How to Style Capris in 2023 (and Not Like It’s 2003)

Plus, one thing you should avoid at all costs

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Y2K fashion trends continue to pop up on our TikTok and Instagram feeds. And though we were delighted to see tracksuits and baguette bags make a comeback, never in a million years did we think that capris would return. As some of you may recall, capri pants cut off at the ankles—making them an awkward length that’s not too short, nor long enough. It was a fashion choice that had mixed reviews the first time around, so we tapped two stylists to share how we can rock capris in 2023 and not look like we just came out of a 2003 sitcom.

Meet the Experts:

  • Mecca James-Williams is a NYC-based stylist and ambassador for Marshalls and TJ Maxx. She specializes in styling and content creation and offers creative direction for publications like The Zoe Report, Wall Street Journal, Bustle and Essence. Her previous clients include Solange Knowles, Zawe Ashton and Michaela Coel.
  • Kennedy Crichlow is a style expert and content creator based in Los Angeles. She is also the co-founder of Daily Drills, an athleisure fashion brand that sells workout gear, loungewear and accessories. She has over five years experience working in marketing, brand strategy and digital media.
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Why Are Capris Trending Again?

Why Are Capris Trending Again?

Capri pants were a fashion staple in the ‘90s and early ‘00s with everyone from Jennifer Lopez to Anne Hathaway wearing them. More recently, we’ve seen trendsetting celebs like Gigi Hadid wear them in New York, fashion brands showing them off on the runways and TikTokers debating whether "Carrie Bradshaw Capris” or “Destiny's Child capris" are cooler.

How to Wear Capris in 2023

“I feel like people are styling capris in a relatively similar way to the early-2000s, with some slight changes such as more high-rise styles, more capri-cut athleisure and less of the ‘skirts-over-pants’ trend that created disproportional looks in the past. In street style, I’m seeing people pair their capris with cute crop tops, big belts and kitten heels, all of which have proven to be timeless,” says James-Williams. Ahead, six additional styling tips to follow and one to avoid at all costs, so you can rock capris the modern way.

how to style capris a woman wearing all black outfit
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1. Reach for a Classic Pair

We can all agree that black goes with pretty much anything, which is why a nice pair of black capris will fit right into your existing wardrobe. James-Williams recommends pairing them with a crisp white button down, a boxy blazer and kitten heels (or clogs) for a chic, sophisticated look. While we can definitely see this look working for the office, you can also make it a more casual fit by swapping the button down for a printed blouse or adding a bold accessory like Thassia Naves above.

how to style capris a model with denim capris
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2. Or Grab a Denim Pair Instead

We’re already predicting that cuffed hems are making a comeback—and denim capris are not far behind. As Crichlow explains, a straight- or wide-leg pair with a raw hem is a great choice to get away from the iterations we saw throughout the early aughts. “They go with everything and will never go out of style. I probably wear denim five out of seven days of the week,” she says. “Plus, denim capris are perfect for anyone who is slowly dipping their toes into the capri trend, as it looks great on all body types.” Pair yours with a graphic tee or a cropped cardigan for a chic outfit that can transition easily from day to night.

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3. Swap Out Your Heels for Comfy Sneakers

This tip is for all of the folks who typically prefer wearing sneaks over towering heels. “For a casual look, that will keep you comfortable and chic for a day of running errands, I’d style a pair of capris with a staple white tank top and some running shoes,” says James-Williams. Whether you prefer Nike high tops or Hoka running sneakers, a fashionable pair can make the whole look stylish yet functional for the day.

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4. Indulge in a Bold Socks and Loafers Combo

Speaking of functional footwear, loafers are another great option to spice up your look this season. Add some relaxed capris pants and colorful socks to the mix and you’ll have yourself a winner (without looking like you’re a cast member of Hamilton). “I love the little show of skin between a sock and pant hem. It makes the outfit feel ten times more playful,” says Crichlow. “While ballet flats definitely took over 2023, I personally lean towards loafers because I like the look of a chunky shoe.”

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how to style capris a model with blazer and denim capris
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5. Play Around with Silhouettes

Fact: The best part about fashion is being able to experiment with your look. “The most important part about styling capris is making sure your full look is balanced by mixing oversized silhouettes with more fitted styles,” explains James-Williams. The stylist recommends pairing denim capris with a basic tee and an oversized blazer, as “it complements the slim fit of the bottoms.” Don’t be afraid to play around with various sizes, designs and patterns to find a combination that works for you.

how to style capris crop top
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6. Invest in a Boxy Crop Top

While we’re playing around with silhouettes, we’d like to point out that a boxy crop top is a great addition to have in your wardrobe. “I like to style capris by pairing them with a boxy crop top to show a bit of waist. It’s definitely a staple of mine since it looks good with everything and is always flattering!” says Crichlow. “In 2023, it’s all about quiet luxury, so wearing a simple tee with a good pair of capris and some chunky gold jewelry will never miss.”

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7. Avoid Wearing a Long Shirt

Apologies to Jacquetta Wheeler above, but we’re leaving this style in the ‘00s (especially as a petite gal). “In my opinion, the worst thing you can do when styling capris is pairing them with a long shirt. The cropped style of capris can make your legs appear short, so the last thing you want to do is make them look even shorter with a long top!” says Crichlow.

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Chelsea Candelario

Associate Editor, Ultimate Fangirl, Aspiring Beauty Guru

Chelsea Candelario is an Associate Editor at PureWow. She has been covering beauty, culture, fashion and entertainment for over a decade. You'll find her searching the internet...
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