Crops, Flare, and Bootcut, OH MY: The Ultimate Hem Length Guide

Personal Stylist

Crops, Flare, and Bootcut, OH MY: The Ultimate Hem Length Guide

Proper hem length is too easily overlooked. It’s a tailoring decision that can drastically change the appearance of a pair of pants and elongate your figure. There used to be a cut and dry formula for the perfect pant length, but fashion trends like cropped denim and flared trousers can make things confusing.

Ultimately pant length is a decision that should have less to do with fashion trends, and more to do with personal style and flattering your body type.


Here are a few tips for your next trip to the tailor:

Skinny Jeans

The skinny jean is here to stay, so let’s get it right!  For the most flattering proportion, the hem of your denim should fall about an inch above your shoe. This style is so versatile, they look great with booties, stilettos, platforms, flats or sneakers, revealing just a hint of skin. Make sure your pant leg is tapered to your body the entire length of your leg.

Bootcut or Flare Denim

Unlike our one hem fits all (shoes), skinny jeans, bootcut and flare denim can give you a little more trouble. Your pant leg should sit about 1/4″ above the ground. Seems easy enough, right? Well, it really depends on what shoes you are going to be wearing with them. When tailoring it is helpful to have the shoes (or at least the heal height) that you are going to be wearing most often. If you tailor the pant leg to heals it is impossible to wear them with flats without dragging which can cause damage to the material and look sloppy. 

Do you have a pair of denim that you love, and simply cannot limit yourself to wearing just one type of shoe? The easiest remedy is to buy two pairs and have one tailored to flats and the other for heels.

Now, if it isn’t in your budget to buy duplicates, don’t stress! Judge the best length according to the silhouette. If I am wearing flared denim I prefer to keep the line of my leg long, and wear them with high heels. This creates a leaner silhouette allowing the flare to extend fully, rather than chopping it off for flats making me look stumpy and disproportionate. Bootcut jeans are an excellent option to wear with flats or heals. The continuous leg line allows the eye to travel up the body naturally lengthening your appearance. Whatever shoes you choose to wear with your denim just makes sure they sit at 1/4″ above the ground and you can’t go wrong! This length will keep them from dragging but will give a modern, clean look. Only a peek of your toe should be showing.


A classic trouser can be worn as straight, slightly wide legged or as a suit. They are a more conservative pant to be sure and should be taken up to 1/4″ – 1/2″ above the floor to ensure you don’t step on them. Traditionally there is a “break” that will allow your shoes to peek out. 

Cropped Trousers

These are a great traditional slacks alternative. The cropped pant leg should be tailored to hit the smallest part of the ankle. Because these are cropped and intentionally show a little skin  (like our skinny jeans) these pants are easy to transition between high heels and flats without causing a serious wardrobe faux pas. 


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One Response

  1. […] drag on the ground. The right length will make you look longer and leaner. Check out my  Guide to a Better Hem Length for more […]

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