5 Ways To Feel Confident In Cropped Wide-Leg Pants

Wide-leg cropped pants are the latest trend, but how do you wear them and not look frumpy? Sure, they look fabulous on the runway, but they can be pretty intimidating to wear in real life.

The worry is that since they end way above your ankles and they’re voluminous unless you are tall, skinny-minny, you will look short, dumpy, and as wide as a house. How do you wear this tricky trend?  Here are five style tips to wear cropped, wide-leg pants and jeans with confidence.

wide leg pants cotton

1. Choose Structured Pants

Structured wide-leg cropped pants that fit flat and snug across your tummy and hips will be the most flattering. Spanx makes a great pair with no zipper or buttons up the front, so no bulk. You pull them on the way you would leggings, and because they hold everything in, you get a shapely, smooth look. I own a pair of  Spanx wide-leg cropped pants in mauve ( see photos), which is the trendy color this season, but they also come in almond, white, and green.

Style Tip: Cropped Wide Leg Pants come in various lengths. Most gals look best in ones that are approx 2″ above your ankle bone.


wide leg cropped pants blush

2. Tuck in Your Top

Proportion is important when it comes to looking good in cropped wide-leg pants. If you wear wide, loose with these pants, you risk looking boxy, heavy, and frumpy.  Highlight your waist by tucking in or half-tucking in your top.  You can also wear a top that ties at the front or side of your waist to create a shape.

Style Tip: If you wear a long sleeve top with wide-leg cropped jeans, you will look more sporty and youthful if you roll or push up your sleeves.



Wide Leg Cropped pants Polka Dots

3. Ease into the Trend with Neutrals

If you are concerned that wide-leg cropped pants like culottes will make you look bottom-heavy, consider that dark, quiet neutrals such as black, blue, gray, taupe, or black are more slimming than light or bright colors. For example, a  pair of black wide-leg cropped pants with a white top is a no-risk way to try out the trend. Neutrals are also considered more elegant. 

Style Tip: According to Vogue, flowy, wide-leg crop trousers may be voluminous, but they should be “kicky.”



wide leg cropped denim jacket

4. A Jacket is Flattering

A short jean jacket or leather jacket is a great way to style crop wide-leg pants. A cropped jacket does two things. It adds instant authority and makes your shoulders look broader, thus balancing out the wide bottom half. You get more of an hourglass shape rather than looking bottom-heavy.  Many women are now wearing jackets with cropped dress pants to work. It’s a combo that has been dubbed the modern work uniform.

Style Tip: Wide-cropped jeans are easier to wear than wide-leg cropped dress pants because most are slimmer through the thighs and legs and only wide across the bottom.


Wide Leg Cropped pants Blue Tie

5. Wear Heels

What kind of shoes should you wear with wide-cropped pants?  

Wide-leg, cropped pants look best with heels.  Heels elongate your legs and give your outfit a more upscale look. You can wear dressy pumps, but casual stacked heels or wedges look great and are easier to walk in. If you prefer flats, wear flats with a pointed toe or show more skin (like a strappy flat sandal) to look tall and slim.

Style Tip: A nude shoe, or a  shoe that is the same color as your cropped pants, also will elongate your legs. If you wear a shoe in a contrasting color, it visually cuts your legs in half, which you don’t want, since cropped pants already shorten your legs.


More wide-leg crop pants and jeans here:


That’s the latest round-up of wide-leg cropped pants. Prefer long, wide palazzo pants? Check out this post.

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31 thoughts on “5 Ways To Feel Confident In Cropped Wide-Leg Pants

  1. I wear them. I’m old and fat, and I look great in them, and I don’t care what others think. I’m happy:)

    1. Hi Donna, No problem. Tall boots are okay with these. You can wear a similar color as the wide-leg cropped pants for an elongating look or try contrasting with a different color like winter white culottes with tall black boots.

  2. The suggestions were excellent. I am 5”, with 112 labs and over fifty. I love the look of cropped, flowy pants. I bought two beautiful silk-cropped jumpers that tie at the waist and have wide legs that hit the lower calf. I am pairing it with a strappy wedge to explore NYC in July. Thank you for the great tips

  3. I’m 4 feet 11 inches; I love them. And I don’t care what people think.
    But, then, my entire height is pretty much leg, so…

  4. Call me crazy, but I love this style of pants! I am 5′ 7″ and 140lbs and wear them with heeled boots, booties, and pumps, and dress them in tennis shoes. Have them in black, navy, cream, and houndstooth. I pair them with a fitted top, jacket, or wrap.

    Agreed, the style is not for everyone, but I am always complete when wearing these; maybe it’s because they make me happy!

  5. Even though I need to lose some weight, I am very excited about the return of the wider leg. I am over 5′ 10 and enjoyed them in the 1970s! Crops are great for summer. But are casual sporty shoes out with these? I see the white Adidas coming back as a trend also…

    1. Hi Mary, You can wear flat sporty shoes like sneakers with short wide crop pants, but I much prefer something with a bit of height to elongate your legs. A low wedge sandal would give you that diminutive size you need.

  6. Nope, no, no way. This look is not flattering on anyone except those who are tall, slender, and have tiny waists. This trend will not last. I’m glad to see higher rises and waistline definition, though. Think Audrey Hepburn. Classic, comfortable, feminine, and realistic for active lives, especially for bicycle commuters!

  7. I so wanted these to work! I ordered the gray pair in the post from J. Crew. Not even close! My daughter said they looked like clown pants. Oh well. I think you need to be much taller than my 5’4” for these to work.

  8. This has got to be one of the WORST fashion trends for a long time. These pants are not attractive in any sense of the word!

  9. I am tall, reasonably slim and have great legs (the one thing I am sure of), but I will not wear these trousers. There are things in a fashion which are not flattering. Sometimes I don’t care, but this time I do. Wide long trousers OK, wide cropped trousers no.

    1. Agree! They also look awful if you have a longer torso. It makes your legs look short. I could never wear cropped pants when that was in fashion, either.

  10. This trend is fantastic! I am 48 years young and recently bought a pair. I love the look and feel. I bought a black pair from the Banana Republic and will wear them with a couple of wedge booties and a crisp white button-up. It looks modern and fresh—something to have fun with.

  11. Eeeeeeeeeeeegads! Yuck!! Tents for legs harken back to the ’70s. Not a fan of any wider-shaped pants. They are unflattering. BTW, can we not recycle over and over and over again? Evil fashion.

  12. The only women I have seen wearing them are sales assistants in shops. I think these trousers will be a one-season trend as they are not universally flattering and best avoided by older women.

    1. Hi Susan, I have to agree with you. I think they look chic if you are tall, slim, and have a kind of “fashion-forward confidence,” but on the average middle age gal …. tough to wear. A flash in the pan, I’d say.

  13. Seriously, we called these “gauchos” when I was in Jr. Hi. Fun to see them again, I think I’ll skip them this time around though. They were cute on a 5’3″ 13 year old…not so much on me now. :) (Even WITH nude pumps.)

      1. Nope, not for me. At 4’11”, I would look like a tree trunk/very dumpy. I don’t remember liking them when they were called gauchos back in the ’70s, and I don’t want them now. More appropriate, perhaps, for a tall, slender-framed person.

    1. You’re right, Christy! I remember having a pair of these “gauchos” in junior high! I think I was the only girl in the whole school with a team. After I wore them to school several times, I realized they probably were not such a great look.

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