4 Ways To Make Skinny Jeans Cool Again

Photographed by Megan Madden.
It's no secret that we at Refinery29 have been longtime proponents of non-skinny jeans; we've repeatedly rounded up our favorite pairs and we even went as far as designing our own. But if we've learned anything from rooting so valiantly for alternative denim silhouettes, it's that there are truly two distinct camps when it comes to jean styles: You're either with us or you're totally Team Skinnies.

Still, even those of us who have crossed the threshold and embraced the world of wide legs and cropped flares have that pile of skinny jeans sitting in our closets — its hard to deny how handy they are for travel and how they fit nicely into your favorite calf-height boots. But what about all the other occasions we wear denim? (Believe us, there's a lot.)

Since every pair of jeans you've invested in deserves equal treatment, it's time to give your skinnies a long-overdue makeover, whether you wear them on the regular or not. The four DIYs ahead will give new life to your pants. Click on to see how it's done, in GIF form.

Special thanks to Levi's for providing the jeans for this story.
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Photographed by Megan Madden.
The Backwards Asymmetrical Hem
We have Vetements to thank for the street style-approved asymmetric raw hem, where the front part of the jeans is shorter than the back. We switched it up for this pair and made the front longer than the back with just a few easy snips.

The Frankie Shop top; Levi's jeans; Cole Haan shoes.
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Photographed by Megan Madden.
First, cut the bottom of the jeans off. Then, open up the side seams of each leg with a small seam ripper, which you can find at your local craft store. You should open the sides to the point where you want the shorter hem to be.

Pro tip: Try the pants on first and make a mark with a pencil to better visualize where each length will fall.
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Photographed by Megan Madden.
Using your scissors, cut only the back part of the pant leg straight across. Simple as that.
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Photographed by Megan Madden.
The Pocket Cutout
Add some interest to the typical medium-wash skinny jean by taking scissors to the pockets for a peekaboo effect. If you don't want to show bare skin, they're great for layering over fishnets or other fun tights for fall.

Aritzia sweater; Levi's jeans.
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Photographed by Megan Madden.
This one's pretty simple: Start at the corner of one side and cut around the edges of the top portion of the pocket (no need to cut down into the actual pocket) until you can take the entire piece of fabric out. (Note: Fabric scissors are best for cutting denim). Repeat on the other side. Feel free to clean up the edges once you've created your cutout or keep them a bit raw and jagged.
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Photographed by Megan Madden.
Like the asymmetrical hem, cut off the bottom of your skinnies and use your seam ripper to open both side seams of both legs up to however long you want the fringe to be. Having the fringe start at the top or middle of your ankle is usually a safe bet.
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Photographed by Megan Madden.
If you look closely at your jeans, you'll realize the fabric is made of horizontal white threads and vertical blue threads. The goal is to remove each horizontal thread, one by one, leaving only the vertical threads hanging — those will become your fringe.

The first few white threads will slide out pretty easily. From there, use your seam ripper to make sure to remove all binding seams and loosen the tougher, horizontal threads. Continue to pull and pull (and pull) the horizontal threads (yes, this is where that Law & Order: SVU marathon comes into play) until you reach the stopping point you created and are left with a long, lovely, and photogenic fringe.
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Photographed by Megan Madden.
The Fringed Hem
You've probably seen the 3x1 fringe jeans that dominated Instagram a few seasons ago, but we know not everyone has $300 to drop on denim. The good news: You can create your own version at home. Warning: This is definitely the most time-consuming DIY on this list. But once you get the hang of the process, you can do it mindlessly while watching Netflix.

& Other Stories boots.
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Photographed by Megan Madden.
The Pierced Pocket
Another way to add a pocket detail to your pants is by piercing them. We've seen so much of this trend over the past season that we decided to try it for ourselves. Find some metal hoops at a craft store (we found ours in the jewelry-making section) or even the hardware store. Make sure they're ones that can open and close without too much trouble.

Reformation T-shirt; Uniqlo sweater.
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Photographed by Megan Madden.
Use the seam ripper to poke a few holes along the edge of the pocket you're trying to pierce. Open the hoops slightly, slide them into the holes you created, and close them tightly. Embellish with as many (or as few) as you desire.

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