One of the most important decisions when purchasing any type of bottoms concerns hems. Following the main event, so to say, which consists in finding a pair that suits your liking regarding cut, fabric, color or wash, comes the stage of minor (or not) necessary alterations. Unless you’re buying made to measure trousers, you’ll most likely need to have them tailored: at the very least, lengthwise. We all try to find that “perfect pair”, but these kind of tweaks are usually required and “predicted” by manufacturers (slacks are usually offered without hems and jeans have extra fabric at the bottom).
Besides the initial cuffed/uncuffed dillema, one must decide on the suitable length and amount of break - regarding slacks, I prefer them cuffed, with little to no break - but when it comes to more casual alternatives such as chinos or jeans, I find this to be one of the toughest calls one has to make. Especially since your choice feels much more final and irreversible than with slacks, where usually hems safeguard about 3cm of fabric on the inside or you can simply uncuff them for the extra length; if you choose to crop your jeans and have the original hem sewed in, there’s no extra fabric there, which means no margin for error.
I hadn’t purchased jeans in a while, but recently I got a couple of bold colored ones and found myself struggling with this issue. As with every choice you make, you should weigh the pros and cons prior to your decision; here are a few things to consider:
1 - Roll or no roll
Deciding on whether or not you’ll want to roll them up, is a great way to help you get going. No matter the way you like to roll them, doing so will require extra fabric; the amount will depend on how high you want the roll to sit. If you’re going to sport this look play it safe and leave them a bit longer;
2 - Have them taken in
If you’re considering highly cropped jeans, at the ankle for instance, take into account that that is the slimmest part of your leg. So, if you take a pair of straight leg jeans and crop them at the ankle line, you’ll end up with bell bottoms. That being said, consider taking them in 1cm or so from the shin down;
Some jeans will feature factory made hems which tailors/seamstresses cannot reproduce; they can, instead, reattach them at your desired height. This allows you to preserve the original aesthetic and integrity of your jeans, but will be pricier than a regular hem and you won’t have any extra fabric left;
Original hem (left) vs regular hem (right)
4 - The right shoes
If you’re going for a more traditional look, with the jeans covering a part of your shoe, make sure you’re wearing a bulkier model (such as a brogue) when you have them marked. This is most important for slacks but also applies to denim;
Being sure about the end result is a lot different than having a brainstorm of ideas which you won’t be able to accurately express to your tailor/seamstress. Do some research, check out streetstyle blogs or websites and know for sure; you might even show them a pic of what you’re after;