So. It’s a cropped-pant world we’re living in, friends, and there are many different styles going under many different aliases. I defer to Angie on nomenclature – see her posts on clamdiggers, capris, and walkshorts, as well as her guide to pant length – but we definitely agree on this: Capris are pants that hit below the knee and above the ankle. In my opinion a true capri is shorter than an “ankle pant” which, unsurprisingly, hits close to the actual ankle bone. The two shown above are good examples of capris, hitting solidly mid-calf.
Cropped pants of all kinds monkey with our leg lines and overall proportions, so they can feel tricky to wear. But they are also cooler than full-length pants and a longtime summer favorite. So here are my suggestions for making capri pants work.
Many capris hit at the widest part of the calf, which means they visually widen that part of the leg. Choosing a capri in a color that creates high contrast with your skin tone will make this illusion even more pronounced.
Opting instead for a color that creates low contrast with your skin tone will make the break softer and the line less broken-feeling. Naturally, you don’t need to wear capris that are nude to your skin tone! Something in the same color range – pastels, tan, lighter denim for pale skin and olive, navy, darker denim for dark skin – will work marvelously. Prints and patterns can work well, too, as they sometimes create the illusion of a softer break. And if you don’t care? Don’t sweat it. This is a tip that only applies if leg-elongation is a figure flattery priority for you.
Choose your shoes with care
Many capris are very casual, and flats are a natural choice. However, if you worry about shortening your leg line, opting for a low wedge or heel can make a huge difference. If any kind of shoe height is a deal-breaker, think about contrast again. The black flats on the left are very dark against the model’s pale skin. A tan flat in the same style would be less severe and allow the eye to travel further down the leg line. Consider vamp, too: High-vamp shoes like sneakers, oxfords, and ankle-strap sandals will chunk up your leg line sooner than low-vamp shoes like ballet flats and pumps. And again, these tips are most helpful to those who wish to elongate their legs!
Be aware of leg style
Again, casual capris are ubiquitous and many of them feature straight legs or wide legs. This gives them a casual feel, but since they’re ending mid-calf they also create the illusion of a larger overall leg shape. Slimmer capris feel more formal – and may feel too formal for your capri-wearing preferences – but they also create a slimmer overall silhouette, in many cases regardless of your own build or leg shape. Not a concern for you? Wider styles are often considerably comfier, so go to.
Sensing a theme? Most women I’ve spoken to about capris have wanted to know how to wear them without making themselves look shorter or breaking their leg line, so that’s what I’ve focused on here. As always, none of my figure flattery advice posts should be considered gospel, including this one, and I fully expect you to read them with a grain of salt. Style “rules” are merely guidelines, no matter who is dispensing them. I trust you to use your judgment. And I trust you to take what applies to you, discard the rest, and assume positive intent.
Are you a capri wearer? Do you favor a slimmer or wider leg? What shoes do you pair with your capris? Ever considered the question of contrast? Let us know in the comments!
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