Gentlemen, This Is How You Roll Pants

Attention men in and around New York, who are not employed as bike messengers: You and your rolled (or cuffed)

Attention men in and around New York, who are not employed as bike messengers: You and your rolled (or cuffed) pants have become part of a sartorial “epidemic” and now the New York Times had to call you out for it.

Judging by the number of bared ankles appearing on the streets this summer, the rolled cuff look of 2009 appears to have become the rolled cuff epidemic of 2010. Legions of young men, including ones who are not bicycle messengers, are rolling up their pants legs to such high-water lengths that one is tempted to inquire where exactly the auditions for the Huckleberry Finn revival are being held. A style born on the shores of the Mississippi has been reinvented for the streets of Bushwick.

Bushwick! The trend is attributed to Thom Browne and fancy boat shoes that demand to be showed off–or maybe, offers the author, it’s just the heat. Unfortunately, most of you are probably not doing ‘the roll’ correctly.

Some don’ts:

No formal shoes. No rolled-up skinny jeans. No wool pants – the rolls won’t stay. No bootleg pants, which should be burned anyway. And since rolled pants are meant to look casual, nothing about the outfit should be dressy, at the risk of looking too studied.


Getting the roll right is harder than it looks, and the experts differ on technique. Mr. Julian suggests rolling one inch of cuff three times for cotton canvas trousers, and a single two-inch cuff for dark jeans.

For slightly looser pants, like chinos, Mr. Peskowitz advises creating a peg by pinching the fabric slightly at the front during the rolling process. Starting from the bottom, you flip once, making as small a fold as possible, then twist the front of the pants leg by about an inch, then roll twice more while holding the pinch tightly. The pleats should stay in place.

“You want to make sure that both are pointing inward – for the left side, fold it to the right. For the right, fold it to the left – to stay symmetrical,” he said. “I just figured that out a couple of weeks ago.”

And if all else fails, just think, WWJDD. “You have to channel Johnny Depp for that moment and ask yourself, ‘How would Johnny Depp roll up the bottom of his pants?’ ” offered Jim Moore, the creative director of GQ. Gentlemen, This Is How You Roll Pants