Spring 2016 Trend to Embrace: Ankle-Length Pants

I’ve been keeping an eye on the spring trends as emails from various retailers land in my inbox. One recurring theme I’m noticing is ankle-length skinny pants and jeans.

LOVING ankle-length pants and jeans this Spring! Spring 2016 Fashion Trends | Fashion for Women over 40

I’ve become a huge fan of ankle-length jeans this winter because they’re easier to style with ankle boots than full-length jeans, and they also tuck nicely into tall boots because they don’t create as much bulk. Cropped jeans have their place in the warmer months, but they’re tricky because they can shorten the line of the leg.

Ankle-length seems like the perfect happy medium. They’re not short enough to shorten the leg line considerably, but they don’t interfere with your shoes. Plus, by showing a glimpse of skin at the skinniest part of your leg (the ankle, of course!) they create a slimming silhouette. I’m officially a fan!

LOVING ankle-length pants and jeans this Spring! Spring 2016 Fashion Trends | Fashion for Women over 40 | NYDJ 'Clarissa' Colored Stretch Ankle Skinny Jeans (Regular & Petite)

Ankle-length pants and jeans usually have an 28-inch inseam (in Regular sizes) as opposed to the 30-inch inseam you find in full-length skinny jeans and pants.

White House Black Market has been touting their Slim Ankle Pants as their new spring obsession. These are great pants for ladies who work in professional office environments. The inseam on these is 27.5 inches.

LOVING ankle-length pants and jeans this Spring! Spring 2016 Fashion Trends | Fashion for Women over 40 | WHBM slim ankle pants

I’m also seeing a similar style on Banana Republic called Sloan Slim Ankle Pants. The inseam is 28 inches, and they also have Petite (26 inches) and Tall (31 inches).

LOVING ankle-length pants and jeans this Spring! Spring 2016 Fashion Trends | Fashion for Women over 40 | BR New Sloan-Fit Slim Ankle Pant

You know me, I’m all about the jeans. AG ‘The Legging’ Ankle Jeans are a modern day classic. I see them all over Instagram in every wash imaginable.

LOVING ankle-length pants and jeans this Spring! Spring 2016 Fashion Trends | Fashion for Women over 40 | AG 'The Legging' Ankle Jeans are hot!

I have them in the Twilight Shredded, and I love the fit. They have a 28-inch inseam and a 8.5-inch rise. The leg opening is 10-inches. You can use these measurements to compare with other brands, if the price tag for AG is out of budget.

Here I am wearing them with my Converse.

Casual Weekend Outfit: baseball, ripped denim, AG Ankle Leggings, Converse Shoreline, Converse All Stars, Chucks | LOVING ankle-length pants and jeans this Spring!

And here I’m wearing them with ballet flats. It’s harder to see how they fall because of the camera angle, but I think you can get the point.

LOVING ankle-length pants and jeans this Spring! Spring 2016 Fashion Trends | Fashion for Women over 40

I also really like my Krista Crop skinnies by Hudson. These say they are a 28-inch inseam, but I feel like they’re closer to 27. They seem shorter than my AG shredded jeans, shown above, but maybe it’s because they have a smaller leg opening. I often turn up the hem, as I did here.

LOVING ankle-length pants and jeans this Spring! Spring 2016 Fashion Trends | Fashion for Women over 40 | Hudson Krista super skinny jeans | Sam Edelman nude ballet flats | Stella & Dot Crosby Hobo

At any rate, I find ankle-length pants to be quite flattering. The exception would be if your legs are short in proportion to your body. Then you may want to stick to full length pants.

Here are some shopping links for you to peruse.


What do you say? Will you be embracing the ankle-length pants and jeans this spring??

Join The Conversation

84 Responses

  1. What is hilarious is that the ankle fit is a normal fit on me. LOL! I do love the look, and I guess I would have to have mine hemmed to get a true ankle fit. Ah, the joys of being 4’11”!

    1. There are a lot of petite options, but at 4’11” – would those even be ankle length on you? It is a quandary! But hey, at least they are making pants that fit you without hemming, right?? 🙂

      1. Yeah, so if I want the ankle length to be ankle length, I would have to hem them!

        I never thought of getting ankle length as my regular pant length. HMM. You have given me some great ideas!

  2. A very timely and informational post. I’m glad to see you are addressing this trend as I have already purchased a few ankle length dressy pants and jeans. I am finding them very easy to style with boots, booties, sneakers, and flats as you have. Thanks for the shopping tips.

  3. I’m definitely a fan too and so glad they’re going to be more widely available. They do end up more like regular length jeans on me because of my height though, but it does make things easier anyway. I just got some Hudson crop skinnies thinking because of the 27″ inseam, they’d be more like ankle jeans for me. What I didn’t consider was the width of the leg opening. They look more like highwaters, ha! Although the fit of the rest is phenomenal (those flap pockets definitely shape a rear!), they just make me look even shorter. Boo. Thanks for referencing the measurements of yours, very helpful!

  4. I love ankle pants. I love styling them with booties and boats. However I can’t wear tennis shoes to work. So I fine that I am needing shoes to wear with them for Spring. I don’t find the ballet shoes or tall heels comfortable. Is there any other type shoe I could wear with them for Spring? The weather is cool here and will be quite sometime before I can pull out the sandal’s. Any suggestions?

  5. I am loving the ankle skinny pants and jeans as well. The length is great and the new colors for spring make me happy. I can’t wait to wear them for work and play. Thanks for showing lots of options.

  6. Banana’s Sloan fit ankle pants became my new fav this winter! They come in petite sizes too so the length is perfect. They are a bit thicker and hold their shape nicely. I have black and navy. I hope they get more colors for Spring! Gap has a nice variety but I haven’t tried them yet. Thanks for sharing! It’s raining here in LA today so I’ll be wearing mine with rain boots ☔️

  7. I loved the departure from fashion yesterday! Even though I don’t watch Survivor I loved hearing about your trip into the city. Brought back many memories of growing up in NJ and taking the train in for the day;)
    As for ankle pants – love them! I bought a couple pairs of “short” jeans this winter just to get the look.

  8. I live in ankle length skinnies. They’re the easiest to wear with boots of all kinds, but also looks great with pumps or wedges. I’m ready to wear some in cute spring colors!

  9. I’m on board too. As you point out, they are much easier with boots and they help elongate the leg. Which I like, since mine are on the short side. 😉 I can’t wear heels very often so having pants – both dress and casual – that work well with a variety of shoe styles is a definite plus. I need some pants for work and I may give those from Banana Republic a try.

  10. I like the look of the ankle pants and would like to try some. It seems a much better look than the flare leg that seems to be popping up everywhere! I want to try some!

  11. Great informative post! Just so you know, I have skinny jean envy….. Like some of the comments already made, I’m loving the ankle pants. Again, I use your style as a “sample”‘ as I like to call it. Then shop in the stores that carry the fit & size I need. At 5’4”, the ankle pant is the perfect for for me. I found a few styles last year in black & navy that were more dressy, they are perfect for church. I also came across a denim pair in the brand that fits me well, but they have have been sold out for a few months now. As I’m carrying that “winter fat” around my middle section & thighs—let’s just say skinny jeans are not even an option! I know my limitations! But you sure look great in them!

    1. I dare you to try them! Are you wearing straight-cut pants, or bootcut?

      Someone posted in our Fashion Over 40 FB group pictures of her in bootcut (her normal jeans) and skinnies (that she had never dared try because she isn’t as thin as she’d like to be) and she was amazed that the skinnies were still more flattering. You don’t have to get super tight skinnies like I wear, but I think a pant that follows the line of the leg is generally more flattering, no matter what your size. 🙂

      1. Oh boy, that dare kills me!! I have 2 pair of boot cut’s that I seldom wear and when I do, it have a pair of boot look shoes that have a narrower toe, not pointy, but definitely not round. 99% of the time I wear a straight leg. I’ve been looking for a slim leg, but only found that 1 pair that fit me well. And I wear flats with those pants. Unfortunately with that extra weight (i like to think of it as curvy!) on me (size 16 ????), I feel the tight jeans accentuate those places I’d like to cut off, I mean hide. And as for a top with a skinny jean, would you suggest a tunic length? Or something that hits mid hip? Me thinks I’m going to have to get on that Facebook band wagon!

        1. Hey Gina, it really depends. You have to play around and try different lengths because it really depends on body shape as much as anything. Even smaller women have to experiment to figure out the best length of top with certain pants. Take pictures of yourself, and look at them – that helps SO much to really see how things fit and how the proportion works. 🙂

        2. A picture? LOL! That’s what I’m trying to avoid! Only kidding. You are so right, I’m going to have to go the selfie route. Next time I have a few minutes to play around with clothes, I’ll do just that. I’m guessing the mid hip may work, I certainly don’t want anything to be sitting on my rear shelf! Something straight & small in texture. Anyone else have my problem? Thank you, as always, for some good insight!

          1. LOL. That sounds about right. Cyndi did a post recently, and she explained that she likes tops that fall just below the hip – the widest part. You don’t want something cutting you off at your widest part – not shirts, and not pants (the calf area).

  12. Well I watched Survivor last night and guess I’ll be hooked for the season! The ankle length is something I’ll try for spring. Glad Banana has tall, since I’m 5’9.

      1. I was not happy with how the vote went, either. Heartless! Now, about the ankle pants…I feel a little strange wearing them in the winter because of the bare skin in the cold. Other than wearing them with boots, what do you recommend? I’m in my mid 50’s and feel funny going bare ankles when it’s freezing outside.

        1. I don’t think they’re great for winter. If I do wear them, I usually tuck them into tall boots. Sometimes if it’s not terribly cold, I’ll wear them with ballet flats or ankle boots.

  13. Can tall women wear them. I am 5’10” and fear I will look like I am wearing floods. Love the look on you however.

      1. I’m 5’9 and I wear them. I love the look with flats or sandals. They also look very smart with heels. Find them in tall and you’ll love the look. Reitmans carries tall.

  14. As a GA girl that knows nothing about taking the train to NY for a day, I enjoyed reading about your trip. You deserve a day off, just like the rest of us.
    A love my skinny jeans and feel so much better in them, especially with extra in the mid section. I currently live in the Sonoma brand since they are within my budget, they have a lot of stretch, and are so soft. I launder them inside out just like they were real expensive jeans.
    I definitely like the ankle length and look forward to wearing them during the warm months.
    Have a blessed day!

  15. Ankle pants seem to look best with high heels as shown on your examples. What other style shoes would you recommend with ankle pants? I got a pair of ankle pants from Ann Taylor last summer and they only look good with my high heels. I love the fit of those pants but haven’t worn them because of this.

    1. I think most pants look better with heels, and ankle-length are no different. That said, you really can wear them with any type of shoe, which is one reason why I love them. They are super versatile. Sometimes it takes getting used to a new silhouette. I like my ankle jeans with ballet flats and sneakers. I will cuff the hem slightly if I feel I need to show more ankle to make them look right (as I did with the ballet flats above.) Of course, you can’t do that with dressier ankle pants. I do think they are cutest with ballet flats because it shows more skin between the shoe and where the pant leg ends, elongating the leg. Loafers wouldn’t work as well.

  16. Hi Jo-Lynne! Loved the timing of your post today as I was just looking at the email I got from Ann Taylor loft (“loft”), and they were promoting the ankle-length pants as this Spring’s newest trend! I am curvy petite and Loft is where I buy most of my pants and jeans. I love the ankle length style and can’t wait to try on some of this year’s options!! Thanks for the wonderful post (as always!).

  17. LOVE ankle length! I had bought a couple of pairs from Express in the fall. For once in my life, I’m actually AHEAD of a trend!! Sorry about people “spammering” you! Why didn’t they just hit DELETE if they didn’t want to read about Survivor?!? Have a great day! Sunny in Alaska today!!

  18. LOVE those yellow pants…. oh, and I need to say this…. I have noticed recently that many blogs are asking readers to turn off their ad blockers to view additional post info. I am not happy about this and just noticed that your blog has that today. It’s something I just won’t do since we all really see enough ads. Please reconsider using this. I have been reading your blog a few months now, but I need to be honest and tell you that my ad blocker stays on. Totally upsets me.

  19. Add me to the loving ankle length camp! I’m 5’3″ so they seem made for me. I love how they are versatile in winter and in the summer. In the summer, I will roll them up and wear with cute flat sandals. I also think they are a great alternative to capris. I find capris look a little dowdy on me, and they definitely do not flatter my pear-shaped body!

    1. I think so, but it does depend on your comfort level. If your legs are shorter for your frame, it might be better to stick to full length pants b/c they will elongate the line of the leg. 🙂 Of course, wearing a heel also helps, but it’s not always practical.

      1. Well I’m 5’4″ so not short. And I think my legs aren’t short on my frame. I’m just overweight so am concerned about how they might look. But you’re right, I’ll just need to try them and see. 🙂

        I think it’s mostly my not being comfortable wearing some styles because of my weight (size 14). I’ll try clothes on that I think make me look fat but I’ll see someone else about my same size and they look really good in the same style. Maybe more if a confidence thing with me.

        Keep the style tips coming. 🙂

  20. I like ankle length pants with flats or boots but at 5’3″ have found them to be a bit of a problem with booties. Have tried turning them up but still doesn’t look quite right. Since I am a good bit over age 40, 50 even, I also like skinnies. You just have to make sure they are not too skinny and the tops you are wearing are long enough. They actually make you look thinner. And so comfortable.

  21. At 5’9 ankle pants have always been in style for me… as very pair of pants I buy seem to land right at the ankle….Happy to know others will be wearing them as well. I will go on record that Talbots has several style of Ankle jeans that transition well from play to work and in a variety of sizes. I’ve been have to pick up pairs post season for less than $20 a pair. …

  22. I love the ankle pants and jeans!

    Also, thanks so much for adding info about sens lengths and such. It is so helpful! You should do a book!

  23. I am 5’7 and wear boot cut jeans since my legs are short. I recently had a Stitch Fix delivery and they sent a pair of boyfriend jeans. I just wasn’t comfortable in them but my husband thought they looked great!!! Figures. You all have inspired me to keep trying. Maybe I’ll have Trunk Club send me some. Thanks

    NYC sounded like great fun for you!!

      1. Since you appear to love jeans I hope you don’t mind me asking a question. More times than not there always seem to be extra room between my crotch and my pants crotch. What does that mean? Low rise jeans seem to fit me better there. Is that the secret?? Is there a brand your ladies may be aware of that I can try on to get a snugger fit? I know I wear my jeans a little bigger than my friends so that may be my problem right there. Geez, sometimes I feel like my pants stretch out so much my pants crotch is down to my knees (not really, but it feels like it) Thank you for any insight.
        Also, I’m ordering that pink trench. Just love it and it covers my crotch. lol

        1. I think you may be buying them too big. Also, I do like my jeans snug. The pricier brands are going to fit better. I always feel like the crotch sags when I try to wear cheaper pants. Even LOFT pants sag on me. Drives me batty. 🙂

          And I am LOL about your trench covering your crotch. that’s always a solution to consider. haha!

  24. I love the slim, ankle leg pants, but I have large calves and am having a hard time finding pants that work for me! Any suggestions?

  25. I tend to love leggings and ankle pants/skinnies. My problem is two-fold. My shoulders are a bit wide and I don’t have hips, so I’m wondering if I look too top-heavy with them–I’ve been told I should wear straight leg or boot leg. I have to say, I’ve tried to like straight legged pants on me, but they end up looking baggy, so I do the skinnies and the bootlegs. Also, my legs are proportionately smaller than my gut, so sometimes when I buy big enough in the waist, I find that the pant legs are a bit loser than (for example) yours are. Not sure what do do about these things, but it sure felt healthy to share! LOL

    1. Well, you definitely know your body type! That’s a good start! 🙂 It does sound like bootcut would be a nice look for you. I just find them to be too fussy for everyday, but I used to live in them, so I guess it really is all about what you get used to. 🙂 I think perhaps finding a chunkier shoe might help offset the “ice cream cone effect.” I have wide shoulders and hips, so I like boots or wedge sandals best, although I do wear ballet flats too — I just don’t think they’re quite as flattering with skinny ankle pants as a chunkier shoe.

  26. I’m going to give the cropped pants a try! You make them look so stylish. I’m glad they offer them in petite’ . I love skinny jeans and pants. I think they’re flattering on everyone. I’m going to Nordstrom this weekend to shop for jeans. So, thank you for the tips and brands that you wear.
    I really enjoyed your post yesterday, and you inspired me and my husband to watch ” Survivor ” for the FIRST time! Ha! We really enjoyed it!
    Keep thinking about writing that book! I believe you’d have a bestseller!

  27. I love ankle pants! I’m 5′ 5″ and they usually are a perfect length for me. I wear them with ballet flats or sandals…can’t do heels anymore! Looking forward to you styling some for spring!

  28. I like the look on other people, but I think they tend to make petite people like myself appear even shorter.

  29. I’m excited about trying ankle length, especially jeans. I wearing skinny jeans, but have a difficult time with cuff ingredients to wear with my ankle boots.Hoping the ankle pant remedies that problem. Thank you for a great post, I rarely leave a comment but love your daily posts.
    I have never watched Survivor, but I enjoyed yesterday’s post & everyone else’s comments. What fun to take a train into the City 🙂
    Thanks for all you do!

  30. I’m another one who lives in them from spring through fall! I have them in black,
    white, denim, coral, mint, etc. I love them! They can be casual or dressy, depending
    on the shoe.

    I’m wondering who makes the yellow pair? They’re super cute!

  31. I think that ankle length slacks are quite becoming…. they remind me of Jackie Onassis. I have only owned one pair of cropped pants over the decades because I found them to be so unflattering to the leg. They just hit at a weird place on the leg, and I have long legs. I always felt as though I was going out to weed the garden or waiting for a flood to arrive when I wore the one pair I had, so off to Goodwill they went.

  32. I have a huge stack of capris that I am parting ways with because I finally realize just how unflattering they are on my 5’1” frame. I have so many because they are comfy and an easy option to wear to work. However, I have had an epiphany and concur that they are a fashion travesty! Okay, maybe that’s a bit melodramatic, but I understand how they make me look more short and stumpy than I already am. I just assumed they were acceptable wear because Macy’s and Carson’s still sell them. Oh well, lesson learned. I’m embarrassed that I have so many but I will feel better donating all of them to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. I need to pare down my wardrobe and get rid of things I no longer like or don’t fit as well as they should anyway. This will free up much needed space in my closet and off-season storage as well.

  33. hello ,

    Does this style look good on women who are a bit on the bigger side?. I’m a size 16 in tops and 14-16(depends on the brand) on the bottom, I’m 5’3″.

    Are the pants supposed to skim just above the ankles?. I would appreciate your point of view.

    1. Hi Caroline, yes, anyone should be able to wear the style, but your body type (apple/pear/carrot/hourglass) would determine what style/length of top and what shoes to wear to look balanced. You definitely don’t want your top to be too long, or it throws the whole look off balance. Yes, ideally, the pants just skim above the ankle bone. A chunkier shoe helps avoid the “ice cream cone” effect. 🙂 I hope that helps!

      1. Thank you for the tips Jo-Lynne,

        Definitely made me confident enough to try the style, I’ll ask the lady in the shop for suggestions for tops. I think I understand what you mean abt the length of the top.

        I’m an apple shape.

  34. I know your original post was a year ago, but I finally went out and bought my first pair of ankle pants after debating for a year. I ended up buying a pair of black Sloan Fit slim ankle pants from Banana Republic because they came in talls. I am 5″10 and a size 4 -6. I adore the way they fit, but now I don’t know what shoes to wear with them. Its too cold right now to wear a strappy sandle and I feel like a heel would make me tower over everyone. Help!

      1. Yes! I have some light camel colored suede ones and I wore them today with the ankle pants and they were a hit! I got so many compliments. Thank you!!

  35. Just read your post about ankle pants. I bought some pants that fit perfectly. They are more straight leg than skinny. But… the inseam is 26 inches and that’s how it’s also listed on the hangtag. I am 5‘6“ tall and they seem to look a little gawky on me. Kind of like what we used to call “high waters.“What do you think?

    1. It’s hard to say without seeing them, but finding the right pant length is a tricky business. I’m 5’5″ and 26″ inseam is more of a cropped length, as opposed to ankle — cropped is shorter, is all. And they’re very much in style, but to keep your overall look in proportion, a shorter top or one that is tucked in usually helps. It also depends on the shoes… so many factors! 🙂 Are you on FB? I have a FB group where you can post pix and get feedback from me and other members, if you’re interested: https://www.facebook.com/groups/JLSTribe

      1. Hi Jo-Lynne,

        Wow! Thanks so much for your reply so quickly. I do have a FB account, but have never used it or posted. However, I just sent a request to join your JLSTribe. It would be great to see other photos and to get feedback.


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