Cropped pants are cool in every sense—modern, casual, breezier than full-length for warm weather, yet more appropriate than shorts for dressier moments. But they can fall short unless you pay serious attention to style and proportion. We asked sportswear aficionado Rory Tahari, vice chairman and creative director of Elie Tahari, for her take on the trend.
How to Wear Them:
Finding the Right Shoes
- "Plain, plain, plain. No cargo pockets, no drawstrings, no stripes"—that's the way Rory likes her cropped pants. Gimmicky details can look fussy.
- Where they hit your leg is crucial. Midcalf is fine for taller women (who can afford a break in the vertical line); if you're under 5'4", go lower—you need every lengthening inch you can get.
- You'll look sleekest in crops with stretch in the fabric to hold you in; for firmer control, try undercover support in the form of a thigh-long shapewear piece ("Spanx are a girl's best friend," Rory says).
- Think balance. Wear looser crops with a close-to-the-body shirt, fitted pairs with a blousy top (make sure it's not too long and full, or you'll risk looking squat).
- Separate pieces are more versatile than dresses," Rory says. "Crops are a refreshing alternative that can go straight from work to playing with my kids."
- High Heels
A higher heel can work with crops if the straps match your skin tone, so leg, foot, and shoe create a single line. Avoid interruptive stuff like ankle straps.
Flat shoes are a good balance for fuller crops (low-profile sneakers also work). Footwear that shows more skin creates the flattering illusion of a longer leg.
- Kitten Heels
Don't do stilettos with shorter pants unless you're a fashion risk-taker. Kitten heels are a charming alternative; matching shoe color to skin tone elongates the leg.