off the rack double feature: cropped pants

Cropped pants. I should probably disclose, before telling you that I’ve just bought two pair, that I really, strongly dislike them. Sure, they’re adorable on Audrey. But then, what isn’t? Not exactly the best measure for success. In general, they tend to be seriously unflattering on women with curves – too loose in the backside, too tight on the calves, too short to create that long, lean line that lends us all a hand every now and then.

And yet. Spring rolls around and suddenly longer trousers just feel out of place. So, I was determined to make these work for me. And I found some options!

First rule of cropped pants: length is key. Subtitle: Capris are terrible. They make your calves look huge, and instantly beg the comparison in size between your calves and thighs, which no one needs. If you’re going cropped, the only way to get that long, slim silhouette you’re after is if the hem hits that flattering spot right around your ankle bone. No part of your calf should be exposed.

Second rule of cropped pants: tailoring. Bubble butt is a huge problem with this style for some reason. But, it’s easily solved by your favorite tailor. A couple of well-placed darts on the backside, and you’ll have a fabulous fit – best $20 you’ll ever spend.

So, my two finds? First, an ankle-length printed pant from Talbots.

paisley off the rack double feature: cropped pants

The paisley print felt more modern, and a bit more unique than all the florals floating around out there (it also looks an awful lot like something from Stella McCartney’s spring line, but no complaints here). The length is just about perfect on me, so anyone 5’8″ or less is set. They’re also insanely cheap just now – $45, plus an additional 40% off. They do require a little tailoring in the rear department, but you can more than afford it at that price.

Next up is the ubiquitous Minnie pant from J.Crew (which does not photograph well…sorry). They’re surprisingly flattering, but too short. So, semi-genius solution: I ordered them in a Tall size. Perfect! J.Crew is one of those brands with faux-tall sizes – all they do is adjust the length, with no change to the rise or any other measurement. So I often order a tall since I’m right on the cusp – better to hem than to flood. I went with boring black here, as I thought too many of the other colors looked like aerobic leggings once on. Give yourself a little room in this style to prevent that. I could have worn an 8, but went up to a 10 so they looked less legging, more pant.

What are your feelings on the cropped pant? Are you two old friends, or are you phobic like me?

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3 comments on “off the rack double feature: cropped pants

  1. allison

    i love the minnie pant but yes, color versions don’t work so well. i loved my black pair so much i got the red version when they came out last year only to have to return them after finding the fabric was thinner and more legging like in appearance.

    as a very short person though, cropped pants are just pants to me, haha! it’s the one time i DON’T have to go to the tailor!

  2. kristina

    At 5’2″ I’ve yet to find cropped pants that hit the right spot. They always either just look like regular pants as Allison said, or they’re at that “not long enough to be regular pants and not short enough to be cropped” and it looks like I’m expecting a flood.

  3. shoppingsmycardio Post author

    Allison – I always joke with my vertically-challenged friends that cropped pants are every designer’s way of offering petite sizes without committing :)

    Kristina – This is a really tricky style for petites, for the reason you mentioned. Also, I think it’s hard to make it work if you’re at all curvy – they can be incredibly elongating if you’re lean, but if you’re curvy, the effect can be a little too rounding. But, assuming you have a rockin’ bod, a good tailor is your solution. Buy them long (just be sure the rise looks great on you – it’s the hardest part to fix), and let the tailor hem to the right length.

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