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Why Do Jeans Bunch at the Knees? (5 Solutions)

Women wearing jeans experienced denim bunching at the knees due to a lack of elasticity
Over time, jeans start to bunch at the knees - but why?

Even though some gen Z’ers might disagree, I love my skinny jeans. They’re sleek and easy to style. Except, of course, when the knees start to bunch and throw off my outfit completely—annoying! Luckily, I’ve found out why and how to solve this common issue.

Jeans bunch at the knees if the material gets stretched after being bent for a long time, if they’re ill-fitting, or if the denim is worn out from over-washing or wearing. To prevent bunching, you should choose the right denim and care for it properly. Ankle bands, belt, boot clips, or tucking can also help.

3 Reasons Your Denim Jeans Bunch

Here’s a breakdown of the common reasons why excess fabric forms at the knee, so you can identify the problem you’re having. Then, we’ll talk about all of the ways to fix it!

1. Your Denim Jeans Lack Elasticity

If you’ve dealt with baggy knees in jeans before, you know that sitting down for long periods can stretch out the denim so that it bunches up when you stand up. But did you know that certain denim blends do this more than others?

100% cotton materials, like no-stretch denim, will not stretch as much as elastic fabric blend denims, but they also won’t “snap back” into place when you stand up. If you wear skinny jeans made of non-stretch denim, not only will you be less comfortable, but they’ll also stay baggy at the knees once your stand up.

Not only are elastic stretch denim blends better at snapping back into place after sitting down, but they also keep their shape for longer, even with washing.

2. Your Jeans Fit Poorly

woman wearing well-fitted jeans to minimize bunching denim
The right fit will help prevent bunching
Both too-large and too-small jeans can cause the knees to become baggy.

Tight jeans will bunch at the knees because even bending your knee slightly while walking will inadvertently stretch the jeans out. Relaxed cut or properly fitted jeans have more room around the knee to allow you to bend without stretching the fabric.

Too-large jeans will also bunch at the knees because they’ll be baggy throughout the leg.

3. Even the Stretchiest Denim Jeans Wear Out Over Time

Denim can be easily worn out through overwearing or improper care. Machine drying, washing on high-speed cycles, or wearing over and over with a lot of bending can all cause the denim fabric to break down.

How to Prevent Denim Jeans From Bunching at the Knees

Now that you have identified the reason behind the bunch at the knees, here are the best ways to prevent it:

1. Buy Higher Quality Denim – It Should Last For Longer

Premium denim fabric will help prevent even skinny jeans from bunching at the knees. The elastic construction of materials like TENCEL™ Lyocell will help your jeans bounce back after bending.  Lots of sustainable denim brands make jeans with organic fabrics like TENCEL™.

Choosing cheap, low quality jeans might help you save a few bucks at first, but you’ll spend more having to replace them again and again once they lose their original shape after only a couple of wears.

If you want non-stretch denim that won’t bunch at the knees, make sure you’re paying attention to the weight of your jeans. Heavier weight denims will not stretch out as much after being bent.

2. Get The Right Jeans For Your Body Shape

Because both too tight fitting jeans and too loose skinny jeans can cause bunching, it’s important to wear jeans that fit properly. When purchasing jeans, you can do a quick test to tell if they fit correctly.

To ensure your jeans fit properly, do a quick squat! If they do not allow you to squat all the way down, they are too tight and will bunch at the knees after sitting. If they start to slide down your butt as you stand up out of the squat, they are too loose.

3. Consider Switching Out Skinny Jeans for Regular Jeans

Skinny jeans and other tight fitting jeans are the most likely to have excess fabric bunch around your knees after sitting. Try out looser fitting or purposely oversized jeans for a fashionable solution.

4. Better Care Will Help Your Denim Last For Longer

It’s important to care for your jeans to prevent them from losing their original shape through over-washing and over-wearing.

Many people throw their jeans in with the rest of their laundry into both the washer and dryer. This can cause your denim fabric to break down thanks to the hot water and air.

Follow manufacturer’s instructions and wash in cold water on a gentle cycle or they might inadvertently stretch.

4. Use Ankle Bands, Boot Clips, or Belts to Solve Baggy Knees

women uses hidden boot clips to stop jeans from bunching at the knees
Boot clips help prevent jeans from bagging at the knees - and can be easily hidden

There are quite a few tools you can use to reduce baggy knees:

  • Ankle bands wrap around your ankles outside of your jeans to keep the stretch denim fabric from riding up to bunch at your knees. They’re best if you want to wear boots without having your jeans bunch above them.
  • Boot clips are similar to ankle bands but can be more comfortable if you want to wear boots that are tighter fitting or lower cut.
  • A belt at your waist can also help prevent bunching, especially on oversized jeans in combination with ankle bands or boot clips. A vegan leather one is especially great because it’s stylish, sustainable, and long-lasting.

5. Cuff the Bottom of Your Jeans

The last solution to baggy knees while wearing jeans is strategic cuffing. This is a great method when you notice bagginess after sitting for a prolonged period and have no other way of dealing with it. 

Simply fold about an inch of the hem of your jeans up towards you while pulling down on your jeans. You can cuff twice or three times if there’s a lot of excess fabric at your knees.

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