Capri pants: yay or nay?

To capri or not to capri? That is the question that women face every time the temperature starts to rise.

The capri pant is everywhere. You can’t enter a mall without seeing store windows filled with their ankle-baring glory. Women (myself included) turn to the capri pant because it’s a safe sort of compromise between long pants and shorts – when shorts are too casual but it’s too warm for long pants, the capri comes into play. Or we wear them because we dislike the look of our legs and want to be comfortable while still covering up.

But there’s a growing backlash against the capri pant. There have been blogs devoted to hating them, and if you Google “hate capri pants” you’ll get a plethora of links to which I will not subject you. Even Tim Gunn (who I consider to be my personal Patron Saint of Fashion) hates them!

So why all the capri hate?

Let’s be honest: they’re usually not that much cooler than long pants, especially if you go for the ankle-length version. Pedal pushers (knee-length capris) are a cooler option. But at that point you could just cut off an inch and have a pair of bermuda shorts.

The other problem with capris is that unless you shop very carefully you wind up with a pair of pants that hits you at exactly the most unflattering part of your leg. Most capris are either pedal pushers, which tend to hit at the knee and cut your legs in half, or they’re cut halfway down the calf, which is the widest part of your lower leg.

We hear the word “capris” and think of elegant images of Audrey Hepburn riding a bicycle, looking young and carefree. Unfortunately we’re not all built like Audrey.

Saint Tim tends to advise replacing all of one’s capris with skirts or casual dresses. And while I do love a comfy summer dress, sometimes you want to wear something that won’t expose your bits and pieces in a stiff breeze. Something more practical. I’ve learned to love the bermuda short, but shorts aren’t always appropriate either. So what’s a girl to do?

If you still want your capris it’s a matter of smart shopping. Look for a length that hits at the slimmest part of your leg. Avoid anything too tapered as it will only make your hips look wider in contrast. Avoid cuffs; they’ll make your calves look wider. And try to find a cut that hangs straight from the hip to the hem. Too tight and you’ll look stuffed in, too baggy and you’ll look sloppy.

When I wear capris, I tend to employ a few tricks to create a more flattering silhouette. If the capris are fitted (as most denim capris are), I keep my tops loose and bright to draw attention away from my hips. And I tend to wear shoes with a heel (a wedge sandal or something) because higher heels create a longer leg line and minimize the the dreaded cankles.

Have you sworn off capris, or do you still wear them with pride? Let me know in the comments!

4 responses to “Capri pants: yay or nay?

  1. Being a very short woman, I do not wear capris for the reasons you mentioned. Pants are elongating and shorts can be as well – capris never are. I’d rather pay for a nice pair of light weight cigarette pants that have a similar look to them (they cut at the ankle, much like Audrey’s) and not worry about getting cut in half.

  2. Does anybody even make ankle-length pants anymore? I don’t see them very much.

  3. Yes, Eva Khurshid makes the most amazing pants. I have 2 pairs because I live in them and I can rotate between them. The style is Magdalena. They’re a slim fit without being skin tight and are cut for women with booty.

  4. Ooooh, I’ll check it out!

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