I can't stand cropped trousers. No, there it is, I simply can't. I agonized over this blog post and finally decided, Fashionable Reader, that I owed you honesty. This is, of course, my opinion, if you are a fan of the crop than you should wear it. But . . .
I have dabbled in every single one of the styles I discuss herewith. Most, I eventually rejected. Like the middi skirt, I feel the capri foreshortens me by chopping me at the calf. I believe wholeheartedly that just above or just below the knee is a far more more flattering look. I'm only 5'6" and curvy, a cropped pant is just Not Good. Often they are even unflattering on models.
I think the rail skinny pixie-type can carry them off, like Audrey Hepburn. But I don't look like her, and neither does most everyone else on this earth. The tall girl (5"8'+) can sometimes work a capri, but please make certain you stick to only a few inches below the knee (otherwise it looks like you just bought pants that were too short).
Now, a word on the subject of definitions:
- Clam diggers
- Pedal pushers
- Cropped pants
- Breeches (as opposed to britches or jodhpurs)
Department stores tend to file any pant that ends below the knee and before the ankle as a capri. Since I'd rather avoid department store lingo, I'm going to ignore that word altogether from here on out. We will broach each style with a look at both vintage and modern takes, ending with my suggestion of what you might choose, if you simply MUST wear a cropped trouser.
The general idea behind breeches is that they are slightly baggy at the top and then come in tight at or just below the knee, then then end or stay tight down to the ankle.
I own a few pairs of breeches, both with a very equestrian look to them. One is part of a 1930s riding suit in grey with matched blazer, very Madame Lefoux. The other are light-weight tan that I have been known to wear them to ride a bicycle. (Sadly, I've no pictures of either.) In general, I prefer to pair this style with riding boots and use for more casual steampunk events. If you are going to go for breeches, try something like this . . .
Sigh, is there anything good that can be said of clam diggers? I tend to throw this term at any pair of baggy cropped pants either shortened or (more commonly) cuffed/rolled. So unflattering.
If you must wear clam diggers, do it for digging clams. If you are quite slender and tall, you might be able to carry of this retro take, but proceed with caution!
If there is any style is dislike more than clam diggers it's culottes. They are very wide legged, cut short anywhere after the knee and to the ankle, can be quite skirt-like. Ugh.
I would not sleep well tonight if I suggested, in good conscious, that anyone ever wear culottes. But if you must, go all the way to vintage and don't look back.
I use this phrase to refer to any mensware inspired trouser that is then cut short, usually just above the ankle. To me this kind of trouser has the look of someone who just didn't buy the right length.
|Ralph Lauren 2011 Fall Runway|
Besides being fun to say, knickerbockers are quite baggy and come in tight at the knee. Traditionally worn by paperboys, they still have that feel. They were also worn for gentlemen sporting events, hunting and fishing, a so have a strong tweed association. Sometimes, unfortunately, they are still worn for golf.
They tend to be baggier than breaches and don't have the longer cuff. I own a pair of black which, again, I mainly use for steampunk and bicycle riding. If you are going to wear knickerbockers, you'll always look a little costumey . . run with it.
This is a style I might wear. I don't own any but I wouldn't say no right away, as I do with most cropped trousers. I tend to define them as tighter and almost legging-like. I would go for ones that ended just below the knee, and I'd wear them with heals.
If you wear pedal pushers, I suggest going retro with the whole look. Otherwise they can seem too sloppy and lazy. A knit top instead of a t-shirt and a simple scarf tied about your head can make all the difference. For example if you are on the pixie end of the spectrum . . .
And not this, far too hoochie . . .
Of if you are bit more statuesque and of Alexia's proportions, try something like this . . .
As opposed to this (which just looks like PJs) . . .
Though I might wear pedal pushers to poodle around at the beach or a picnic, it's unlikely, even if I find the perfect pair, that I will ever wear them to an event. In the end, I'm on the look out for something on the following lines.
Notice that both pairs I chose end near the knee.
Which brings me to my final thoughts. No matter what your look or size, in my mind the most flattering form of a cropped throuser is something that ends just below the knee. This look can be chic and modern even work appropriate, ultra retro, or punky cute. To that end I leave you with three of my favorites, hoping that if you are hellbent on the cropped trouser that you consider these options first . . .
Next up for Retro Rack, if I have time before I leave for Reno WorldCon, I'll show you what I've been working on for the Girl Genius Ball.