Cropped pants and jeans are especially big this season, probably bigger than I have ever seen before. When these styles are cropped to a shorter length, either on the knee or a couple of inches below, they look most flattering to my eye because your leg length looks normal (not too long or short). That’s why it’s a flop proof length that you can pair with any style of top and footwear. Versatile and easy!

When trousers and jeans are cropped to “a tricky length”, meaning below the calf muscle and above the ankle, things get harder because they can have leg shortening effects. Harder, but not impossible when the silhouette and outfit details are just right. I’ve had a lot of practice getting cropped pants to work on my clients this season so I’m particularly confident about the following guidelines.

  • Keep the hems tapered: That way the pants or jeans follow the vertical contour of the leg, making them “one”. When the hems are flared and not flush against the leg, you lose the vertical effect and the eye is drawn horizontally. Jeans and pants needn’t be tight. The silhouettes can be slouchy as long as the hems are tapered.
  • Wear heels: Some long-limbed ladies can pull off the tricky length with flats, but most of us need to add a little extra height to balance out the leg shortening effect. A low heel is just fine. Choosing a low vamped shoe will further elongate your leg line.
  • Keep contrast low on the legline: Think about the colour contrast of the pants or jeans against your skin tone, of the footwear against your skin tone, and between the cropped pants and your footwear. Keeping some of these contrasts low can have leg lengthening effects. For example, dark cropped pants create a high colour contrast against a pale skin tone. To compensate, pair them with heeled, low contrast footwear. Wearing cropped pants that are low contrast to your skin tone makes your legs look longer still.
  • Tuck in your top: By exposing the top part of your pants or jeans, you lengthen the bottom half. This is not essential if you are following one or more of the preceding guidelines.

Sometimes all it takes is tapered hems, but generally speaking, tapered hems and heels are key. Low colour contrasts are the extra cherry on top, and tucking is the final touch.

Of course, there are lasses who defy all of these guidelines and pull it off, and power to them! But these guidelines are a good place to start if you are struggling to make it work.