How to wear cropped trousers

Older woman sitting on a beach wearing cropped white trousers

For warm summer evenings, breezy days out and casual strolls into town, cropped trousers can be worn for any occasion. Often loose-fitting and finishing just below the calf, they are versatile enough to be dressed up with heels or worn with a casual t-shirt for a dressed-down look.

It can be difficult to know exactly how to wear cropped trousers due to their unique length. Stopping above the ankle but below the knee, they are the perfect garment for those who wouldn’t necessarily opt for shorts but are still comfortable showing a bit of leg.   

With summer fast approaching, the shops are starting to stock up on a variety of trousers in a range of different colours, lengths and widths. With so much choice at your disposal, it’s important to select the right pair for you. This guide will help you identify which cropped trousers will be the most flattering, how to accessorise them and the various ways in which they can be styled. 

 ●     Choose the correct length   

Just one inch can make a difference to how flattering cropped trousers look. Find a pair where the hem stops at the slimmest part of your leg, which is usually just below your calf. Attention is drawn to the line created by the trousers, so experiment with different lengths and see what looks best.   

 ●     Wear a shorter or tucked-in top   

People often find that wearing cropped trousers can have a shortening effect, hence why balance is key. Shorter tops naturally make legs look longer, especially if your trousers are high waisted. If you don’t own any shorter tops, try tucking in a longer one to create the same effect.   

 ●     Opt for neutrals   

As cropped trousers can be voluminous, darker and more neutral colours are the most slimming, such as black, navy, grey and taupe. These refined shades will create a sophisticated overall appearance, especially when paired with light-coloured tops. 

What shoes to wear with cropped trousers

You can create several variations of an outfit by pairing these trousers with different shoes. Luckily, cropped trousers look great with most styles of shoe, as long as there is enough space between the shoe and the hemline - so no knee-high boots! Instead, choose to wear one of the following styles depending on the occasion:   

●     Heels   

Opt for a mid or high heel if you’re dressing up for a smart event. Courts, especially pointed designs, reveal more skin so are great for drawing attention to the ankle and elongating your legs. Wearing cropped trousers gives you the perfect opportunity to show off your favourite pair of shoes, so if your outfit is understated, why not dress your feet in something bolder and more daring?   

●     Flats   

From casual days out to sophisticated evening meals, choose the right pair of pumps and you’re good to go. If you want to get dressed up but remain comfortable, ballerina shoes, dolly shoes and loafers are the stylish flat alternatives to heels. If you’re going for a more casual look, cropped trousers go with the likes of leisure and hiker shoes, as well as sandals.   

 ●    Trainers   

Whether you’ll be wearing them for style, convenience or comfort, trainers should be your go-to option if you’re not sure what to wear with your cropped trousers. Chunky trainers provide extra comfort, so are ideal for those who prefer a bigger sole and like the extra height. If the chunkier styles aren’t for you, then consider timeless plimsolls.  

How to style cropped trousers

You can achieve any look you desire with cropped trousers - all you need to know is how to style them accordingly. For instance, pull off a relaxed and playful appearance by pairing some cream linen cropped trousers with a yellow or purple t-shirt and some casual brown sandals. Or, for a classy evening meal, navy trousers can be styled with a patterned silk top and strappy coloured heels. There are many other ways cropped trousers can be styled too.   

●     Layer cropped trousers with a cardigan, kimono or jacket     

Shorter jackets are flattering when paired with cropped trousers as they can accentuate the length of your legs in comparison to your torso. Fitted moto or denim jackets create an edgier look, whereas cardigans are ideal for an overall casual and comfortable outfit. For more formal occasions, silk or chiffon kimonos are the perfect finishing touch.   

●     Add fun accessories to complement your outfit

Dress up your cropped trousers with a pair of wedges, statement necklace and a woven bag for the ultimate summer ensemble. The easiest way to accessorise is to match your shoes with your bag, whether that’s a red or gold coloured clutch bag and heeled courts for a classy evening or a large black tote bag paired with comfortable black loafers for a shopping trip.   

●     Experiment with brightly coloured trousers

You don’t always have to stay safe with neutral coloured cropped trousers. Enter the summer months instead with brighter shades, such as red, green and blue. You can pair any bright colour with a casual white t-shirt and sunglasses for a relaxed, chic vibe.      

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