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What are Cropped Jeans?

I tend to be a creature of habit when it comes to clothing. So it’s no surprise that when I spotted cropped jeans at the store the other day, I was a bit skeptical about whether or not I would like them. Today I can happily say that I have found my new favorite style of jeans, and I’m here to tell you exactly why I’m raving about them.

Cropped jeans are a style of denim pants that have been shortened to end 1-2” above the ankle. This is meant to draw attention to the skinniest portion of your legs, making them look long and slender. Cropped jeans come in many different colors and cuts, guaranteeing options are available to fit any style preferences.

There does tend to be some confusion surrounding cropped pants and how to style them, especially if you’re looking for suggestions for your personal body type. In this article, I’ll explain exactly what cropped jeans are, what styles are available, and how to best incorporate these pants into your wardrobe.

What are Cropped Jeans

What Are Cropped Jeans?

Cropped jeans are denim pants deliberately cut so that their hemline falls right above your ankle. This length usually ends somewhere between full-length and capris-length pants typically do. Cropped jeans are most commonly seen as a style option for women, though you will occasionally see these pants available for men and children.

Many people love cropped jeans because they are versatile and can be styled to fit any occasion you need. They can be worn casually with a comfy t-shirt and sandals to give an everyday streetwear look. Alternatively, they can be paired with a blouse, blazer, and heels to make the perfect business casual outfit.

Cropped jeans can fit any body type, though certain cuts and lengths work better for each figure. You’ll always want to be sure to choose the right style of cropped jeans to fit your height and body shape.

What is the Difference Between Cropped and Regular Jeans?

Difference Between Cropped and Regular Jeans

Both cropped and regular jeans are made from denim and come in various styles and cuts. These range from skinny to wide-legged options, low-rise to high-rise waistlines, and a broad selection of denim colors and tones. However, there are some fundamental differences between the two styles that you should know.

Regular jeans are full-length, falling below your ankle and often covering your shoes. Cropped jeans, by comparison, are shorter by a few inches, falling above your ankle by 1-2” on average. These jeans are deliberately shortened to end in this spot, rather than accidentally being too short as ill-fitting regular jeans can be.

Why Are Jeans Cropped?

Many designers crop jeans to fall above the ankle, naturally highlighting the narrowest portion of your leg. Doing this gives you an overall slender appearance and can make your legs look longer than they are. Jeans that fall perfectly above your ankle often have a tailored look, making them seem like they were made just for you.

Cropped jeans also give you a chance to make a statement with your footwear. Many regular jeans partially or fully cover your shoes, keeping them hidden. Cropped jeans, by comparison, draw attention directly to the lower areas of your body, putting your shoes on display for the world to see.

How to Wear Cropped Jeans: 5 Style Tips

How to Wear Cropped Jeans

Wear Shoes That Stand Out

Cropped jeans stop just above your ankles, which causes your shoes to be fully displayed when wearing these pants. The shorter hem of cropped jeans is designed to deliberately draw attention to the lower part of your legs, meaning that your shoes will be one of the first pieces of your outfit noticed by the people around you. You should always spend extra time choosing a pair of shoes that make a statement and help further show off your figure.

Wearing a cute pair of heels is one way to do this. Heels will make you appear taller and your legs appear longer, giving a slimming effect overall. You can choose a strappy heeled sandal for a more casual look or opt for a closed-toe pump for business casual office wear.

If heels aren’t your style, choose a chunky shoe option instead. Shoes with a platform sole and an overall bulkier appearance will help make your ankle look slimmer than it already does. This sort of optical illusion works to accent the cut of your cropped jeans.

Pair the Jeans With a Bold Blouse

Cropped jeans are rather simple in design, pulling in clean lines to give you a slim and sleek appearance. Since the jeans are simple, they work well when paired with a bold blouse. Choose a piece that is bold in color, has a unique design or fabric, or is cropped to show your midriff.

Cropped jeans coordinate well with various clothing styles and aesthetics, giving you the flexibility to create outfits that fit your lifestyle. You can easily pair your cropped jeans with a colorful t-shirt for a casual look or opt for a button-down and a blazer for a business casual option. You can even pair your slim cropped jeans with a bulky sweater for a comfy cool weather outfit.

Tuck in Your Shirt

One of the best ways to accent cropped jeans is by tucking in the front of your shirts. Partially tucking in your shirts gives the illusion that your torso is shorter than it is. If your torso appears shorter, your legs, by comparison, will seem longer than they actually are.

Use a french tuck to shorten your shirts and accent the look of your cropped jeans. A french tuck is simply a stylized way to tuck in only the front part of your shirt while leaving the back loose. You can choose to tuck in all of the front or just tuck one side of the shirt.

Generally speaking, most shirts can and should be tucked into the top of your cropped jeans. This even holds true for sweaters and other bulky options.

However, if you dislike this look, you can style your outfits with your shirt untucked. Just try to stick to tops that aren’t too long since this will make your legs appear shorter. Tunic-style tops are an absolute no-go when it comes to styling cropped jeans.

Go For a Distressed Look

While many cropped jeans aim for a slim and sleek look, choosing options with a distressed finish can add a bit of flair to your wardrobe. Embracing the distressed look in denim is one of the top trends of 2022, and choosing cropped jeans that fit this style will help to cement your place as a fashionista this year. This is especially true if you aren’t a fan of flashy blouses or tops and instead want the jeans themselves to shine.

Look for cropped jeans with a frayed edge at the ankle instead of a clean hem. Alternatively, look for options that have been distressed at the knees or along the upper thighs. You may even find choices that have an acid wash or bleached look.

Choose a Style That Fits Your Body Type

Choosing the right style of cropped jeans is essential for achieving a slim and sleek look. The jeans should be cut to fall right below the thickest part of your leg, which is usually 1-2” above your ankle. This helps to draw the eye to the slenderest part of your leg.

If you are tall and long-legged, choosing slim jeans that fall closer to your ankles will help to accentuate their length. If you are shorter in height, you may want to consider choosing a pair that ends a bit higher above your ankles. On petite legs, cropped jeans cut too low can make their length seem even shorter.

If you have thick or muscular calves, wide-legged jeans will help to draw the eyes away from the larger areas of your legs. You’ll want to choose options that stop right below the thickest area of your calves, to allow a bit more of your lower leg to be visible. Skinny jeans aren’t the best option for thicker calves since they will make the curve of your legs seem more dramatic and draw the eye to your calves instead of your ankles.

Regardless of your body shape, you should always try on your cropped jeans before you purchase them. Where they fall on your legs depends entirely on your height and no two people will fit a pair of cropped jeans the same. If you don’t, you may very well find yourself with a pair of jeans that are way shorter or way longer than you intended.

How Short Should Cropped Jeans Be?

How Short Should Cropped Jeans Be

A good rule of thumb is that your cropped jeans should fall around 1-2” above your ankle. This allows the thinnest portion of your leg to be visible, drawing the eye and making you look slimmer. You want your ankle to be seen entirely when wearing cropped jeans to give the full effect.

This rule can vary from person to person, however. People with longer legs may want the crop closer to their ankles. People with shorter legs may want the crop to be farther away to make their legs look longer. You should always try on cropped jeans before you buy them to ensure they end in the correct spot on your legs.

Are Cropped Jeans in Style in 2022?

Cropped jeans are definitely in style in 2022 and are a modern take on classic cropped pant looks. Their trendiness has been seen in fashion shows around the world. Many designers have turned to the cropped look as the go-to form of streetwear for 2022, styling outfits that range from comfy and casual to professional office wear.

In particular, 2022 style trends for jeans have embraced baggy or wide-legged options with high waists. Frayed hems are also a go-to, so look for these distressed options when choosing your jeans. These elements offer a casual look to cropped jeans, making them a fan favorite this year.

The one thing you’ll want to avoid is cropped jeans that stray too close to being capris. While capris have been in style in previous decades, they haven’t quite made it back to the same level of popularity this year. Stick to options that fall at least ¾ of the way down your legs to keep true to this trend.

How to Wear Cropped Jeans in Winter

How to Wear Cropped Jeans in Winter

Cropped jeans work well all year long if you change up the shirts and shoes you wear with them. In the colder winter months, you’ll want to swap your strappy heels or sandals for closed-toe boots. You won’t want to cover up your ankle, so choose a low-cut bootie.

You can also pair your cropped jeans with a chunky sweater, being sure to still tuck it into the front of your pants. Alternatively, you can cover your warm weather shirts with a cardigan. Stick to cardigans that are shorter in length to help continue the illusion that your torso is short.

This advice holds true when choosing a winter jacket. When wearing your new cropped jeans, you’ll want to avoid winter jackets that fall more than 1-2” below the waist. Long jackets will detract from the overall look achieved by your cropped jeans and will ruin the silhouette.

Instead, pick a short option that keeps you warm while continuing to make your torso look short. Pair it with a cute scarf or one of the many faux fur hats projected to be popular in the winter of 2022.

What is the Difference Between Cropped Jeans and Capris?

Capris and cropped jeans are often confused with one another since neither are full-length. Both styles of pants fall between the knees and the ankles, highlighting the lower portions of your legs. However, there are some fundamental differences between the two that you should know.

Capris first rose in popularity in the 1950s and 1960s. Their popularity has ebbed and flowed over the decades, with the most recent surge being in the mid-2000s. Since then, capris have largely fallen out of favor and have been replaced with more modern options like cropped jeans.

Cropped jeans are made of denim and are cut very similarly to regular jeans. They generally extend at least ¾ of the way down your leg and end roughly 1-2” above your ankle. They are often found in traditional blue denim colors, though other dyed denim options are available.

Capris, by comparison, are not always made of denim. You can find capris made from virtually any fabric commonly used to make pants. They’re often found in cotton blends and come in a seemingly endless variety of patterns and colors.

Capris are also generally much shorter in length than cropped jeans. They tend to end around the halfway point between your knees and ankles, showing off much more of your lower leg.

This length can vary from pair to pair, however. If you head out to a clothing store that caters to all ages, you’ll likely see many styles of shortened pants labeled as capris. However, many are miscategorized since the term is widely used to refer to any pants that aren’t full length.


Cropped jeans have quickly become a staple in many wardrobes and are a style of pants you should try this year. After reading this article, you should now have all the information you need to understand exactly what makes these jeans special. Be sure to refer to this guide for helpful tips and tricks for styling your new look.