Capris are Tricky – Here’s How to Wear Them With Confidence

Deborah BolandIf you’re about to give up on capris because you think they make you look frumpy, there may be some truth to that.

Capris have a terrible reputation for a reason. They interrupt the length of your silhouette, and can make your legs look stubby. (If you are short to begin with, the effect is multiplied.)

Having said that, I don’t suggest you abandon this cool summer alternative just yet. Capris can look slimming, modern and chic. It’s all about finding ones that flatter your figure and pairing them with the right things.

Fashion Stylist Chantelle Collier has put together some tips and style boards to show you how to look fabulous and feel confident in capri pants.

capris over 40
Do’s and Don’ts for Choosing Figure Flattering Capris

Getting the proper style and fit can make a world of difference to how capris will look on you.


  • Don’t wear capris that end at mid-calf, the widest part of your lower leg. This is highly unflattering.
  • Do wear capris that end, where your shin starts to indent – between your calf and the ankle, is best. This is the narrowest part of your lower leg; the part you want to emphasize.
  • *(This perfect length will vary depending on the woman, so it’s worth it to take your pants to the tailor and get an expert opinion before you hem)


  • Don’t wear wide leg capris because they will accentuate the break line of your silhouette and make you look stubby.
  • Do wear capris with a tapered or straight leg to create the longest and sleekest look.


  • Do choose capris with a higher waist if you have short legs. The high waist will draw the eye up and make your legs appear longer.
  • Do balance a short torso by choosing mid-rise capris which visually lower your waist.


  • Don’t wear capris with bulky details such as an elastic waistbands, big side pockets  drawstrings, and large cuffs These all make you look frumpy unless you are very slim. (Heavy cargo capris with lots of detail add pounds)

capris pants over 40 DO’s and Don’ts for What To Wear With Capris

SHOES ( very important when wearing capris)

  • Don’t wear flat shoes if you have short legs, or you will look stumpy.
  • Do wear a heel or wedge to elongate your exposed calf.  A cute summer sandal with either a heel or wedge is a great option. Or, if you need a more comfortable shoe, try a colorful kitten heel.
  • Do try a nude colored shoe. A shoe the same color as your skin will give make your legs look longer.


  • Do stick to tops that skim the top of your capris if you are short, to give you the illusion of extra leg.
  • Don’t  be afraid to wear longer tops if you are average height or tall. Just make sure your capris are tapered. Capris or ankle length cropped pants looks perfect under a flowy tunic or a short dress. red capri pants over 40COLOR AND PATTERN
  • Do choose neutral colored capris such as black, navy gray and taupe and accent with pops of vivid color, like a pair of bright yellow heels, to look modern and fresh.
  • Do be careful about combining bright pants with bright tops and bright accessories, as you run the risk of looking too loud. Instead, mix bright red capris with a white button-down and classic black pumps for an eye-popping, classy look.
  • Don’t wear capri pants with large patterns if you are petite and don’t wear capris with small patterns if you are large or plus size. Keep things balanced.

DO give capri pants a try this summer!

The Capri pant makes a fabulous and comfortable summer option that can be versatile. Just be sure to think through your look to maintain a long leg and sleek silhouette.


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  1. Joan Saladino says:

    Thanks for this advice. I like the first ensemble and redd capris.

  2. Red pants for me, they are gorgeous ;)

    Bisous from France,

    *-* Sand. *-*

  3. Kym Gabrielle says:

    You have given me some great ideas and inspiration for wearing some of my clothes in a new way. The ones that I love but have just been shoved to the back of my wardrobe, as I love them and cannot bear to throw them out, but keep thinking what on earth will I wear these with. Thank you.

  4. I just found your website this morning, after determining that forget frumpy, I am tired looking! So I have decided to reinvent myself! Starting with a new look for Spring this is a perfect start….thank you for all the great advice available at this site.

    • HI Alice,
      I am so glad you found F40! I was at dinner last night and a friend said something profound…” You can not be the person you want to be if you continue to be the person you are.” It’s encouraging to think about that and how we can put that in practice! Welcome to the group and I hope you enjoy being a part of it!!!


    Thank you for giving tips on how to look fabulous after 40. Now, I know how to wear capris!!!

  6. This was a really useful post. Thanks!!

  7. Coleen Spackman says:

    Thank you sooo much for tackling this subject. I have just started working on my summer shopping list and I appreciate you posting articles like this so I can be in fashion and ahead of the game!
    Thanks, Colleen

    • Hi Coleen,
      Glad to be of help. It is good to hear that are planning what to buy. It helps to have in mind what you should be looking for and what to you really need so you don’t buy on impluse.
      Good luck and stay tuned for more tips like these~

      • Sandra Duncan says:

        Deborah–do you think colored skinny jeans will be in style another year? I have so many pretty colors, and they are so versatile, but I don’t want to wear them if they are passé.

        • Hi Sandra,
          They’re still in style, but I’m seeing a trend towards less loud colors. So instead of bright red, I’m seeing more oxblood or instead of bright purple, I’m seeing eggplant. Don’t throw out your brights yet, just tone them down with neutrals like black, gray, cream etc.

  8. Thanks so much for your website! I had a baby in July and since then I’ve lost 40 pounds and I needed a new wardrobe – but since I turned 40 right after he was born I didn’t know what to look for – now I check your blog before I go shopping! I’m still getting used to the idea of being 40 – but I love that I can look fabulous!