Capri vs. Cropped Pants

Happy Tuesday, ladies! I was recently asked to talk about capri vs. cropped pants. What’s the difference, and how do we wear them?

 

First, the main difference between the two types of pants is their length. Capri pants end around the mid-calf, whereas cropped pants stretch farther down to the ankles.

While capri pants are always sold and can be trending, these pants are not flattering on most women. They were created as an alternative to shorts for warmer weather.

Here are some examples of carpi jeans.

As you see, capris hit at the widest part of the leg, so you are accentuating that area. Not good.

*Exception: If you are tall and thin with thin legs, you can pull off a capri jean/pant.

One/Two/Three

Next, cropped pants end just before the ankle. They accentuate the slimmest part of the leg, which is much more flattering.

Here are some examples of cropped jeans. 

One/Two/Three

What shoes work best with cropped jeans?

I have said it before, but nude/skin color shoes will always look best because they create a longer leaner look.

Also, a pointy toe flat rather than a round toe and no straps above the ankle look best, although I do wear them with ankle straps.

Here are some ways I style crop jeans/pants:

I recently styled these white crop flares with a blush-colored heel. You can find the post HERE.

Last fall, I cuffed these jeans to make them cropped and wore a pointy toe leopard flat. You can find the post HERE.

Yesterday I shared these crop jeans with a tan-colored sneaker. You find the post HERE.

Last fall, I shared these leopard print pants with nude heels. You can find the post HERE.

A casual summer outfit with tan wedge sandals. You can find this post HERE.

Personally, I won’t be wearing capri pants or jeans. They are not flattering on me and they typically make a woman my age look much older (in my opinion).

I hope this helped! Tell me your thought on capri vs. cropped.

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  1. Hey Cyndi,
    I so agree. Loved your thoughts on cropped pants versus capri pants. Not to say I don’t have some cropped pants especially to wear around for house chores especially painting!! But my first choice is definitely capris!

    I am wondering your thoughts about extra wide pants!!!
    fondly, michaelene

    1. Hey Michaelene, I’m still getting used to the extra-wide pants. I have styled them but I don’t like them on me as well as I do other styles.

  2. I completely agree with your comparison and thoughts on cropped pants vs capri pants. Don’t do it – they look horrible on most women!

    1. Totally agree but I still wear them occasionally. I’m a Floridian and even crops are sometimes too hot for me to wear when I don’t want to wear shorts. I’ve decided to add more casual dresses/sundresses to my wardrobe. I’m retired, in my 70’s And live a very casual lifestyle

  3. I just turned 57. I still like my shorts. I wear them all summer around the house and of course, on vacations.
    I am hot natured and I like skorts, but for me they are too thick and burn me up.

  4. At age 73, cropped pants are good for me. I don’t care for pants cutting off at “pedal pusher” length (i am assuming that is what you call capri but am not sure) because I have heavier calves. I still even prefer my skirts 2 inches below widest part of my leg. Guess you could say that is where I like my cropped pants to also strike my leg.

  5. I live in So Cal where it’s too hot to wear cropped pants or capris in the summer. I just turned 58. I’ve always been athletic and still work hard on my fitness. Every year I say I’m not going to wear shorts in the summer because maybe it’s not age appropriate or because maybe I have a few spots on my legs. Then when the temps get to over 100 and stay there for 6+ months I always end up wearing the shorts. I love to wear dresses and skirts as well. There are so many cute ones that hit at or just below the knee.

  6. I would love to see a post on skorts that may be a bit longer. I like the look, but not when they hit mid-thigh when seated.

    I’d also love to see a similar post on wearing wide leg crops. Does this style work for a pear shape?

    This was a helpful post, Cyndi!

    1. I love skorts and I’m 54. I have the same body shape as Cyndi and I wear the same size. Whats your thought on Skorts? I would love to find the crops with the navy blue fringe at a better price. I would rather buy pants at $60 or less.

  7. Thank you for sharing this enlightening article. I have lots of capris and I’ll continue using them around the house but in the future I will look for cropped instead.
    Yes I agree and would love to see other options for ladies who aren’t crazy about shorts, especially those of us who struggle with spider veins. Thank you.

  8. I always think of the cropped pants just showing the skinny part of your ankle and showing off some cute strappy sandals. I am sewing up a pair of cropped length pants today and can’t wait to see how they look.

    I love the blue flowered top you are wearing with the white pants.

  9. I so agree about the Capri pants not being flattering, at least on me, that is the fattest part of my leg and I would rather it not show. I love the ankle or crop pants. Thank you gir this post!!!

  10. Thanks for sharing Cyndi! I have never like Capri pants either. The shoe suggestions were great as well.

    Be blessed!

  11. Hi Cyndi this was a great post. Can you tell me where you got the jeans with the cuffs? I’m short 5’2 should I not wear cuffed jeans?

    1. Nancy you can find that post here>>>https://www.cyndispivey.com/2019/06/24/summer-style-with-qvc/
      I think the jeans are almost sold out.
      I think you can wear cuffed jeans. 🙂

  12. HI Cindy, if you don’t recommend capris (which I understand ) what do you recommend for people who live in Phoenix where it is already 100+ degrees and will get up toward 120 degrees this summer? The thought of cropped jeans then is suffocating!

    Plus most of the time you style cropped jeans with a higher heel which is not good for everyone’s feet, not always work-appropriate, and is typically more dressy.

    What are your thoughts? Help!!! 🙂

    Thank you,
    Barbara

  13. Cyndi,

    Can you please share the link for the light blue button up top you have on in the last pic? Thanks!

  14. Thank you so much for clarifying these style! I am short and think Capri pants make me look stubby.

  15. Honestly, I don’t think most women look very good in either style. They tend to make their legs look shorter. If it is over 80 degrees I think a better alternative is either a skort or something flowy such as a midi skirt, dress, or even pants.

    1. I completely agree with you, Bonnie! I am not a fan of capri OR cropped pants and I believe in a few years, that will come to light. I’d even go a step further…. Just like skinny jeans were touted for several years as the flattering cut (and now they’re not) and low rise jeans were touted as the flattering cut for several years (and now they’re not), I believe that the cropped cut will eventually be seen for what it is which is not really that flattering. Right now the high rise jeans or “mom jeans” are THE cut that’s (supposedly) the most flattering to a woman but why were they phased out and replaced by skinny jeans and low rise jeans if they were so flattering? And now those are phased out with cropped cuts and high waisted cuts when for years they said DON’T wear those silly high waisted pants that don’t look good on women?! Because that’s what marketing does to get us to purge and buy all new. Let’s just wear what looks good on each of us individually!

  16. I am not a fan of cropped jeans/pants. They make me think of high waters I had to wear as a kid. luckily I can wear capri and it look okay. But another alternative is bermuda shorts. I have several pairs of them

  17. Thanks for your post, Cyndi. I totally agree that capris don’t really flatter most of us. I have been wearing cropped pants which look better on my 5’2″ frame. I’m also over 60, so the cropped look is much better for me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and advice.

  18. When I wear cropped pants they accentuate my heavy ankle area. What would you recommend for that? Thanks!

  19. When I was in retail clothing sales, we used to tell our customers “if you’re tall you can wear them short but if you’re short wear them long!” I’m only 5 foot two and capris are not flattering on me.

  20. I used to be a huge Capri fan but am now liking the crop pants even better! As a tall girl (5’ 10”) it’s kind of like anything goes! If your jeans aren’t long enough, they’re a crop pant!!

  21. Hi Cyndi! Thank you so much for this post! I’m 5’4 and have found that cropped pants and jeans definitely work best for me at my age. Most recently I found some cropped jeans that I LOVE from Buckle. The brand of the jeans I bought are “Daytrip.” These jeans are not too tight at the calves and they have stretch in them. Plus they have great shades of denim that are flattering and fashionable. I will be wearing them all summer! Also, Athleta has some great skorts that are both functional and flattering.

  22. Great post! This just gave me validation and permission to get rid of all the capris in my closet. I never thought they were flattering on me anyway.

  23. Thank you for sharing. You answered questions I’ve been wanting to ask. I like the cropped look best. It’s not hard for me to accomplish because I am short.

    Thank you for what you do.

    1. I really love this post Cyndi. I have never thought that Capri pants are flattering and never really wore them. I always used to wear pants that would hit a little above my ankle bone because I thought they were more flattering so this particular post of yours just reiterates what I always thought to be the flattering option. I just got a really cute pair of pants from a company called American giant. They are called the kickflair pant and I absolutely love them they are so comfy and so flattering. Didn’t know if you might want to check them out because they certainly look like they would be right up your alley. The best part they are American made!!!!!!

  24. Skorts are nice if you don’t want to wear shorts any longer. That is if you don’t mind looking as if you are wearing a short skirt. Mine hit at the knee.

  25. A few years ago I went to Old Navy and picked up about 5 of their jersey dresses as an alternative to shorts. I wear them all the time! I do wear the form fitting athletic short underneath them in case of wind. LOL! I was able to get a couple t-shirt style and a few tank top style. I like that I can dress them up or down with a cute jacket or sweater and a dressier shoe or just wear them with sneakers.

    1. I did the same! I bought about 4 of the Old Navy dresses and they are so comfy in the hot weather. And the bike shorts are a must!

      1. And instead of bike shorts I wear Jockey Ladies Skimmies Slip Shorts. They are thinner and very comfortable under the ON dresses.

  26. I agree with your comments about capris, but unfortunately, if you live in an area with hot summers, you cannot bear to be wearing long pants. Capris are a nice alternative to shorts. It’s hard for older women to wear shorts. If you think capris can be aging, try wearing shorts in your sixties! I love your blog, I just wanted to let you know that capris are an option for women who live in hot summer areas. Keep up the good work!

    1. I’m almost 60 and I agree. My upper legs don’t look good in shorts any longer however I love casual Summer dresses that fall just above or below the knee. Living in steamy Alabama they are often cooler and more comfortable than shorts!

  27. I like Bermuda shorts. They cover everything I want covered. 😊 Glamour Farms was some I really like.

  28. Hi Cyndi

    I agree, Capri pants are flattering on very few people! That is why I’m interested in the cropped pants. Thanks for the great options.

    I do own 3 pairs of shorts – Jean, white denim and kakhi but that’s just for kicking around the house, the yard or hiking. I find them too causal for my everyday style.

    For the most part I prefer a skort in place of shorts. They are more versatile when traveling (remember traveling. Sigh), they offer more coverage than just a skirt and they are dressier than shorts while still being cool and less restrictive.

    I’m always on the lookout for skorts and different ways to style them so if you could take on that challenge that would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Check out Talbots for skorts. I got two really cute ones last summer. They are nicely made. I expect to have them for a while.

  29. Since you did a post on Capri workout leggings in January I’m guessing you feel differently about them than about pants and jeans. I have a several pairs myself that I wear for workouts.

    1. Absolutely! I also wear short shorts when I’m working out. What I work out in and what I wear in public are two different things. .

  30. I feel the same way about v-neck tshirts….they’ve always reminded me of older ladies! Round and scoop necks so much more flattering and feminine.

    1. This comment has me thinking. I mainly wear V neck because as a “mature” lady the round necks show double chins and make your face look full. So should I have a fat face, double chin, or V neck to show my age? Haha..Just saying.

      1. It also depends on face shape. I have more forehead than jawline. The v neck elongates my jawline and my face appears more balanced. A crew neck tshirt visually “shortens” my lower face.

    2. Hi Lisa

      Neckline all depends on your chest size.

      For me v-necks are the way to go. Round or boat neck lines, or scoop, if they are cut higher, only serve to enlarge and emphasize my bust line. They make my shoulders broader and make me look top heavy.

      The Visual break a v neck provides doesn’t have the same effect. Personally it thins me out and emphasizes my face rather than “the girls” .

      But we each have our preferences which is what makes fashion fun!

    3. I have always heard that v-neck shirts/blouses are the most flattering. Maybe it depends on what your chest looks like?

  31. Thank you so much for this!! I am 48 yrs. old and curvy. I have two pairs of cropped jeans that I purchased last year because I dont like to wear shorts(dont have pretty legs). Wore them a couple of times but I didnt like how they looked on me. Made me look bigger. So, thank you for this they will be going in my give away pile today!! God bless

  32. I agree with all your thoughts on the capris.
    I am always on the hunt for longer shorts. Like almost to me knees. I’m 5’6, skinny legs but I’m 53 and prefer to cover most of my thighs.

  33. Hear, hear! I could not agree with you more on the Capri pants! I WILL NOT put them on. I’m 61 and they do not flatter at all.

  34. Great post,, I am sure at some point in my life I wore capris but at 5″3 they may not have been too short. I only buy crop right now but again they have to have a shorter inseam or they are basically ankle length. I just bought a white denim straight crop pair and they fit fine, I plan to wear with a higher wedge shoe. I remember back in my 40′ s I was staying away from shorts. Well the past 3-4 summers I got back to wearing shorts again after loosing weight and feeling confident in them again. When I avoided them I wore casual dresses like t shirt dresses, or sun dresses and also wore skorts. I still like my dresses but no more skorts I am all shorts…

    1. I personally don’t like capris either and dont wear them..I’m56 , 5″4′ and about your size….Love your blog..Have a blessed day!!🙂

  35. I’m 5’3 and have very heavy knees. What is an alternative to wearing shorts when it’s hot other than capris?

    1. What about a nice lose flowy pant that’s a crop length worn with a more fitted top ? or jumpsuit with the flowy bottoms they are sometimes cut a little wider in the leg, and are usually a lighter weight material. Just my thought?? may hit above the ankle . I am 5’3 too.

    2. Thank you for explaining the difference between Capri and cropped! I just assumed they were interchangeable. Now I know not to order “Capri”. I’m 5’2” so the length makes a big difference. I like the way you style your cropped jeans and pants! I’m 52 so I’m finding it harder to find shorts that are flattering also. I did just order some Bermuda shorts in a petite sizing that work pretty well. Long enough to provide good thigh coverage but short enough above knee to be cool and flattering.

    3. I like the look of cropped pants over capris. In the summer it’s quite warm ((hot a lot where I live; therefore, wearing cropped pants isn’t comfortable for me because of the warm/hot weather.
      I’m on the lookout for 100% cotton dresses that are flattering and are cooler than pants. Hard to find!

      1. Have you tried bamboo pants? Or bamboo dress or tops. They are very cool to wear in hot weather. Unfortunately they seem to make a lot in black but I have found navy as well.
        I also have a bamboo sweater which is great for AC in stores/car.

  36. I love both type of pants. But I so so love my shorts. I’m 57. I’d wear shorts 365 days a year if the weather would let me. I think if you feel good it wear it
    Have a great day. Love your post
    Cindy Horsley

    1. I have good legs for a 53 year old and like so many others enjoy wearing shorts. I was wearing capris for work but last year gave them up for all the reasons you listed. I did keep a couple of pairs that I call long capris they come to just below the thickest part of my calf muscle but a little bit higher than crop pants. Instead I wear skirts and skorts! This summer I am looking at the skorts and wondering if those still work for me. What is your opinion on skorts. You could also cover solutions to the thigh chaffing challenge so many woman have.

  37. So helpful! The little things make such a difference! Would love advice on shorts – old lady legs are not attractive in most shorts. Would love ideas on cool, casual summer skirts!

  38. Great article. I have a pair of cropped, and they are so not flattering. WHY are they still in my closet??? Heading to the give away bag today. I’d love to try the QVC ones, but boyfriend jeans are always so baggy one me. I’ll have to search your other posts for a different brand. Thanks for always giving great advise and options!

  39. Hi Cyndi,
    This is a very helpful post, I’ve often wondered if my capri’s were not the best choice. This summer I’ve been looking at bermuda shorts as an option to capri’s for warm days. What are your thoughts on those? Would they be a more flattering option? I’m going on 62, slim, 5’2″ and want to look nice, not like I’m trying to dress like my daughter. 😉
    Thanks so much,
    Jane

    1. Jane bermuda shorts are trending this year. But I’m not a fan of them on my pear shape.
      I think if you wear them, add some cute trendy pieces to your outfit or they can be aging. Just my opinion!

  40. Hi Cyndi!
    Thank you for this post. I totally agree, capris don’t look very good on most women. I have worn them from time to time as I am nearly 5’8” and have slender legs. However they just aren’t always that comfortable. Cropped jeans or pants especially in the hot, summer months feel too constricting so I often wear a dress or skirt because they are much cooler. They also make me feel much more feminine. 😊 Wearing mid-thigh or Bermuda shorts don’t seem as flattering anymore so mostly I’m sticking with skirts and dresses for the best option. A casual maxi length skirt can also be nice on occasions when it isn’t too hot. Regular pants, jeans and yoga pants work very well during the cooler temperatures and can easily be dressed up or down.

    Thank you for all the many fashionable clothing inspirations. I’d love to see more styles and tricks for those of us heading into our 60s! Aging with grace and beauty inside and out is important to always looking and feeling our best!
    Dawn 🌷🌸

    1. Dawn, I agree with all the above! I don’t like showing my calves with dresses, skirts, or shorts either, as they’ve always been heavier, despite my weight at any given time. I’d love suggestions for other options and your ideas are great! I second your request for ideas for those of us approaching our 60’s. 🙂

  41. Agree on cropped over capri, and I do not have wide calves. My sister always says “it’s not my ankles that get hot” when being questioned about wearing crop pants all summer, ha! I’ll wear capri yoga pants but that’s it. I also agree that they are matronly and unflattering. I guess some don’t think of it that way, to each her own! 😊

  42. another comment i will add….i do like the shorter flares but unfortunately my calves must be too muscular because nothing ever just “hangs” straight down….almost all of my jeans, regardless of length are way more fitted and even when i specfically look for flares they still tend to cling to most of my calf….UGH

  43. I agree with you although in the past I’ve been guilty of wearing them but not anymore! They were not flattering on me and added a frumpy factor.
    I don’t have pretty legs anymore so shorts are not something I wear much either unless they’re Bermuda shorts but they can be tricky too!

  44. At 5’7.5″ i find that i’m never really sure if i’m wearing cropped or capris sometimes – depends on the style because some crops are shorter or longer and same with capri’s. I will note that i do try to error on the side of length and go for longer for capri’s….if that’s what they really are ha

  45. My goodness – you’re right! I’m short so cropped pants are a challenge for me – they have to be rolled up to achieve the right length.

  46. So agree with you on the capris – never saw them look good on anyone! I am tall and thin and they just aren’t flattering! That said, shorts for over 40 are also difficult to pull off – knees that are wrinkled, veins, cellulite, swollen ankles, etc are not pretty, so that leaves skirts and pants. You’ve shown us some great options and they all look great on you. Love the white cropped jeans so much.

  47. My most flattering length is just above the knee if I’m not wearing shorts. Anything else cuts me in half….not pretty! I’ve had capris cut to the length I want. Well worth the extra cost.

  48. You are 100% correct! Capri’s are VERY aging and never look good on anyone I’ve ever seen. The cropped ones – if paired with the right shoes are cute. I too will not be wearing capri’s of any sort :).
    Great post! and I’m certain it helps for people who “have to see it”.
    Love BFTH today!

  49. I just realized while shopping for ‘cropped’ jeans that there was a difference. I called them all capris! I have and will be wearing both as I don’t wear shorts anymore. Thank you for the clarification!

  50. Cyndi I’ve been looking at “athletic” skirts/skorts lately as a shorts substitution. I need something just a tad longer, but not as long as a bermuda short, to wear these days because I’m not thrilled with the look of my upper quad area. I’m also just past 50, and I need to work out my legs more to combat this lovely aging feature LOL, but until then, I don’t love my shorts on me.

  51. I so agree with your comments. I have wanted to tell friends and family just those thoughts. I did not have the nerve. Thank you lol

  52. Thank you Cyndi. I’m a visual person, so I loved the photos you shared. It really shows the difference.
    Have a blessed day 😊