What do you call this problem when your pants, especially jeans, look like sticking out in the front and look as if there is a pillow on their knee part? (As if it has taken the shape of the knee.)

I don't mean "to be worn out", "to get folded or creased", or "to get faded". Unfortunately, I don't know how else to describe it, I mean exactly the way it is shown in the following picture (by arrow).

For example:

"I don't like it when my jeans ____(at the knees)."

enter image description here

  • 4
    A side note: Normally people wouldn't say, "I don't like wearing jeans when..." That makes it sound like you're going to take the jeans off instantly if they bunch up like this. Normally, you have to keep wearing your pants, even if they get uncomfortable. A better way to say this would be, "I don't like it when (my) jeans get bunched up at the knees." The "my" is optional. If you don't like the way it feels when your jeans bunch up, then you would want to use "my". If you think it looks ugly on everyone including yourself when they bunch up, then you can leave the "my" out. May 27, 2016 at 14:51
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    Just to clarify, if you like the knee bags answer best, you could say "I don't like it when (my) jeans get/have knee bags." *Getting knee bags would imply that knee bags form as the jeans get older, and so you want to replace your jeans with new ones as soon as knee bags form. Having knee bags is less specific and just says that you don't like knee bags at all, and you would prefer jeans didn't look like that. May 27, 2016 at 15:01
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    You could also do a web search for each phrase in an answer and see if and how it's used. Some phrases are very specific to certain groups of people. Like maybe all the high school kids are saying "knee bags" these days and you are also in high school and planning a trip to the USA. Or maybe you are working with some programmers located in various countries and talking about clothing when taking a break and they would better understand bunching up. The votes are helpful but only you know the exact context and situation you will be in. May 27, 2016 at 15:06
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    Crinkle sounds pretty good to me
    – james
    May 27, 2016 at 17:17
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    In Bradbury's 'The fox and the forest' a fugitive who has travelled back to 1938 Mexico is given away to his pursuer because when he sits down he doesn't lift up his pant legs to stop them from getting bags in the knees, a habit unnecessary with the stretch-fit clothing of 2155.
    – philipxy
    May 28, 2016 at 11:28

6 Answers 6


I would suggest "bunch up". When clothes are said to be bunched up, it means that the material is folded up, usually in an uncomfortable or unsightly way, instead of lying flat.

Here is an example of an image search result for "bunched up jeans":

enter image description here

  • Can I use "bunched up" for all types of jeans or only 'tight jeans' as it is shown in this picture? I think the problem in the picture in my question is slightly different with this one. :)
    – Soudabeh
    May 27, 2016 at 16:28
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    @Soudabeh I think it applies to any jeans. and other clothes as well. They don't have to be tight.
    – hobbs
    May 27, 2016 at 16:34

I have to disagree with one of the other answers: "knee bags" are not actually a thing. (As in, I've never heard anyone use that expression, and it sounds vaguely disturbing — like a disease, not an innocent description of clothing.) It's not the word choice, though, but the ordering: I'd describe the pants in the picture as being baggy in the knees, or having baggy knees.

I don't like wearing jeans when they get baggy in the knees.

  • 1
    And I'm now thoroughly semantically satiated with respect to "knees"; it looks like a totally meaningless collection of letters.
    – Marthaª
    May 27, 2016 at 14:11
  • My doctor told me I have knee bags. There's no cure.
    – Mitch
    Oct 5, 2016 at 21:46

I don't know if there is a standard term for that, but I would call it a bulge, or say that the jeans bulge out at the knees.

(To prevent that from happening, by the way, when you sit down you should grab the fabric above the knee and hitch it up an inch in order to create some slack so that there will be less strain on the fabric.)

  • Thanks a lot,@dangph, I searched the "knee bulge" and found similar pictures. Great help! I wish I knew which term is used more by native speakers, ( knee bag or knee bulge?). :)
    – Soudabeh
    May 27, 2016 at 4:50
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    @Soudabeh Bulge is a good description, but not "knee bulge" (dangph's suggested usage "jeans bulge out at the knees" is fine).
    – Lawrence
    May 27, 2016 at 5:02
  • Oh, I see. @Lawrence. First I searched "bulges in the jeans knee" and saw "knee bulge" in the results. like: supertalk.superfuture.com/index.php/topic/…, and: answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20130807185926AAmvync. So I thought there is "knee bulge" phrase too, (and then searched images for "knee bulge" and found similar pictures). :)
    – Soudabeh
    May 27, 2016 at 5:07
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    @Soudabeh To me, bulge as a noun sounds better on its own. However, if someone said "knee bulge", the meaning would be clear.
    – Lawrence
    May 27, 2016 at 5:12
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    @Lawrence I would be careful about using the word "bulge" when referring to trousers.
    – yo'
    May 27, 2016 at 14:11

Those are called knee bags. Many people have problems with them but sometimes they are considered cool.

enter image description here

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    @Soudabeh You could say "I don't like wearing jeans that have knee bags".
    – user173450
    May 27, 2016 at 4:42
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    @Soudabeh Never heard it, but I guess you could use it. Also take a look at this: reddit.com/r/rawdenim/comments/1e8gme/those_knee_bags
    – user173450
    May 27, 2016 at 5:42
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    @Soudabeh and I've never heard them called 'knee bags' (which sounds like what happens to thigh bags if they go south), only 'baggy knees' or 'bagging at the knees' - google.co.uk/webhp#q=trousers+bagging+at+the+knees&tbm=bks May 27, 2016 at 10:14
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    Lifetime native-born American English speaker here and I've never heard the phrase "knee bags". Based on how phrases like that are usually coined, I would actually assume "knee bags" refers to bagginess of actual knees (the part of the body) and not bagginess of clothing around the knee area, if I heard this phrase. I definitely hear "bunched up" a lot, when it comes to clothing. May 27, 2016 at 14:47
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    I upvoted this answer in the belief that it was an "in" term used by a younger generation. I myself would have have said "baggy around the knees", but I can see how such a phrase could be shortened and become knee bags. If a clique of people use this expression and understand its meaning, it then spreads and eventually becomes idiomatic. So, could you please support your answer with some references?
    – Mari-Lou A
    May 28, 2016 at 5:35

When clothing or fabric is supposed to fit snugly but instead hangs loose unintentionally, as if it's lost its tightness, it can be described as sagging.


The jeans are bagging at the knees. "I don't like it when my jeans bag at the knees"

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