Capris, or cropped pants, are a just-right choice when the weather is changing, or when it's hot out but you don't care to wear shorts. They can be casual like shorts, or styled into dressier outfits, so their versatility is alluring to women across a variety of lifestyles and personal aesthetics. Capri pants, though, have a reputation for being unflattering on all but the tallest or trimmest figures. While cropped pants do present styling challenges, we prefer to think of those challenges as opportunities! If you want to wear capris but have avoided them out of concern about how to select and style them to your advantage, we are here to help. Let's examine how to choose the right capris for you and then to style them for maximum flattery to help you look and feel your best as you try out something new. With a little guidance, capris could be your new favorite this summer.
Capri pants are now defined as pants that end above the ankle, which means that if you're looking for capri pants you might see everything from pedal-pushers to clam-diggers to ankle pants! This is the reason capri pants are considered difficult—what length should they be? And can't that make your legs look awfully stubby? The short answer is: yes, it can. But it won't if you choose the right length of your cropped pants.
If you are very tall, have exceptionally long legs, or are an actual model, feel free to get back to online shopping. Pick a cute top and you're set! But for the rest of us, we need to consider where on our legs cropped pants will hit. Capris are best worn either on the shorter or longer side. The key is to avoid "cutting" your leg line at a spot that makes you appear squat. Steer clear of capris that fall at the fullest part of the calf, as this can make your leg appear visually heavy and shorter than it is. We advise you to try on several variations of capris, and to consider simple tweaks as you do. See if cuffing cropped pants takes them from an "ehhh" to a "wow!" The difference between the two might literally be less than a single inch. Your goal is to find the sweet spot that looks breezy-yet-polished.
The cut of your cropped pants will affect how they work for your frame and figure immensely. The cigarette pants famously favored by Audrey Hepburn were part of her elegant charm, and they worked perfectly for her petite dancer's figure. The cut of your capris should enhance the balance of your figure. For example, if you have the muscular shoulders of a swimmer, you might like the look of a wide-leg capri that equalizes the volume at both ends of your body and avoids the "ice cream cone" effect so many professional stylists have warned against. This does not mean that, as another example, a plus-sized shopper with a lot of booty must wear a wide-leg cut to balance her figure, but it does point her in the right direction—a straight-leg is likely to be more flattering than a skinny-cut. We're not here to tell you what to wear; we're here to help you discover what makes you look and feel your best.
The fit of a pair of cropped pants is especially important, because a poor fit can mean that your capris sag or slide down the hips, making the leg hang lower than it did in the dressing room. Are you right between two sizes? Consider the fabric of the cropped pants you select; will it stretch out over the course of your day? There is a good argument for going with the smaller size to keep your capris securely at your waist and the leg line just where you want it.
Take a hard look at the features of the capris you like. Does the zipper placket pull, or do the pockets gape open? You may like the next size up better, or perhaps a different pair of cropped pants altogether. If you're looking for dressy capris for evening wear, look for those with a higher waist and side-zip to achieve an extremely traditional, polished capri silhouette. The design features on a given pair of capris can make all the difference as to how good you feel wearing them and their versatility in your wardrobe.
This is where we get to the nitty gritty of how to style capris for any body type. Once you find a great fitting pair of capris in the perfect length and the right cut for you, how do you put together a terrific outfit based on your new cropped pants? We can offer you tips on creating the most flattering ensembles, no matter your shape or size.
Because shortening the leg line of your body is a concern when wearing capris, you might consider a monochromatic outfit. For example, if you choose white cropped pants, wear a white tank or cami topped with an open button-up. The effect of the white capris and a white shirt is a long line creating the illusion of height. An open button-up or perhaps a cardigan will provide color and flair to your outfit.
Anything you wear with capris is an opportunity to create a longer visual effect. Wearing a casual capris-and-T-shirt outfit? Add a long necklace or long scarf to emphasize the vertical line. Consider your shoes; while ballet flats and canvas sneakers are generally adorable with capris, try an espadrille with a slight wedge heel for height, or nude sandals that extend the leg line. These options are still comfortable and appropriate, but may help you feel more pulled-together and confident in your capri pants outfit.
Capris are an excellent choice during transitional weather, and make an attractive alternative to shorts in summertime. Since the 1950s, they have become a classic staple in women's wardrobes, and we are confident you can make them work beautifully for you. With a bit of care in selecting the right cropped pants for your frame and figure, and attention to styling to maximize their potential, capris may become your new favorite warm weather go-to!