Dear Chic Steals,
I have a couple pairs of cigarette jeans I’m wondering about…the leg opening is 14″ just to give you an idea.  What should the ideal inseam length be for wearing them with heels?  Do I want the jeans to cover as much of the shoe as possible (i.e. as long as possible?)?  Or should they just cover the heel of the shoe?  Or should they not cover any of the shoe?

Thanks for your help in my never-ending quest to figure out what length to hem my pants to…

Fabulous reader Emily emailed me with the above question.  And what a great one!

First of all: What are cigarette jeans?  Are they different from skinny jeans?

Well, somewhat.  Technically the cigarette jean (also called the “straight leg jean” sometimes) is cut straight down from knee to hem to end at about a 14″ – 15″ leg opening; the skinny jean tapers to the ankle somewhat to end at a 12″ – 13″ leg opening.  Just a single inch can make all the difference in the world!!  (And I mean nothing lewd by that, promise.;-)  I just mean how the hem sits above your heel – see the below for an example:

Skinny Jeans vs. Cigarette Jeans. 
(Bubblegum Gel-Back Stretch Skinny Jean, $34.90 [$29.67 with discount code]; Hot Kiss Lacy Stretch Straight-Leg Jean, $49.90 [$42.42 with discount code], both at
This is a pair of straight-cut jeans with a 17″ leg opening, just for comparison purposes.  
(Silver Jeans Lola Relaxed Stretch Straight Jean, $82.90 [$70.47 with discount code],

(By the way,  here’s the discount code: JAN15A, entered at checkout, to receive 15% off your entire order, through 1/27/2010.  Or use A15AFF for 15% off until 2/4/2010.  And use 2075A for $20 off your order of $75 or more until 2/4/2010.  AND get Free Shipping on orders over $25 with FREE25A until 2/4/2010.  Whew!  That’s a lot of offers – though I’m not sure how many can be combined at once.  If anyone tries them out at, please let me know!)

Anyway, my personal view on where to hem the cigarette jean is that it depends what look you’re going for.

For instance, if you’d like to your jeans mostly in a casual ensemble, and you wear alot of flats – then the hem of the jeans probably needs to hit about 1″ or so above the bottom of your flat.  More and the jeans will bag and look sloppy from the front; less and they’ll look like you’re wearing jeans that are just too darn short.

The right length for casual chic.

 At this length you can also cuff the bottoms by rolling them up once, and wear with a heel and look city cool without any effort.

If you plan to wear your jeans mostly with heels – then put on the pair you will wear them most with and have them hemmed so the hem falls halfway up the height of the heel.  (The hem will therefore be just a little too long to wear with flats – it will be dragging on the ground when you walk.)

Refined glamour.

And finally, if you want to go for a more trendy, youthful look, then a hem length that is your normal inseam + 2″ or so will create a bunched-up effect at the bottom of your jeans.  (You can probably still cuff them though the cuff will be way larger than the previous example.)  I personally like the bunched-up effect because I have wider thighs and I
feel more volume at the ankle balances me out.  But then I can’t wear those jeans with flats because it just looks too sloppy!

(Joes Jeans Cigarette Jean, $158 [$126.40 with promocode SALE20 20% at checkout], 

How about the wrong length to hem your jeans to?

With a 14″ leg opening, these 7 For All Mankind Gwenevere Hook-an-Eye Jeans ($198, are way too short in my opinion.

Some people like this “pedal pusher” look and you see it alot on runway models…but in real life I think it looks like your jeans just aren’t long enough. (Like you borrowed your little sister’s jeans or just experienced a growth spurt or something.)  Unless you’re 12, no go!  (Tho one commenter mentioned capris in a lighter-weight fabric for summer…and that I’d say yes!  But I believe the capri-length pant/jean should actually be shorter than the pants we’re seeing to the left…by about 3″!)

Best of luck finding that perfect length that looks fab on you!  (It’s a process:-) 

If any other lovely reader out there has any styling/trend/fashion questions, feel free to send them my way!  I’d love to help you out!




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