Raw hem jeans, nostalgia, and how to get an on-trend pair of jeans for zero dollars

links + loves

When I was in high school, I was very particular about what I wore. I was in beauty school during my junior and senior years (doing beauty school and high school at the same time) so my world was very fashion, beauty, and “image” focused.

The trends went from biiiiiiiig and baggy jeans in middle school to flare jeans in high school. The bigger the flare the better, in my mind. I loved to cut up my jeans and make them more unique. I would take the hem out which led to me stepping on the backs of my jeans all day but it was worth it to look ultra cool. The worst was when you stepped on the hem so much that you wore a hole, and then one side of the hole got detached so you would just drag this 6-7 inch piece of denim behind you all day. TELL ME I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE THAT SUFFERED THIS WAY?!

I would remove the pockets from the backs of my jeans, and in one case I thought it would be awesome to sew the pocket on the bottom of one side of my jeans, in the back. I literally do not know what possessed me but I did it and I felt pretty proud of myself.

Then I finally snapped out of it and stopped mutilating my clothes with scissors and a sewing machine…

Until yesterday.

You may have noticed that “raw hem” jeans are back in style and I’m pretty happy about that trend. I actually really like how streamlined the jeans look at the ankle, and they are pretty dang perfect for ankle booties if you ask me.

So I tried on this pair at LOFT which were so close to perfect but just 2 inches too short. Then I considered ordering the “tall” version of those jeans and just cutting off the extra inch I knew I wouldn’t need, which led me to thinking about the current jeans in my own closet.

If it’s just a raw hem, why wouldn’t I just lop off the bottoms of one of my super long pairs of jeans?

And that’s exactly what I did. I found this pair of Paige distressed denim from Nordstrom Rack (similar to this style) a few years ago but they were stupidly long. Like, beyond too long. I actually took them to my tailor and had them taken up a few inches, but I stayed pretty conservative with the length because I didn’t want them too short.

As it turns out, the only way I could wear them was folded up at the bottom. And that was all fine but I really didn’t loooove that look.

So I grabbed some scissors and cut off about 2 inches and now they are perfect.

My booties are from DSW and one of favorite purchases. They are super comfortable and easy to wear, I think I’ll wear them constantly this fall and winter. My nail polish is Style Stunner by Essie Gel Couture.

p.s. Another cute option of distressed black skinny jeans, and flat booties that would go with any outfit.   


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Andrea says · 08.07.17

I like this trend, too. I have shorts and crop jeans with the raw edge. I haven’t been crazy about how they look once they’re washed. The hem gets all fluffy. So, when I bought another pair of raw hem jeans, I put fray check around the raw hem. That helped it keep it’s original look,

Chrissy says · 08.07.17

OH MY GOSH! You just inspired me! I have a pair my husband got me that are SUPER comfy from loft- but he neglected to get petite. They’re getting cut!

Kendal says · 08.07.17

Those jeans look amazing on you!! I never thought to cut the legs to give it a raw hem… I’ll have to try it out!

Kendal // Life With Kendal

Stephanie says · 08.07.17

You did not have appropriate flares in high school if they didn’t have a hole on the back hemline from being stepped on all the time. lol . I totally relate. I think you and I are about the same age (I turn 31 tomorrow) so I remember those days extremely well.

Although, I never fully left the flared jean trend; they just make my legs look too good. I’ve never fully embraced the skinny life.


Sara Hollister says · 04.28.18

I was in high school in the late 90s, college from 99-2003. My favorite piece of clothing was my oversized overalls. I got them from Old Navy, normally I’d be a medium-large, but for some reason I got an XL. Of course they are super baggy and really long, there is about 3-4 inches of my hems dragging on the ground, the wide legs and hems totally hiding my shoes. I still own them and wear them at least a couple times a week, and it seems like my hands are constantly grasping the excess denim on each of my thighs, attempting to hitch the legs of my overalls up when I’m walking. My jeans are all really big and baggy also, but I can’t help it. I’m 5’3″, and either the length is comically too short, or the exact opposite. So I get the big ones, and to be honest I don’t care how the hems look anymore. I’ve given up and just walk on my hems, being careful to not trip on the 5″ piece of frayed denim trailing behind my overalls when im walking.

Diana says · 08.07.17

Can you do an Instagram of exactly where to cut so they fall on the ankle at the right place please? Ready to cut but need to see where is best!

Kathy says · 08.07.17

What’s going to happen when you wash them? Will they fray and look bad? I’ve got several pairs of pants I’d love to do this too, but I’ve been afraid of the what will happen when I wash them.

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog says · 08.07.17

I’m getting into DIYing AND budgeting so this is great! Can’t wait to experience with your tips!

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

Kristina says · 08.07.17

Ha I have been thinking about doing this to my jeans that are too long too – they turned out perfect! I unfortunately was a tall girl in middle/high school and could only dream that my jean hem would one day be long enough for me to step on it 😉

Kristina does the Internets

melissa says · 08.07.17

Similar comment to previous posters — if jeans have a raw/frayed hem, I immediately say no to them. When I buy something I’m generally looking for something I can wear for years (probably too many years) and the thought of a fluffy poofy hem appearing in 1-2 washes just depresses me.

Amy says · 08.07.17

See above! Use hem glue, and the hem won’t fray in the wash. 🙂

Paige says · 08.07.17

I love this! I totally need to do this to a pair of my old jeans for the fall!


MaryEllen says · 08.07.17

Brilliant!!! (heading upstairs to my closet with a scissors)

Corina | Now THAT I Can Do, Mama! says · 08.07.17

Awesome idea! I love it when a trend makes our lives easier :-p

margaret says · 08.07.17

name of bootie?

Katie H. says · 08.08.17

I just did that this weekend! I found the comfiest jeans that were about 4 inches too long. So off they went!

Megan says · 08.08.17

You cracked me up with the flare leg nostalgia! Throwback to high school for me too!
Here’s a tip for anyone looking to try this at home– if you want a more visible frayed look, try cutting them with the “ragging” scissors used to make rag quilts! It’ll look more like when you buy pants with a frayed hem

Calvin Soto says · 08.09.17

That’s an interesting idea. I have a lot of jeans in the closet, and now I just need a pair of scissors to make them perfect. Oh! You are so smart.

Erin says · 08.09.17

I’m not sure the best avenue for you to read my comment, but I just went to Target last night and thought of you! I bought the CUTEST booties that they literally were just unboxing them to put on the shelves. I would share the link but they’re not on the website yet lol. I bought the other booties last year that you mentioned from Target and these ones are JUST AS CUTE but a dark grey! Score! So excited to wear them. I wear my other cream color booties ALL THE TIME in the fall/winter!