Can I Wear Capris If I’m Petite? We Asked a Stylist

They’re one of spring’s biggest trends

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In the early aughts, my 5’2” self was known to don a pair of capris. I had them in neutral colors, but I also vividly remember an electric blue style from Ann Taylor that I wore on repeat to a multitude of school events. (I’d also like to go on the record and say that I still think of them as one of my best-ever looks.) Fast forward a cool twenty years and capris are trending again, but this time, questions swirl: What’s the best way to wear them when you’re petite? We reached out to one of our favorite stylists, Katie Collins, to find out.

Meet the Expert

Katie Collins is a Los Angeles-based wardrobe stylist and creative director whose inspiration has been shaped by decades of travel and street fashion in New York, London and Paris. She’s styled runway shows and editorial shoots for publications like Elle and Harper’s Bazaar and works with A-List actors ranging from Jennifer Aniston to Kerry Washington.

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1. The Hem Should Hit at the Narrowest Part of Your Leg

One of the biggest mistakes petite women can make with a capri pant is to have it hit mid-calf, which is the least flattering point of the leg, Collins explains. This is where tailoring counts for a lot. “Getting the right fit is crucial,” she says. “The best fit is to have the hem fall a few inches above the ankle—almost like it’s more of a cropped silhouette.” Ultimately, the goal is to not cut yourself off by creating a horizontal line at an awkward place, which can make a petite gal appear even shorter. “This is about modifying the traditional capri,” Collins adds. “When you’re petite, any style that hits below the knee or right at the calf is not going to be flattering.”

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2. Opt for a High Waist and a Straight Cut

According to Collins, when you’re petite and dabbling in wearing capris, a more fitted style is ideal. “The silhouette is really crucial and I’d say a straight leg—not a skinny—is the way to go,” she says. “If you choose a capri with a high waist and a slimmer cut throughout the hips, it’s going to deliver a nice clean line all the way down to where it hits a few inches above the ankle, which gives the illusion of height.”

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3. Choose a Fabric That Holds Its Shape

Just like with the fit of your chosen capri, you want to choose a material that won’t add too much volume, Collins says. “Structure counts for a lot when you’re on the shorter side,” she explains. “I love denim or a capri in a trouser fabric. Of course, the goal is to be comfortable, so the right athleisure material could also work, but you want to choose a fabric that holds its shape and doesn’t slouch.”

capris for petites styling tips
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4. Style the Capri with a Top That Falls Right at the Waistline

A billowy blouse, a tank, a fun tee—they all work with a capri pant when you’re petite. The key, says Collins, is to make sure they hit at the waistline or right above. “You don’t want to wear a long T-shirt or a button-down that’s untucked. If you do, this creates another line that cuts you in half at the wrong place,” she describes. This doesn’t mean you can’t tuck a too-long shirt in. “A button-down that’s tucked—or French tucked—is totally cute,” Collins says. “I also love a boatneck tee with a capri. As long as you’re giving the visual of a defined waist with the capri pant, it works.”

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5. For Shoes, Prioritize the Negative Space

Spring and summer are coming—the perfect time to wear a capri. “Sandals are the ideal shoe to pair with a capri since they create a bit of space between that above-the-ankle hem,” Collins says. Other options: a flat, a wedge, anything that’s strappy. “The more that’s showing off a bit of skin on the bottom, the better.”

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