Wide crops are roomy from thigh to hem and fitted on the hips and waist. The roomy fit on the leg varies from silhouette to silhouette. Some are gently A-line, and others a lot more voluminous. Wide crops are also known as culottes and gauchos, come in all sorts of fabrics, and are relatively structured. Lengths vary from just below the knee to a couple of inches above the ankle bone. Generally, I like these at least three inches above the ankle bone to offset some of the leg volume.
Today’s outfit formula is about denim wide crops across any wash. It’s predictable to pair wide crops with heels because leg volume lends itself to wanting to lengthen the leg line in some way — and heels are an easy way to do that. But flats up to an inch in heel height are usually a more comfortable footwear choice, and these days a very trendy one too.
There are multiple ways to lengthen the leg line when pairing wide crops with flats, which I’ll examine with some visual examples. There is no need to feel dumpy, stumpy and flat-footed in wide crops and flats if you style them in a deliberate way.
1. Wide Crops, Cropped Jacket & Pointy Flats
The most effective way to lengthen the leg line when wearing flats is to lengthen bottoms from the hem and hips upwards. That means shortening the crops a little more than two inches above ankle bone (three inches is fine), and showcasing the waistband by wearing a short top, or semi-tucking and fully tucking a regular length top. Here the model is wearing a tucked top, which shortens the torso and thereby lengthens the leg line. The cropped jacket further accentuates the length of the leg line by drawing the eye upward from its hem. Pointy toes do a great job of elongating the lower leg line without wearing heels.
2. Wide Crops, Fitted Top & High-Vamped Footwear
Don’t worry if you don’t like tucking and semi-tucking tops. Wear a fitted top in a regular length to offset the volume of the wide crops. To lengthen the leg line, keep the top low contrast to the bottoms, which the model is NOT doing here, but you get the idea. If her top was dark like the bottoms, the visual effect would be more vertical. Make sure the crops aren’t too long either. Throw in a pair of low-contrast high-vamped shoes like oxfords, loafers or sneakers to lengthen the lower leg line. This is a great version for those who are short-waisted, or don’t like to tuck tops.
3. Wide Crops, Fluid Shirt & Sandals
These wide crops are shorter, which tempers the volume and adds structure right away. They’re more streamlined in the leg, which adds further structure. An oversized shirt is structured with a semi-tuck, which in turn lengthens the leg line by shortening the waist. Open footwear like sandals adds further structure because showing skin adds structure.
4. Wide Crops, Volume & Sandals
Combining wide crops with a voluminous top is an acquired taste because the outfit is quite unstructured, which makes you look wider than your natural shape. That said, it’s just-structured-enough because there is subtle structure in the right places. First, the shorter wide crops offset their volume. Second, the diagonal hem of the top offsets the horizontally cutting line that would have been created with a straight hem, which in turn creates some vertical integrity. Third, open footwear like sandals add further structure.
I LOVE my denim wide crops. I’ve only had them for three years and I only wear them in Summer because the denim is thin. I recently wore a version of the first look here by combining wardrobe golden oldies. The short top and topper do a great job of lengthening the leg line from the hips up. The low-contrast flat loafers lengthen the lower leg.
Here are the exact items of the outfit from my wardrobe.