How Capris Work

how to wear capris

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.

Consider contrast


left | right

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.


left | right

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


left | right

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


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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!

Top images courtesy Nordstrom left and right

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Reader Request: Work Badge and Cell Phone Solutions


Sarah sent me this question:

I was wondering if you had ever written anything on being stylish and having to wear a work badge. I work in an office (business casual, more business than casual). I like to be stylish. Or if you have written anything on having to keep a work phone with you at all times. I don’t have to keep a work phone, but know that others may have to. How do you keep a work phone with you if you are wearing a dress that has no pockets or place to clip a phone?

The men in the office have it much easier. Most of the time they have a belt loop they can clip their badge to. I’m lucky if I am wearing pants that have belt loops or pockets. I prefer dresses and skirts. So there are many times there is no where to clip my badge, so I have to wear it on a lanyard around my neck like a necklace. So then I cannot wear a necklace. Any ideas on how to keep badges/cellphones with you and stylish?

SUCH a great question. I’ve used a variety of keycards and entry passes for my various jobs, but have never been required to keep one on my person at all times … so I’m going to offer a few possible options and ask all of you to contribute more ideas! I’m sure many of you face this same challenge and have creative work-arounds to share.

First, my ideas:

Track down a stylish lanyard

If you’ve got a keycard or ID badge that needs to be on your person at all times and you’re allowed to do a lanyard, grab one from Etsy that looks more like a necklace. (There are some cute clips in there, too!) This may limit your necklace-wearing, though my guess is that environments where keycard lanyards are commonplace mean that the keycard/lanyard combo is oftenlost to familiarity. So you could try wearing a shorter strand or bib higher on your frame and the long lanyard further down. It might even be worthwhile to pick out a few lanyards that align with your personal style, especially in neutrals and metals so they’ll be as versatile as possible.

Experiment with wrist options

Plastic coils are typically used for keys, but a keycard might work in some cases. Since most folks can’t type while wearing a coil and card combo, this is something you’d need to remember to take with you when leaving your workstation. But it would certainly free you up to wear any clothing and necklace combinations you liked while also helping to keep your card on your person.

Explore belting

As Sarah points out, the fellas have one up on us when it comes to this type of work gear because they’re typically in pants. Belted pants. But dresses and skirts can be belted, too, and phones or badges can be clipped to belts. And, of course, adding a belt to your trouser outfits will help. Naturally, this won’t work every day since belts don’t belong in every outfit … but when it does work, it’ll be slick and easy.

Try a phone case with a strap

If a phone is required and clipping it to belts or clothing won’t work, keep your eyes peeled for one of the tiny crossbody bags that’s been designed to hold a phone and nothing more. Some mobile carriers might have these in their stores among the phone cases, but you can also try eBay and Amazon as well as local boutiques. Wristlet purses might work for this purpose, too. Not as sleek as a clip on your belt or pants, but definitely do-able.

Not much, but that’s all I’ve got. Help Sarah out with some other suggestions, won’t you? If you are required to keep a keycard, badge, or phone with you at all times, how do you do so stylishly?

Image courtesy Katy Warner

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Gracey Wears: Vintage Eye Print

One of the many, many things I love about second-hand shopping is that you can find some great prints among the Goodwill racks.  All of my favorite florals, some great paisley and some wonderful fruit prints have come from second-hand stores.

Also from a second hand store?  This vintage, eye-print blouse:

Fashion for Giants outfit featuring vintage eye print shirt & white pleated midi close up

Yes, those are big blue eyes staring back at you.  Here’s a close up so you see them in all their mildly creepy glory:

vintage eye print shirt close up

Pretty great, right?  Or at least weirdly great.  And I got it at Goodwill for about $5.00.

And, not for nothing, but I also got this pleated skirt from Goodwill:

Fashion for Giants outfit featuring a vintage eye print shirt, white pleated midi & yellow t-strap sandals

Prints like this blouse are the most fun for me because no one is ever quite sure what they’re looking at.  I had someone guess “bunnies” before they realized they were sideways eyes.  I think she liked the idea of a bunny motif better, but I love a shirt that gives people the side eye.  Keeps me from having to look all disapproving myself.

What about you, Reader Friends?  Are you a fan of odd prints?



Get the Look

Eye print tops (here, here & here)

Similar pleated skirt

Similar platform sandals (here & here)

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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