Let’s Talk About Straight-Leg, Step-Hem Jeans

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Hey hey…new jeans! I’m officially a jean collector now…I cannot resist a good pair of denim. It’s kinda crazy, but I’m here for you…to try all the jeans and find the best. And these are good. I still love my skinny jeans, for sure, and boyfriend jeans have their place, but these. They are so versatile! (And don’t worry, they’re not cropped flares.) They are a straight-leg, step-hem jean.

The leg is a nice departure from skinny jeans but isn’t too wide and the uneven hem is a little unexpected and interesting. The shorter cut in front shows off ankles in a flattering way but the longer back hem adds versatility and is totally leg-lengthening.

The best thing about this style? You can wear it with heels AND flats with no cuffing or adjusting! (Happy dance).  How great is this for travel? Yesss. These will be coming on my next trip. (To Florida! I’ll get to wear with sandals!!) Ooh, and for those of you trying to do a capsule wardrobe? These would rock that.


Another great thing about this style is that it is the easiest DIY to apply to any straight-leg jean. The important thing is to get them the right length for your legs, but once you do you’re set. I’m here to help. The front hem is most flattering if it hits just above your ankle bone (especially for us shorties). On my pair, the back hem is 1 3/4″ longer than the front. I tried it on this older pair of jeans I had and I love it.

For the DIY, I just measured from the crotch of the jeans down to where I wanted the front hem to hit above my ankle (you can measure your leg obvs or just use another pair of jeans that are the right ankle length). I marked that length and then used a seam ripper to take out the seam up to that point on both sides (I just ripped the actual jeans on the side of the double seam on the inside of the leg). I then trimmed across with scissors for the front hem. Next, I measured 1 3/4″ below that to mark the back hem and trimmed that with scissors. Voila! DIY step hem jeans.


Gray Top – Abercrombie & Fitch Cozy Cold Shoulder Sweatshirt – This is the only cold shoulder item I own…and I adore it. It’s fleecy cozy, but still a little ooh la la. It’s definitely opening me up to the idea of trying more tops like this!

Jeans – Pilcro Parallel Mid-Rise Hi Lo Straight Jeans – Love them. The rise is perfect and not too high. The wash is a nice in-between faded and dark. I feel like I was so ready for a different type of jean in my wardrobe and I think these will be a great option. True to size. Wearing a 27, for reference.

Heels – JCrew Lana Calf Hair D’Orsay Heels – I love love these. I don’t wear many heels, but when I do…these. Fit true to size and stay on your foot really well.

Cami – LOFT Strappy Cami – Love these camis. I have the ivory one in a S petite and this is a S regular. I like the length of the petite one on me better, but this will be great with my faux leather leggings.

Ankle strap flats (Old) – but these are kinda close and super cute with the gold ankle straps. I adore a black flat with a lighter color ankle strap for leg lengthening (haha and check out this post reader Shana did long ago! Omg, Sienna.)

DIY Jeans – Old AG, but these are a similar wash.

Leopard flats – Old Sole Society – I can never find a good replacement for these. I’m so sad they stopped making them. These sandals are a similar print style which I love but I’m also dying over these calf hair sneakers.

Shop Straight-Leg & Step-Hem Jeans


And, um, I’d like to introduce you to my new photographer. She’s a little vertically challenged, but she did a way better job than I did the day before with a remote. Omg. Dying. She was so great. #momblogger

(If you wanna see more Sienna, follow me on Instagram @elletrain)


Peace and jeans,



About Author

Meet Laura! She's a reader turned contributor and we couldn't be happier to have her as part of the team. Her fun, creative style is, as she says, "somewhere between Madewell and Joan Jett" (YES.) and she delivers some mean dressing room selfies so keep an eye out for those. Fun fact? She loves getting her haircut and we love to see what she has up her sleeve.  

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  1. See now I love it! It gives the jeans a cool, edgy vibe great job and great tutorial because I know a lot of people have been asking how to do this…looks good mama!!!

  2. Love this and love Pilcro jeans! I got a pair of Pilcro side slit skinnyish ankle jeans from an Anthro sale last year and didn’t like them (they were slightly loose and kept sliding down so they felt too long and frumpy) until I did the step hem hack and now they are in my regular rotation!

  3. Okay your little girl behind the camera…Perfect! Never heard of Pilcro denim–will check em’ out. That’s what I love about this blog!

  4. I actually really like these! (Although I am not a fan of the cropped hemmed ones like other commenters mentioned, that’s the beauty of fashion – I can take some and leave some.) I’m excited to DIY a pair with a step hem this afternoon. If I hate it, I can always slice off the back to make it even. But I think I’m going to love it! Thx.

  5. There is no way I can get behind this trend. It looks like a little kid got ahold of your jeans and went to town with the scissors.

    • I am thinking maybe a touch shorter in front, maybe 1/2″ and then see how the back compares. All jeans slide down on me so I think they inch their way down while I’m wearing them. It’s a tricky balance to find juuuust the right length!

  6. I like them on you! I went to Target earlier today, and saw a woman I would estimate to be early 60s rocking a pair of jeans similar to the ones in this post!

  7. I wanted to try this look last spring when Shana mentioned it, or linked to an article about it- so I bought some thrift store jeans to try it out on first. Loved it, but my husband kept saying it looked like my pants got caught in a bike chain (I told him it’s called fashion! 😅)

  8. I love the sweatshirt, and think it may be a good intro to cold shoulder for me. What size are you wearing? I haven’t worn Abercrombie clothes in… 18 years? (Ha.) They used to have total vanity sizing, and I wonder if it is still the case.

    • Hahaha I know. I haven’t either until now! This top is so great. I’m wearing a small and I’m typically a 4-6. I found their jeans to run small but it seems their tops are pretty true to size now. I’ve only tried a couple but in this sweatshirt I’d say go with your typical size.

  9. Sienna the Photographer is just priceless! … I think you nailed the look and the DIY, and since I can’t do boyfriend jeans (look awesome but yuck, they feel like diapers and just give me heebie-jeebies) this is a great skinny-ish option.

  10. Cute look! And I also have that sweater (in burgundy, but seeing you in the grey makes me want it in grey as well … ) and I LOVE it also ! So cozy, and also my first “cold shoulder” top, and I’m kinda loving it!

  11. I love this outfit on you! So much so that I ordered the top and I’m ready to push the button on the jeans. Quick question: Do you feel like the jeans are more of a skinny jean vibe, but with a straight ankle? That’s what they appear to me and what I’d prefer rather than a straight down the whole way from the hips and looser look. P.S. Your photographer is ADORABLE!

    • Haha thanks, Kerri! She loved it so much! And yes, I do think they’re more of a skinny fit with a wider ankle rather than a true straight jean all the way down. The leg fits slimmer than some true straights. Hope that helps! Youll love that top! It’s so cozy and bares just the right amount of skin!

  12. Absolutely love this trend. It’s edgy. At 56 I would rather push myself outside of the box fashion-wise, than give up or play it safe. I have done 2 pair as a DIY. Now my 26 yr. old daughter and friend want to come over and have me help them with a pair.

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