Capri Pants: In or Out?

On Friday, I wrote a fashion post about alternatives to shorts, for ladies who don’t care to wear shorts in the summertime and were looking for other casual alternatives. I mentioned in that post that I no longer wear capri pants, which created some curiosity in the comments section. Several of you asked why I no longer wear capris and if they are out of style.

Personally, I am not a fan of capris — at least, capris as I think of them — where the hemline falls somewhere in the mid-calf region. Although I definitely participated in the trend during its heyday, I never thought they were particularly flattering, and lately I have started to feel like they look dated. These days I opt for cropped pants or boyfriend jeans, or I just wear a skirt or shorts. When I want the look of a cropped pant, I like to cuff my regular jeans like this.

Fashion for Women Over 40: Capri Pants vs Cropped Pants and everything in between!

But I know that a lot of women who live in warm climates swear that capri pants are a “must” for surviving the summer heat. I was curious about the current party line regarding capri pants, so I did a quick Google search. As you would expect, opinions are mixed.

I also asked over on my Facebook Page, and of course there are always a few who pipe up and say we should all just wear what we want to wear and who cares what anyone else thinks. Well, yeah, I agree in theory, but I want to wear clothing that is current and on trend (and of course flattering) so I do consider what is in style and how to wear the current trends appropriately. Judging by the popularity of my fashion posts, I will assume that many of you do too.

The first thing we need to clarify is, what is a capri pant?

I know the term can be a catch-all for any pants that are longer than shorts and shorter than, well, pants. But when I say capri pants, I am thinking of the pants that cut off in the middle of the calf. In fact, if you look it up in the dictionary, it says this:

capri pants: definition

However, when you go online to shop for pants, you will find capri pants a catch-all for cropped pants, ankle length pants, pedal pushers, and of course capris.

I think it is safe to say that capri pants, like every trend, ebbs and flows. They aren’t necessarily out of style, but the style of capris has evolved. Just like blue jeans, some capri pants are “in” and some are “out” so paying attention to style and cut is key.

Here’s my personal list of Capri Pants Dos and Don’ts.

Capri Pants Dos and Don’ts

Don’t wear capri pants that are baggy or hang straight.

DO wear capri pants that are tapered and create a slender line of the leg.

Don’t wear capri pants that end at the widest point of your calf.

DO wear capri pants that end between your calf and ankle, where your shin starts to curve.

DO wear capri pants that end above the calf. I consider these pedal-pushers, but they fall under the umbrella of capri pants, I suppose. Incidentally, this length is better with flat shoes if you are on the shorter side.

Don’t wear boot-cut capris! (Anyone remember THAT trend? It didn’t last long.)

DO wear capri pants with heels. This helps elongate the leg and make you look slimmer. Wedges are great for this. If you wear flats, make sure they flatter the outfit and your body type.

Don’t wear capri pants with an elastic waist unless you are slender enough to tuck in your shirt without creating bulk around the middle. (I steer clear of these, but some ladies can pull them off.)

Don’t wear cuffed capri pants unless you are tall enough to pull them off.

Do consider what you wear on top. Make sure the proportions work for your body type.

What is in style now is more of a cropped pant rather than a traditional capri. Call it what you will, but use the rules above to make sure your summer pants are flattering and fashion forward!

So, what do you think? Do you wear capri/cropped pants? What would you add to my advice?

For more fashion inspiration for women over 40, check out all of my Fashion posts. Or better yet, sign up to be emailed my weekly fashion & beauty digest with a recap of the week’s fashion & beauty posts.


Fashion for Women Over 40: Capri Pants vs Cropped Pants and everything in between!