you’re left with no break. They should still hide your socks and cover the tops of your shoes.

If you’re wearing separates instead of a full suit, the style of your pants matters.

Flat-front pants must be treated differently than pleated pants. If your pants have no pleat, do not cuff them.

flat-front vs. pleated pants

However, pleated pants are on the table: two pleats require that you cuff them, and single-pleated pants are flexible. The choice is yours.

Wear Cuffed Pants with Suits Formally

Though cuffed dress pants are inherently informal, you can still incorporate them with the right suit for a dressy look.

double-breasted suit with cuffed pleated pants

For example, double-breasted suits should almost always have a cuff. It adds to the overall appeal of the cut of the suit, helping highlight the suit jacket.

Pinstripes are another excellent time to play with cuffing your pants.

Navy pinstriped suit, white dress shirt, and black derby shoes

However, if you decide to cuff your suit, it’s critical that you keep the rest of your suit traditional.

Adding too many stylistic touches may overwhelm your outfit and make you appear to be trying too hard. And we don’t want that!

three-piece charcoal suit with cuffed pants

There are specific occasions when you should never consider cuffing your pants, and a job interview is one of those times. The cuffs won’t look professional enough.

Wear Cuffed Pants Casually

Cuffs are an optional but effective way to alter your jeans, khakis, or chinos.

white chinos with cuffs for casual wear

Since these pants are thicker than dress pants, you aren’t likely to need to stitch the cuffs in place. Instead, they’ll hold their cuff well if you hand-roll them.

This may be a good introduction to cuffing your pants if you’ve never done it before.

Adding cuffs to your business casual outfit is a clever way to ensure you aren’t overdressed.

If you’re concerned your ensemble may be too stuffy for your work setting, give your pants a roll to adjust their formality.

navy blazer, dark green turtleneck, and indigo jeans

Remember to ensure that your pants are long enough so you don’t look like you are wearing clam diggers around the office.

Should You Wear Cuffed Pants?

Whether to cuff your pants or not depends on a few factors. Height, formality, and pant fit should be considered.

wearing oxblood burgundy dress shoes with brown pants

It’s helpful to weigh the advantages against the disadvantages.

Cuffed Pants Advantages

Some positive effects of cuffing your pants are that:

  • Cuffs help preserve your fabric. By folding up the hem, you keep extra material in reserve in case the bottom of your cuff gets scuffed, frayed, or stained.
  • Cuffs also add weight to the bottom of your trousers, giving them a lovely drape.
  • Cuffed pants sit well throughout the leg. Tall men wear cuffed pants very well since it creates an impression of balance.
  • If you’re eager to tone down the formality of an outfit, cuffs are an excellent way to achieve that. They make your pants more casual.

Cuffed Pants Disadvantages

On the downside:

  • Cuffs create more work when having your trousers tailored. This extra work will translate into a higher price.
  • You could cuff your pants yourself, but then you run the risk of them unrolling as you go about your day. And while they can look fantastically stylish, they’re less dressy and unsuitable for a very professional look.
  • If you need a versatile suit, you should avoid cuffs.
  • And finally, including cuffs at your ankles can create the illusion of cutting off the length. So, it may not be a flattering look for short men.

Don’t Wear Cuffed Pants with a Tuxedo

There isn’t any scenario where cuffed tuxedo pants are appropriate. Tuxedos are the height of formality, which calls for a sleek, unbroken silhouette.

different dress code types and formalities for men

The idea of a tuxedo is that its wearer is as suave and smooth as possible. Unfortunately, cuffs destroy that image; they create clunkiness around the ankles, a drastic departure from the rest of the sleek line.

And since tuxedo pants have satin ribbon down the outer seams, you would see the back of the stitching of the ribbon when you turn your pants up. This would look even more chaotic.

How Long Should the Cuffs Be?

You want your cuffs to be proportionate to your body, so there isn’t a standard answer to cuff size. Shorter men benefit from a shorter cuff, while taller men should have a long one.

Overall, 1.5 inches is appropriate for most men of average height.

However, for men taller than 5’9″, consider adding an extra quarter of an inch. The extra width will accommodate longer legs.

Since cuffs make the wearer’s legs appear shorter, short men should consider if they want to run that risk. They can still add cuffs but should detract a quarter of an inch from the standard roll size.

The most suitable cuff length can also depend on the pant break.

  • No break pants should NOT have cuffs. If you still prefer one, it should be smaller than 1.5 inches.
  • Half-break and quarter-break pants are the standard. As said above,  1.5 to 1.75 inches is the preferred cuff length.
  • Full-break pants cover the shoe with significant break, so even a cuff with 1.75 inches and above (usually 2 inches) is acceptable.

Alexander Stoicoff

Author: Alexander Stoicoff

Hi, I’m Alex, and I’ve studied and specialized in styling in Rome. Through my writing, I want to help men dress well and learn the purpose and significance of suits and other formal attire. My final goal is to make men more confident in their wardrobe choice and life in general.