Ok Mamas. We promised. We promised to give explicit detail on the whole cropped pant thing. Ever since we made this bold (obnoxious) statement in our 2012 Style Resolutions for Moms article:
So yes, to summarize: Dowdy capris that hit at mid-calf: Bad. Slim cropped J.Crew pants: Good.
But that's not really all there is to it. Not all of us (myself included) have gone running out to J.Crew for their adorable cropped pant. Most of us (me again)....already have some sort of cropped pant/capri/pedal pusher hybrid in our closet. So what to do?
I pulled my one-and-only pair out of storage for this little exercise. Here's mine:
Oh good. It hits at the widest part of my calf.
I....don't....know. I don't know about these, Mamas.
But here's the deal: I really, really really want capris to work. As Mamas, we often have to fight varicose vein issues, or crazy-pale legs from lack of sunbathing time, and one really can't dispute the practicality of cropped pants for just about any summer activity: short enough to be cool, long enough to climb, run, jump and cartwheel.
So I went right to the cropped pant source: My mother. My mother could outfit a cropped-pant army. She has been buying cropped pants and capris since....well. One can never reveal a lady's age. Let's just say it ends in "ixty-something". But Mom didn't disappoint: She has a capri-pant motherlode. And none of these straight-forward, sophisticated, Jackie-O style pants*. We're talking capris in suspicious lengths. Odd colors. Strange cargo pocket placement. Cropped pants from Old Navy. Target. And even....Younkers. With brands like Plugg. That's Plugg with two G's! Two! Wanna bet those came from a Juniors section somewhere?
*To be fair, my mother keeps all of her suspicious capris at the lake house. To be used only for gardening, etc. She does have her fair share of sophisticated, Jackie-O style pants too. But it's waaay more fun to make fun of her for those Plugggggs.
Anyway, I chose three of my Mom's...challenging cropped pant/capri/pedal pushers to try and style (and you can bet I grabbed those Pluggs). But first? Definition time! What the heck is the difference between cropped pants, capris, pedal pushers, etc?
(HUGE thanks to reader Sonja in Portland for this awesome graphic/diagram idea!!)
This length is, by far, the most flattering to wear. The most classic look is pure Jackie: straight-leg, flat front, and ends right at your ankle bone. The slimmer cut J.Crew version (pictured at the top of the post) is the more modern version.
You can also just roll up your jeans or any 'ol straight-leg pant to approximate the cropped pant look. Here's my take:
Jackie O I'm not. But I like that the roll shows off cool shoes. You can lower the hem if you want - play around with it. I usually roll the hem two or three times. Here's a shot with only two rolls:
You can roll bootcut jeans as well...but the overall effect is a little different. Not bad, but not as sleek.
The actual line between capris and cropped pants is a bit nebulous...I just did my best. However, the theme is the same: a slim cut, flat front is always the best option.
HOWEVER. That doesn't mean that you must throw out anything that doesn't look like Audrey's. Remember my mom's Pluggs? In the odd color? With the cargo pockets? And the wider leg? Yeah. I tried them:
Holy Moly. I liked them. Incredulous, I styled them for work:
Not bad, right? (Although I'd probably swap out the sandals for a closed-toe at the engineering office. As opposed to the blogging "office". Which is, uh...my bedroom.)
I'd even wear these pants out....like Out-Out. Well, maybe not that far. But to a backyard BBQ fo' sho.
Ok Mom. I'm down with your Plugggs.
Not all danger zone pants must be tossed. To illustrate, Mom had these confusing-but-cute pants:
The bottom hem hits in the danger zone...but then gets pulled up at the side? I don't know. They aren't bad. High heels and lipstick make up for a lot. I actually liked this outfit. Was all set to go Out-Out in it. Until Mike put down the camera, said "Go change your pants!!" and smacked me on the bum. Oh. Ok. (My inner goddess stomped her foot and pouted. #FiftyShadesOfCroppedPants) But I put on my white skinnies. "Muuuuch better" says Mike. So there you go.
But wait! There's more! I have to share the worst - the absolute rock bottom - in my Mom's battilion of capris:
Know what these need? Some pleats.
Hits at the widest part of the thigh? Check. Saggy bum? Check. Inexplicable flared hem, long crotch, oddly placed pockets complete with a mini-me pocket? Check, check, check and check.
But wait! Wait! If you juuuust....
....roll these bad boys up....you have....
Not...too...bad. These look a lot better with some wedges, though:
So yeah - rolling up Danger Zone Capris into Pedal Pushers? It works. In addition to the wedges, I prefer to pair these pants with a chic top - something other than a basic tee or tank. M nailed the styling of pedal pushers in her article about summertime styling with varicose veins.
At the end of the day, Mamas, I'm a big believer in wearing what you love. So if you want to wear Danger Zone capris? Then rock 'em.
Happy Summer, Mamas.