The comeback: Peg-and-roll pants

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

KATIE HOLMES is on a roll. Tom Cruise’s better half was bumming around downtown L.A. a couple of weeks ago, wearing loose, boyish jeans that she pegged and rolled, teamed with a pair of strappy stilettos.

That’s right: The puffy, peg-leg ‘80s profile we never thought would come back is with us again -- and we’re not even snickering. Girls in East Side bars, fashion publicists in Beverly Hills and style leaders such as Holmes are doing the peg-and-roll, creating a silhouette that’s relaxed at the top, slouchy even, with an above-the- ankle crop that shows off a killer pair of shoes.

It feels right partly because denim has been decidedly buttoned-up recently, with hard-to-wear skinny jeans or flat-front, trouser styles. The peg-and-roll is all about ease. It doesn’t hug the form -- it grazes it. Which doesn’t mean it’s easy to pull off.


Los Angeles stylists-turned-designers Emily Current and Meritt Elliott ar leading the charge with their new label, Current/Elliott. The line sells at Neiman Marcus and Intermix for $149 to $282. But the new Boyfriend style, a slouchy jean that’s cut like a Levi’s 501 at the top, and is sold pre-rolled and already has a waiting list.

“There’s an effortlessness to the cut that’s really difficult to achieve in bottoms -- especially lately,” Current says.

Here, the designers fill us in on how to roll with the new silhouette.

Proper proportions

Before you roll, choose jeans cut straight and loose through the leg but not wide (and never M.C. Hammer baggy). Look for a men’s fit -- a worn-in pair of Levi’s 501s or soft cargoes are perfect. “They should sit low on your hips,” Current says. “They should be sexy and slinky, not big, baggy weekend jeans.”

In the fold

Key to the silhouette is the tapered leg. But if you don’t have tapered jeans (and who does?) and don’t want to tailor your bottoms, you can resort to the old junior high school practice of self-tapering (“Bring it back, I love it,” squeals Current). Just hold your pant leg taut, fold a section over the ankle, then tightly roll up the whole package. Just be careful not to taper pant legs so severely they look like they’re glued to your calf.


Make it a double

“We like a very messy thin roll, rolled twice so you see a little above the ankle,” said Current. Pants should look as though they were hiked up to go wading through a stream.

Body talk

Because the silhouette sits low on the hips and is cut loose, it works on both curvy and straight bodies. But the petite or short-waisted should opt for a slightly less pegged roll, so proportions aren’t so extreme.

Top it off

Skintight men’s tank tops, oversized T-shirts, frilly blouses -- rolled jeans can be worn with most anything. But the silhouette looks best when the waistband is showing -- so get tucking.


The extras

Because the pants are meant to hang on the hips, a cool belt is key to keeping them in place. Stylish options include raw leather, vintage-looking belts for day and skinnier, patent leather belts for night. The boyish look also lends itself to “more feminine, statement jewelry,” Current says -- anything from long strands of pearls over a Hanes T-shirt to bunches of rhinestone brooches pinned to a tuxedo jacket lapel.

On your feet

Shoes are so bold and outrageous right now, and this jean shows them off.Gladiators, ballet flats and pumps (ones that cover the vamp of the foot work especially well) are all on the menu with rolled jeans. But leave the ankle boots in the closet, or you’ll risk looking like a Keebler elf.