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How to wear cropped pants

Categories: bottoms


Lauren recently tried on a pair of cropped pants at Banana Republic “and they fit great,” she wrote, “but I didn’t get them because the length seemed weird. Like they’re supposed to be ‘flood’ length? They hit basically at the top of my ankle bone. How would I wear them so I don’t just look shorter?”

J. Crew Stretch Twill Minnie Pant, $79.50

Cropped skinny pants are a classic look — think Jean Seberg in “Breathless” or Audrey Hepburn in “Funny Face.” As minimalism makes a return to the runway, the skinny pant — sleek, slim, understated — is also back.

But how do you wear it?

A slim cropped trouser should hit just above the ankle bone, as the pair Lauren tried on did. Typically, your ankle is the slimmest part of your leg, so a trouser that falls just at this point will highlight that. The trouser legs should fall straight from the hip, with no tapering. Skip cuffs and zippers and notching at the hemline — you want a leg that is clean and simple.

Pair your cropped trousers with a simple ballet flat or driving moccasin. Keep shoes light and open; even though Hepburn and Seberg do it, pairing a heavy loafer with a slim trouser is tricky. An open flat highlights your slim ankle and makes your leg look longer and thinner.

For a super casual weekend look, wear your cropped trousers with a lightweight tennis shoe or flat espadrille. I have a pair of leather Keds that I love, both because they’re super comfortable and because they’re easy to keep clean and white. TOMS makes great flat espadrilles, perfect to pair with a fitted tee and cropped pants.

For an edgier, more dressed up look, pair your cropped pants with a heel. But keep the line on the shoe clean and sleek, too. Chunky platform sandals are everywhere this season, including paired with cropped pants, but that look can be difficult to pull off; a very heavy shoe can make your legs look stumpy. If you want to go with a substantial wedge or sandal, choose one in a neutral color — or in a shade that is similar to your skin tone.

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3 comments so far...

  • I’m still unsure about cropped pants. But, you’ve never led me astray before. Armed witht his article, I might give them a chance. Thanks.

    elz  |  April 20th, 2010 at 6:06 am

  • Thanks so much for this post! I’ll have to go back to Banana and look at those pants again. And maybe a pair of flats to go with them.

    Lauren  |  April 20th, 2010 at 8:39 am

  • I just ordered some Michael Kors cropped tuxedo pants and I can’t wait to wear them. Such a lovely, classic trend!:)

    Great post!

    Kaleigha  |  April 20th, 2010 at 12:04 pm