How to Wear Capri Pants and Cropped Trousers

Many of you have written to ask, Are Capris still in Style? The answer is, Yes, they absolutely are. Capris are a great type of casual fashion for women over 40, but there are a few styling tips you’ll need to know to get just the right pair.

Guest Contributor, Image Consultant Imogen Lamport has these Top Tips for How to Wear Capri Pants and Cropped Trousers.

Imogen: Capris and cropped pants are one of the hardest garments to get right in your wardrobe. As they are present they are everywhere in stores and are one of the current big fashion trends, so they can easily become frumpy and make you look lumpy and stumpy.

A short pants can make your legs look shorter, yet so many women love to wear them, particularly in the warmer months. So how can you wear capris and look long, lean, and stylish?

1. Keep them slim

Wide leg openings make your legs look shorter, so keep them slim for a leg-lengthening effect. Avoid all cropped pants with flared or bootleg openings (or alter them to a slim fit if they’re already in your wardrobe). That’s how you wear Capri Pants and Cropped Trousers!

Capri Pants and Cropped Trousers
How to Wear Capri Pants and Cropped Trousers


2. If You are worried about height, keep the color close to that of your skin

Just like a nude shoe elongates your leg, a cropped trouser in a color similar to your skin tone – stone, beige, brown, and tans, depending on your skin color, will not make the demarcation line between where the trousers end and your legs begin so obvious.

3. What shoes to wear with Capris?

A wedge or flat-form sandal or heel will make up for the length lost by the cropping of the pant. Make that shoe either a low vamp shoe too, or in a nude color so that you don’t further shorten your legs. For a more detailed look check out this post on shoes for capris.

Cropped Pants - Teal Blue


4. Keep proportions between pants and top balanced

We expect legs to look longer than our body, sadly cropped pants shorten legs, so you want to ensure that you don’t further make your body look boxy by wearing a top that is a similar length to your pants. If you have a slim long waist, tuck your top into your trousers and look for a higher waist. If you have a shorter body or wider waist, then end your tops either at your hip bone or go for a longer mid-thigh tunic length top with very slim pants. If you don’t know your proportions and want to, click this link to discover how to measure your body proportions

Proportional dressing with capris
Proportional dressing with capris

5. Capris need to end at the slimmest part of your calves – if you’re tall, that will be below your calf muscle, if you’re petite this may be just below your knee, above the calf muscle.

6. Keep them pocket free – or at most a slit pocket or jeans-style pocket at the waist. Style with slash pockets, cargo pockets, or patch pockets will widen your hips and thighs.
7. Avoid cuffs – cuffs create extra and unnecessary horizontal lines, which will shorten your legs further already. Particularly if you cuff denim, where you see a very different color (the inside of the denim being lighter than the outside).

denim long sleeve with stripe jeans


8. Know your body shape – capris and cropped pants are much easier to wear if you are slim through the hips and thighs.

9. The rise matters – if you have shorter legs proportionally already – then you want to wear trousers with a higher rise and avoid those that sit low on your hips.

10. If you have a curvier bottom half, but shorter legs and worry that a lighter trouser will make it look larger and more obvious, ensure that your top is even lighter or brighter than your capris as this will draw attention up to your face.


Imogen Lamport AICI CIP is a leading Australian Image Consultant and writes the popular blog  Inside Out Style.

She has spoken on stages around the world and has authored 4 books on image-related topics as she is passionate about empowering women to look and feel their very best and believes style is achievable for everyone.

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13 thoughts on “How to Wear Capri Pants and Cropped Trousers

  1. I am so sick of this hideous pant length.! When will designers stop making them? I have never seen anyone, even the tall willowy woman in sports capris or crop pants, not have their legs appear noticeably shorter. Offering solutions to pair them with tops and shoes that will elongate the leg is ridiculous. Why do women keep accepting fashions that no one fashionable would dare to wear?

    1. I, for one, still absolutely love capris in the summer. I have thicker legs with spider veins, and skirts don’t look good unless they’re mid-calf length. Long pants are just too hot in the summer. I don’t care if they make my 5’4″ frame look even shorter; why do we have to try to look tall anyway? Who cares?

      1. I agree. A woman “of an age” doesn’t want to wear shortie shorts, and skirts aren’t sporty enough for some events. A word to designers: Capris — style them, so we WANT them! Super lightweight, hip pockets for sure, slim around the calf and ending between the top and midpoint of the calf muscle. Side ruching welcome, but no tabs! IMHO.

  2. I’m 70 and have a fat tummy; my knees are not pretty. Therefore, I feel capris or cropped trousers would look better.
    I’m 5’5/6, but I would like advice on the type of trousers to get, please

  3. This is a fabulous article. We need more like it that shows us how not to dress (with pictures), then how to dress (with graphics). Thanks so much. I’ve always felt that wide bottom capris were unflattering; I didn’t know why!

  4. Excellent advice. I’m on the short side (5’2″), and Capri Pants tend to make my legs look even faster than they are, but some of your hints counteract that problem. Thank you. Other than that, I love the ease of Capris.

    1. Why bother to wear Capri pants when you have to take measures to “counteract the problem.” The solution to the problem is to eliminate them from your wardrobe. What is wrong with wearing shorts?

      1. Shorts are not appropriate to wear everywhere, i.e., at work. Some people do not like to wear skirts or dresses. I love capris in the spring and summer when it is too hot to wear pants.

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