Over the past week, I’ve had a couple of questions about capri pants over in the Questions forum, so I thought I’d put them both together, along with a bunch of other commonly-asked questions about women’s capri pants, in a handy little guide: or, at least, it WILL be handy when you guys chime in with your own answers, anyway!
First of all, though, I’m sure most of you know what capri pants are, but people tend to use that expression to cover a few different styles of trousers: for instance, they could be talking about trousers like these…
.. which have a tight fit, and hit either around mid-calf, or just below the knee.
… which have a longer leg, and typically hit around the ankle.
Or like these…
… which are similar to the first style, but with a looser, more relaxed fit.
All of these trousers can be loosely described as “capri pants”, but they’re not exactly the same, so might require slightly different styling. But on to the questions!
First up, Iskandaria asked:
WHAT SHOES SHOULD I WEAR WITH CAPRI PANTS?
This will depend to an extent on the type of capri pants you’re wearing: and, of course, on your personal style/comfort level. The main issue with choosing shoes to wear with carpri pants is that, as they’re a cropped style, they have a tendency to make your legs look shorter, so many people will want to choose shoes which minimise that effect. I talked about how to make your legs look longer earlier this week, and the same advice applies here: avoid ankle straps and very high vamps – basically, the more of an unbroken line you can create, the longer your legs will look. Because of this leg-shortening effect, many people prefer to wear heels with carpri pants, rather than flats. It’s true that heels will generally be more flattering to shorter legs, but they’re not the only option: I frequently wear flats with capri pants, because they’re comfortable (and an easy way to create an ‘Audrey Hepburn’ style effect!): I just choose styles without straps, and go for pointed or almond toes, rather than round or square ones, to lengthen the appearance of the leg.
I also like to wear wedges with capri pants, when the weather’s warm enough: they add height, but are easier to walk in than heels, so it’s a win-win!
Me wearing Lindy Bop capri pants with New Look flats
CAN YOU WEAR CAPRI PANTS WITH BOOTS?
You can (and I should probably say here that you can, of course, wear your capri pants however you like: these are all just suggestions, not “rules”!), but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. Capri pants are spring/summer trousers, and I personally think that wearing summer clothes with winter shoes will often end up looking a little bit awkward: particularly given that capri pants tend to be made in lightweight fabrics, suitable for warmer weather. If you particularly want to wear capri pants with boots, however, my best advice is to choose ankle-length capri pants rather than calf-length ones. Calf-length styles will look very awkward with ankle length/three-quarter boots, as you’ll always have a gap between boot and trouser hem, which can look a bit odd. Wearing them with tall boots, meanwhile, will cover that gap, but will be a little bit pointless, really: the trousers will no longer look like capris, so you may as well just wear full-length trousers, if that’s the look you’re going for.
If you’re wearing longer-length capris, however, you could try them with ankle boots:
This works better if the boots are the same colour as the pants (so black pants + black boots, for instance), but if you try to minimise the gap between boot and trouser leg, it can just about work – although, again, I’d rather wear longer trousers if I really wanted to wear boots!
CAN YOU WEAR CAPRI PANTS IN WINTER?
I’m including this question purely because it comes up a lot in the search referrers, although I actually answered it above: yes, you can, but it’s easier to just wear winter pants in winter, and leave summer styles for warmer weather. Quite apart from the fact that capri pants are cropped, which makes winter footwear tricky, they also normally come in summerweight fabrics, so they’re not as warm as longer pants will be!
Back to the questions forum, where Maria asked:
HOW TO MAKE CAPRIS/ROLLED HEMS WORK WITH BIG ANKLES?
“I’ve always had less than thin ankles, and usually just avoid showing them off unless I’m wearing at least 10 cm heels… But since I have feet issues I can’t wear heels all day long. So, I’d really like to know if there are any tricks or hacks for lessening the ‘enlarging’ effect ankle-length trousers seem to have on my legs, since I really like the style (I also like cuffed hems)!”
I think my main advice here would be to choose trousers that have a wider ankle. Close-fitting pants, like skinny jeans or the tight-fitting style of capri pants, will hug the ankle and draw the eye to to it: a wider ankle, meanwhile, will make the ankle look smaller in comparison, so choosing a looser fit is one way to do this – although I’d love to hear other people’s responses to this one! (Also, just to add: I’m sure you’re the only person who notices your ankles, so if you like the style, wear it and try not to worry!)
Here are some other questions about capri pants that have popped up in the search referrers for the site:
ARE CAPRI PANTS STILL IN STYLE?
It depends what you mean by “in style”. You’re probably not going to see them being touted as a big summer trend, if that’s the question, but I wouldn’t say they’re OUT of style either: capri pants are fairly classic, and they’re a style that you’ll tend to see people wearing during the summer, regardless of what the latest fashions are!
ARE CAPRI PANTS BUSINESS CASUAL?
They can be, depending on the style, and what you wear with them. For a work-appropriate look, I’d avoid calf-length capris, or very skin-tight styles (I’d also avoid the very loose styles, which are possibly a little too casual for the office), and go instead for ankle-length pants in a tailored style: wear with a shirt or pretty top, and they could be perfectly appropriate for a business-casual environment.
CAN GUYS WEAR CAPRI PANTS?
I don’t see why not! There are lots of three-quarter length summer pants for men, which could be loosely described as “capri” pants. If you like them, wear them!
CAN I WEAR CAPRI PANTS TO A WEDDING?
I personally wouldn’t, because I think they’re a little too casual for most weddings, but this would really depend on a) the wedding and b) the capri pants. If the wedding isn’t super-formal and/or the capri pants aren’t too causal, it could just work. I seem to recall ASOS stocking some lovely brocade capris last summer, which would’ve looked good dressed up with heels, and maybe a silk blouse or similar: personally, though, capri pants wouldn’t be my first choice for a formal event!
CAN PETITES WEAR CAPRI PANTS?
Absolutely: petites can wear anything they like – it’s just a question of getting the proportions right. If you’re petite, you’ll probably find that regular-length capri pants will look longer on you than they would on other people: the red pair I’m wearing above, for instance, hit much lower on my ankle than they would on someone taller! The answer here is to either buy your capris from the petite section, or, failing that, have them tailored to fit properly: yes, they can make your leg look shorter, but get the proportions right, and you shouldn’t have a problem!