Wardrobe Series #6: Pants & Denim: The Right Length

by | Nov 6, 2021 | Shopping Tips | 0 comments

The blog has been on a short hiatus during the Workshop and my vacation. If you registered and watched the workshop–THANK YOU! I was so pleased with your feedback. If you missed it, I’ll be repeating it twice a year and will be revising and adding to it for next time which will be the end of February. Now I’m back to finish it up the Wardrobe Series before we go into dressing for the holidays! The posts in the series are longer than normal–there is a great deal of info in video and written form for you.

Let’s break apart the Bottoms category starting with the typical “dress pant”. If you have a work dress code you are likely wearing the typical suiting pant made from a lightweight wool. Suits are not as common in the workplace these days unless you are in the world of finance or law. When I worked in Downtown Portland I sold a lot of suiting. Theory and Boss still do it the best in my opinion.

Most women prefer their “wear to work” pants to be the more comfortable ponte knit that can be found in various styles and lengths. We first started hearing about ponte knit over a decade ago. I wrote a post a number of years ago that was probably that received a lot or response. Now, all these years later, most people are pretty familiar with this incredible fabric. Here’s a widget for dress pants.

As far as length for dress pants, I’d hem flare pants about an 1-2 inches from the floor. For ankle pants, the proper length is just above the ankle bone or right on the ankle bone.

Leggings and Joggers will be covered in the Athleisure category which I’ll hit in a couple of weeks.

Now let’s move to denim which can be tricky especially since there are so many styles available now. This post is going to highlight proper lengths of each style, but you also must really pay attention to your perfect inseam when shopping. Everything is long on me and needs to be hemmed, but if you are taller with long legs you need to pay attention to the inseam FIRST- especially when buying online. Measure the favorites in your closet then duplicate and always shop with a measuring tape.

In the Facebook Live I took you through the past decade with the decline of bootcut jeans and the rise of skinny. Thanks to Pinterest I was able to find some great photos to depict that learning curve we had with skinnies. Remember trying to tuck or wear them over a boot? Oh my! This made me laugh but it’s so real. Many women found it challenging!

Then we started figuring it out. A cuff, slight scrunch, and finally hemming or cutting so the bottom of the hem hit close to the top of the boot. We learned it was OK to show a little skin and we got rid of the socks.

The correct length for skinny jeans is to hem right at the ankle or just above. There should be no bunching. Even though we scrunched for a while, we don’t see that as much presently. A clean, smooth line is best.

Looking back at photos of recent years I have a variety of lengths. Many times I actually preferred just below the ankle, and I can see that I didn’t always feel like hemming. Some of my jeans have the raw hem so I don’t know why I didn’t cut a little off. That being said, when I did have pairs that were just above the ankle, I felt like they made my short legs look shorter. I went back to 2018 and found 2 photos with the same boot. The photo on the left is way too long and they caught on the boot. The photo on the right is probably the correct length but they felt short to me then.

It’s important to find that sweet spot on your frame to give the visual of that longer leg line. So if you’re like me, and wore them a little longer? Well I always say these are just guidelines. Let your eye, personal preference and observation of others be your guide.

Skinny jeans were easy because once we got the boot thing figured out, there was so much versatility to wear almost any shoe or boot.

Let’s take a minute to discuss skinnies. If you love them, find them flattering on your body type and easy to wear then by all means keep wearing them! The stores are still full of skinny jeans. If you want to stay on trend, keep wearing them with sneakers rather than the lower cut bootie. A Chelsea boot is another trendy look right now either with a lug sole or a more sleek style. If you enjoy trying new trends and always being really current, then give some of your skinny styles a rest and experiment with a few others.

Next let’s talk about the straight cut which is really trending right now. The straight cut is essentially the same width from the hip to the ankle where as a skinny tapers in towards the ankle. There is a big variety in leg opening with straight cuts. There are also some that are more fitted and some that will be loose. You will have the traditional length and cropped. Traditional cuts should be hemmed just BELOW THE ANKLE. Straight cuts work with most shoe styles and are flattering on many body types.

When pairing with an ankle boot, you want the bottom of the hem to skim over the top of the boot. Remember the leg opening of the jeans have to be wide enough and the shaft of the boot narrow enough for this to happen so there is no bunching and the jeans won’t get stuck or partially tucked into the boot.

Also trending is the shorter ankle straight which is hemmed slightly above the ankle. Just like skinnies, the hem should be above the top of the boot.( see cropped photo above or photos below)

I’ve been looking for the perfect straight cut jean for over a year and have come up short. I thought I found a great pair of Wit & Wisdom at the Anniversary Sale and they were okay, yet still not exactly what I was after. Recently I found the AG Mari and it is perfect. I love the fit because they are a little more like a skinny on the top but they don’t taper in. I love the wash and the stitching. AG & Paige are my favorite premium brands because the fit and quality is amazing. I watch for price matching because I don’t like to pay full price. Here are a few photos as I was playing around with the length today. I’ll share more on length I went with once they are hemmed. I should have taken the time to pin, but you get the idea. I also tried them with my new Pikolinos which are simply the best!

Bootcut is the most flattering style on most body types. They are especially helpful to visually balance a body type that carries weight in the lower half. And if you need to add leg length and height there is no better way to do it that a bootcut jean with a heel (doesn’t have to be high ) With the the rise of skinny and decline of bootcut in recent years, I think we’ve forgotten how flattering they can be.

When we wore bootcut previously we definitely hemmed 1/2-1 inch from the floor. I put on a pair of Bootcut I had bought for a western event four years ago. I couldn’t believe how long they were! They nearly touched the floor like in the middle photo above. They just felt so long. I started researching. Yes, we are definitely seeing bootcut hemmed just a touch shorter now with more of the boot showing (see photos on far left and right) I look at the photos below and I just don’t even like the length at all! Isn’t it funny how things change?

The Denim widget focuses on Bootcut and Straight cut. As always, I included a variety of styles, prices points, leg openings, lengths. This doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. Since I did my last search the choices have multiplied greatly! Please let me know if you have questions. If you add a new style of denim will it be Bootcut or Straight cut or both?