What’s the difference between Capri vs. Cropped?

It’s time to pull out the cute dresses, skirts, and shorts for the spring and summer. I was recently asked to talk about capri vs. cropped pants. What’s the difference, and how do we wear them?

Capri jeans/pants were created as an alternative to shorts, but they typically don’t flatter most women. If you want a pant or jean that is more flattering, cropped is a better alternative.

What’s the difference between Capri vs. Cropped?

The capri hits the leg, right through the top to the middle of the calf, making legs look stumpy and cutting the line of the body at an awkward point.

Even if you have skinny legs, the capri style is still not the most flattering pant. Capris chop off your leg, which can make you look frumpy.

Here are some examples of carpi pants and jeans:

As you see, capris hit at the widest part of the leg, so it accentuates that area.


They embellished these capris with embroidery and thick cuffs, which doesn’t help the look.

Here are some examples of cropped jeans and pants:

Cropped jeans/pants hit just before the ankle and accentuate the slimmest part of the leg.

This LOFT pant is much more flattering with the cropped length than the above capri pant.

The lighter wash jeans are perfect for spring and summer.


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. A slight heel also elongates our legs, but flats are a nice option. This year colorful sandals and flats are trending.

Here are some crop jeans and pants I recently styled:

Top (not available) • Good American Jean (HERE and HERE, I’m wearing a size 6) • Nude HeelRing

Top (not available) • White Jeans (I’m wearing a size 4) • EarringsRingBraided Heel 

Flutter Sleeve Top (I’m wearing a small, Use code CYNDI15 for 15% off first-time orders) • Straight Leg Chino Pant (I’m wearing a size 4) • Nude Heel • Earrings

As always, these are suggestions, and you should wear what you feel the best wearing!

What do you think about capri vs. cropped?

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Truth: Peter and John were ordinary men, but people saw a difference in them because they spent time with Jesus. Like Peter and John, our countenance changes when we spend time with Jesus.

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  1. I just bought those Riveria pants from Loft (the printed ones) and they are so cute. Sometimes we just gotta get out of jeans that we wear too much. They have lots of different colors including pink in them which is my favorite color. I bought a blue flutter sleeve shirt to go with them also. Wore them yesterday.

  2. Thank you Cyndi for always sharing your fashion thoughts, ideas and trends. We appreciate that when you provide us with that information, you graciously remind us that we are all individuals to be celebrated and that your posts are suggestions. Thank you for the variety of options in fashion and beauty you strive to provide.

  3. I totally agree with you. Capris are so unflattering. I think a dress is a nice alternative if ankle pants are too hot.

  4. To me, wearing cropped pants is the same as wearing any long pant…..to the ankle is not making much difference than any long pant. I don’t think capris are “frumpy” if you choose cute ones that fit according to the shape and size of the calf of your leg. Just thinking this is what’s popular at the time. Have seen capris in stores and on-line already this year. But as already stated “to each his own”.

  5. I’ve heard the argument before that capris hit at the widest part of the leg. But shorts hit at a much wider part of the leg than the calf so it seems to me that shorts accentuates a wider part of the leg than do capris. But for some reason in the fashion world shorts are ok but capris are bad. Just wondering how this is logical.

    1. I agree! I had posted a comment earlier, but the moderater must not have liked it. I like capris; cropped pants look awful to me (we called them “flood pants” or “high waters” back in the day). And I really don’t like having bare leg show between the cropped pants and the ankle boot. Some trends are best left to the young

  6. I agree about crop pants!!! They don’t look great on anyone and as a woman over 50 I think they age you about 10 years. Thanks for posting this today!

  7. I absolutely love that flutter sleeve top from Avara. Unfortunately, it’s sold out in my size so I signed up for a notification in case they restock it. Hoping!

  8. I think every body is different. I would never wear the type of capris you showed—they scream “old lady” and frumpy. There are styles from current stores that fit close to the body and look great. You just have to look around and try some. Even here in south central Indiana, it is way too hot and humid to wear a full length pant, To each his own.

    1. This!! I came here to say the same thing. The capris highlighted are ‘old lady’ and on a completely different body type than the cropped jeans which are all young slim models. I totally agree that capris are not flattering by the comparison provided is skewed.

  9. I struggle with the idea of crop pants. I have always had very long legs. As a child, I almost never had pants long enough for me. I was teased regularly for wearing “Highwater” pants – by kids and adults. The crop pants tend to fall about where my previous highwater pants did. 🤦 How do I get over this feeling and move on??

    1. I am in the same boat with you, Patti, although I have found a few crop pants that I like. It is hard to overcome negative feelings from our childhoods. Highwater and string bean (when I wore my Girl Scout uniform) will forever be in my brain. I am just glad my worth is not in my childhood bullies, but in the one who has helped me overcome a lot of those feelings.

  10. I agree on the capris. The middle example on the first photo doesn’t look bad. The others are matronly. What you call crop is ankle to me. When shopping at Ann Taylor they call them crop pants if it’s the length past the calf and ankle. Maybe they just don’t want to use the word Capri. I use long shorts called skimmers that I buy at Dillard’s.
    On me they are right under the knee covering my veins behind my knees. They fit me well and I style them so I don’t look frumpy. I may start wearing jean skirts when it starts to get really hot here.

      1. I actually look terrible in crop pants…not sure what the deal is, but they look awful on me. Plus, in the heat of summer, it’s really just more material covering us when we’re so warm. I still wear Capri pants, but try to find cute ones. If not Capri ‘s, then shorts it is!

  11. I agree. I think Carpi pants have a dated look and just don’t flatter any woman’s body type. It really ages a person. I am 60 and never have really liked wearing shorts, as I have a hard time finding the right length to not look dumpy or too short. I’m short too. So, lately I’ve been opting for casual Summer dresses if I can find them and white crop pants and if its not too hot, cropped jeans. We don’t get as hot as the Southern States.

  12. Could you discuss the difference between cropped and ankle pants? I’m 5’6″ and some cropped pants look more like capris on me!

  13. I am the odd one out, but I don’t see the problem with capris, and they are a summer staple in my wardrobe. Cropped pants just look like “high waters” or “flood pants” to me, and I do not care for leaving a gap between my jeans and my ankle boots, either. I guess I’m just a grumpy old lady, lol.

  14. I’ve heard this so many times before, but having had knee surgery with a big old ugly scar, shorts are only for around the house and very early morning walks. Living in SW Florida, ankle pants look ridiculous in the steamy months so I am quite happy to trade style for comfort occasionally.

    1. I agree with you. I live in Alabama and with our very steamy, long summers comfort takes over. However, I wear casual, cute, comfortable dresses most of summer. Nothing expensive and can be found easily at Old Navy and elsewhere. I’m 61 and a healthy weight but the only time I wear shorts is for fitness walking and yard work. Capris and cropped pants are way too hot in the spring/summer months here.

    2. I totally agree! Here in central Florida, I would roast in crop/ankle pants. I wear shorts…just above my knee at home, but if I’m leaving the house, then it’s capri’s or lightweight dresses. Turning 60 in a few weeks…and nobody wants to see my knees or thighs!🤣

      1. Why? I’m 61 and wear shorts above my knees all the time and they are cute and appropriate! Trust me, no one is worrying about what you are wearing. They are too worried about what they are wearing.

  15. Hi Cyndy
    I love the way you styled the crop pants, however my job requires us to dress appropriately but heels are out of the question, any way you can style with some sort of slip on sneakers or closed heel and toe shoes?
    Thank you so much

  16. Good Morning! This post takes me back to last spring when you did basically the same post. I agree with you. I could never get capris to look right on me. I love the current styles!

  17. I totally agree with your cropped vs. Capri assessment. Capri pants are so matronly and look worse than wearing shorts. A cropped pant is not only more flattering but more stylish and fresh.