Reader Request: When to Cuff Jeans

cuffing jeans

left | right

Reader Andrea e-mailed me this question:

I wondered if you would do a blog post about when and when not to cuff jeans. I think doing so would add a little something to my limited casual wardrobe. But I can’t figure out what where to use it. Or maybe it is to be done with a certain jean style. I feel like I’m missing something with this look.

I am late to the cuffing game myself, but have really enjoyed playing around with this styling trick over the past few months. One thing that I think makes cuffing tricky is that it looks great when it’s a little messy … but artfully messy can actually be harder to re-create than neat. Here are a few things I’ve learned from my own tinkerings:

Skinnies, straight-legs, or boyfriends

This may seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. You want the cuff to be fairly small and close to your ankle/calf, so anything that flares out toward the hem like a bootcut or has a wide leg like a trouser cut won’t work. Boyfriend jeans are cuffed more often than not, but you’ll notice that although the jean is loose-fitting the leg tapers and the cuff is fairly close.

Why we cuff

bad jeans cuffs

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Here are two cases in which I think cuffing would actually improve the overall look. Tucking even the skinniest of skinny jeans into ankle boots looks a bit odd, and can cause uncomfortable scrunching. Skinny jeans that haven’t been hemmed to ankle length will bunch and pool at the ankle – cuffing eliminates this problem.

Cuffs that aren’t quite right

cuffsthatdontwork

left | middleright

Now, listen: The Cuff Police don’t exist. If you can’t get your cuffs to fall just so, that’s completely fine. The likelihood of anyone doing a trend-focused ankle check is slim to none. But just in case you’ve been trying to cuff and can’t figure out what’s off, here are a couple of examples that don’t quite hit the mark.

To my eye, the pair on the left has been cuffed just a wee bit too high. You want to show the curve of your ankle, but don’t need to get up into calf territory. In the middle, the messiness of the cuff is fine but they look mighty bulky. This is an issue that I have with some of my jeans: Ideally you want the cuff to be narrow and relatively flat. This means that cuffing jeans hemmed long will backfire, and cuffing ankle-length jeans will work better. And on the right, you have a super tall cuff – this is a fringe trend now and may eventually become the norm. But it still looks a little funky to most folks.

Cuffs with ankle boots

ankle boots cuffed jeans

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NOW we’re talking. Personally, this is my favorite look for cuffing – with ankle boots or other ankle-height shoes. Let just a sliver of ankle peek out between where the cuff ends and the shoe begins. My ankles get weirdly cold, so I will sometimes do black booties, black/gray striped socks, and cuffed jeans. You want to see where the ankle curves in, but you can still see that with a close-fitting sock in the mix.

Cuffs with heels and flats

cuffed jeans with heels

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Cuffed jeans and pants can also look chic and fun with low-vamp shoes like pumps and or ballet flats. Again, remember to cuff just above where your ankle curves, no higher. This is especially important since you’re exposing more of the foot with a low vamp, and if your cuff is high it will give the impression of crops or floods. Cuffing with this style of shoe is helpful if you’ve got a pair of skinnies that pools at the ankle, as mentioned above.

Cuffs with sneakers

cuffed jeans with sneakers

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And finally, sneaks – a great match for cuffed jeans. Cuffing creates an instantly casual look, and sneakers are naturally casual so they play well together. In this case, I’d avoid socks. You want a bit of bare ankle peeking out between the high vamp of the shoe and the cuff of the jean. Slip-on sneakers work just as well.

So which shoe styles won’t work with cuffs? Mary Janes look awkward because between the vamp, strap, and cuff, your foot is cut into three pieces. Mules are a bit odd for similar reasons, especially heeled ones. And, of course, anything that reaches above the ankle like a tall boot won’t look quite right, though I’ve seen people experimenting with tall-shaft ankle boots tucked under cuffs.

Kind of a lot, right? Again, these are not rules, merely guidelines. And they’re MY guidelines, so you may hear completely different advice from other folks. In fact I sent Andrea to this post which has some overlap, but also shows a cuff that’s much wider than I’d wear or recommend. This styling trick is very fluid, so don’t be afraid to play. If you find that a higher or lower cuff looks better to your eye, go for it. If you like the look of a thicker cuff, go for that, too. Do whatever feels and looks best to you.

Anyone else playing around with cuffs these days? Where do you like yours to fall? Are you more apt to cuff skinnies, straight legs, or boyfriends? All of the above? Other tips to share?

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for alreadypretty.com. See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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Insomniac Sale Picks: Sweater Dresses

*In this late-night feature – which will run on Tuesday and Thursday of each week – I’ll gather up three fun items that are currently on sale online and share them with you! I would LOVE suggestions: Stylish wide-width pumps? Classic v-necked sweaters? Chandelier earrings? Petite dress slacks? What would you like to see featured?*

Several readers have requested a few picks for various types of sweater dress, so here we go:

cable knit sweater dress

Style&co. Cable-Knit A-Line Sweater Dress – was $69.50, now $39.09
with code STAR

I remember a request for A-line and full-skirted sweater dresses and I struggled to find any. This year? They’re available in abundance. This one has 3/4 sleeves and although it looks short, the description and reviews maintain it is knee-length on most figures. Available in this red as well as black, heather gray, and merlot in sizes XS – XL. Size availability varies by color. Also available in petite and plus sizes.

fit and flare sweater dress

Sandra Darren Plus-Size Lace Fit & Flare Dress – was $100, now $70

I so dig that pattern. I’ve seen sweater dresses with heathering, but very few that have an actual pattern. Love the 3/4 sleeves and flared skirt. I’d probably belt this one, add some opaque black tights and brown boots, and call it good. Available in sizes 1X – 3x. Also in S – XL.

surplice sweater dress

Chaps Surplice Sweaterdress – was $110, now $82.50

For those who prefer a slimmer, more sheath-like fit, this shawl-collar surplice sweater dress is a great option. Paired with tights and boots it will be cozy and comfy all winter long. Also in petite sizes, and this similar design comes in sizes 14W – 24W.

belted sweater dress

Jones New York Signature Plus Size Belted Sweater Dress – was $119, now $90.94
with code STAR

Here’s why the image is a bit wonky: The image for the plus size version – which is on sale – was TEENY. The regular size version is not on sale, but had a lovely big image. So we’ve got a hybrid. The plus version has a fabulous V- neckline – rare in sweater dresses – long sleeves, an A-line skirt, and removable belt. This one looks like and actually does hit at the knee. Available in charcoal in sizes 0X- 3X. Also in petite and regular sizes, not on sale.

Other not-currently-on-sale resources for sweater dresses:

  1. eBay – For whatever reason, sweater dresses can be a bit tough to find. But eBay has thousands of options in various lengths, styles, and sizes.
  2. Macy’s – One of the few retailers that offers real variety, including a-line styles, petite and plus sizes, and some hemlines that aren’t super short.
  3. Kohl’s – Affordable, office-friendly options. Love this marled drop-waist style.
  4. Nordstrom – A nice variety of lengths and styles, including this long-sleeved Fair Isle and this striped/colorblocked plus-size one.
  5. And, of course, THRIFT STORES! It’ll be hit or miss, for sure, but especially now that the weather is truly turning some sweater dresses should start appearing on the racks. (thethriftshopper.com can help you locate stores near you.)

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for alreadypretty.com. See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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This Week I Love …

500

crystal deodorant. YES IT’S TRUE I DO.

So the claims that aluminum content in antiperspirants causes cancer are somewhat overblown, but as this fabulous Hairpin post aptly points out, “rubbing a body-function-altering chemical into a crevice of my body every morning” might not be the best idea. And aside from aluminum,  you’ve got parabens. Studies are still in process and of course I expect you all to make your own decisions, but I’ve been experimenting with natural deodorant solutions for some time and since I know from Twitter and Facebook discussions that this topic is of interest, I thought I’d share my findings.

A bit about my skin and body chemistry

I have sensitive, fussy skin all over my everything, though my pits are relatively hardy. No breakouts or rashes from any deodorants I’ve tried, natural or unnatural. (Or supernatural.) I am naturally both sweaty and smelly, and even an hour without some sort of underarm product will lead to a locker-room-y odor. That said, I do not sweat through my clothes unless it is beastly hot and do not smell strongly unless I’ve worked out hardcore. Just sharing this to give you a baseline of comparison. If you don’t tend to sweat/smell, some of what failed for me may be perfect for you. If you sweat/smell more, my favorite find might not be strong enough for your needs/preferences.

What I tried

  • Trinknitty made me some of this stuff. It just plain didn’t help my stank that much, and definitely didn’t curb sweating.
  • Weleda Citrus Deodorant Spray: Man, I’m a sucker for citrus scents and this stuff smells amazing. It only does that, however, when I am sitting stock-still in a cool room. I still spray it in my pits sometimes just so I can walk around smelling orange-y. For five minutes.
  • Several Tom’s of Maine solid/sticks. My armpits LAUGHED SO HARD at these.
  • Same for two now-discontinued Body Shop options.

Why I love the crystal stuff

  • So we’re clear, I’m using the Crystal Essence roll-on pictured above. Can’t say it smells super lavender-y, but I’m OK with that. I remember trying the Crystal stick stuff ages ago, and it didn’t work AT ALL for me.
  • I hate to say this, but wiping a cream into my pits with my fingers? Not my favorite. The roll-on format is quick and easy to apply.
  • I can get it at the grocery store. Or the drug store.
  • It doesn’t cost a bundle. Around $5.
  • For me, it works. Unless it’s unbearably humid and I’m jogging,* I don’t sweat a ton and I don’t smell at all. And for the record, when it IS unbearably humid, when I’m about to hit the gym for a serious workout, or when I know I’ll be super nervous (TV and press appearances, etc.) I switch back to a traditional deo/antiperspirant. I love my crystal, but it doesn’t work 100% of the time.

Brands I’ve yet to try

  • Soapwalla gets RAVE reviews from everyone I’ve talked to.
  • Kiss My Face has gotten a few thumbs up from friends and colleagues, but I haven’t sampled it yet.

And there are many, many more options out there, including concoctions you can make at home so you can be absolutely certain they’re totally natural. I’m delighted to have found a formula that works with my unique body chemistry, but, of course, there’s no guarantee it’ll work with yours. I tried the other options because trusted sources stated that those formulas worked fabulously. And for some people, I’m sure they do! As with as any cleansing or cosmetics routine, I can only say this works for me, not that it will work for all.

Naturally (PUN!), I’d love to hear from all of you about your deodorant preferences. Anyone else seeking natural options that work well? Which brands and scents have you tried? Made any from scratch? Do you feel like the various studies about aluminum, parabens, and other potentially harmful ingredients are conclusive enough to make regular deo and antiperspirants feel perfectly safe? Or do you sweat/smell enough that nothing natural will ever work and you’d rather just stick to the products that do? Share your thoughts and resources in the comments!

* OK, OK, I don’t jog. Walking quickly? Walking quickly away from someone who makes me nervous?

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for alreadypretty.com. See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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