The Long and the Short of It!

When did so many different lengths in women’s pants become popular? It doesn’t seem as long ago as the 60’s and 70’s, but that’s what I’ve read. We, gals, began as pants

This is today's rendition of the pedal pusher. Mine had more flare to the legs.

This is today’s rendition of the pedal pusher. Mine had  flared  legs.

wearers by feeling quite chic in full length pants, the ones that actually had a rise that went all the way to the waist, now we think the high rise looks dumpy. I do remember, as a kid, wearing what we called “pedal pushers.” At the time I liked them, but now when I look back at photos of me wearing them, I think, “awful.”

I remember my husband’s reaction to women wearing such random length pants. Although, women were raving about them being so cool and comfortable, he thought they looked “awful.” (He has an opinion about everything.) I confess, that I don’t like the looks of wide-legged pants cut off somewhere below mid-calf.

It’s funny what you can get used to. I will wear capris and now my husband doesn’t see

Choose your length. These are too flared to suit me.

Choose your length. These are too flared to suit me.

them as unusual. Let’s face it, though, when they are worn, a leg shortening effect comes into play while the elongated leg is what we want to achieve. When the hems are flared and not flush against the leg, you lose the vertical effect and the eye is drawn horizontally. The solution here is to keep the hems tapered. This I do.

I checked with an expert on the subject of complimentary pant length and you may be surprised at what I learned. She told how she cringed while in a dressing room of a store and overheard a woman tell a tailor to hem her capri pants9pants to an in-between length so she could wear them with flats or heels. The length of pants is important to her because if it is too long it can look messy and ill-fitting while too short can cut off leg lines and look choppy. So just what is the best way to go here?

Another factor has been brought into the picture, heel height of the shoes we wear. The subject is getting more complicated than I thought. However, I am well aware that you can’t wear flats with pants long enough to look good with heels. With heels, the hem of the pant should be about half

Too long and just right.

Too long and just right.

an inch above the ground, or just enough to not drag when you walk. Although we’ve all seen ragged jean pant legs being walked on. With flats, pant legs should be high enough to not rub the floor. However, not to discourage you, there is a pant length that does work well with flats or heels. Let’s try it on for size.

They are cropped/ankle pants. They hit right above the ankle bone. They should have a

Ankle pants, a more becoming look.

Ankle pants, a more becoming look.

slim leg and be tapered at the ankle, otherwise you will end up with capri pants. These look great with heels as they create a long leg line as well as adding a hint of skin. Ankle pants also showcase pretty flats as the pant leg is not covering the shoe.

So, we really are getting somewhere here as we take the advice of a professional on attire. But wait a minute! Can we accept her next suggestion? Here it is: “Never Wear Capris- Never !” Why? Because, she believes, capri pants cut off around mid-calf and give everyone an awkward leg line. She even goes so far as to say that even if your office is 100 degrees, resist the temptation and just wear a skirt.

Sorry, capri lovers. That’s only one expert’s opinion. I’ve read others that believe a woman can look stylish in capris. Although I wear them, I’m inclined to agree with our first expert. What I personally like best are slim pants that are tapered to the top of the shoe. What about you? I hope you will write and tell me what you think about this subject in this week’s Shirl and You.

I wonder what our expert would think of these?

I wonder what our expert would think of these?

2 thoughts on “The Long and the Short of It!

  1. That’s a word from the past…pedal pushers. We wore short shorts. Though I was more comfortable with a 4-5 inches on my shorts. I like the pants in your first pic the best…but most women looked really nice in whatever pants they chose. A combination shorts and skirt…a skort…which I called coulots. I liked wearing those.


    • Hi Karen: You don’t hear the word culotte very often these days. The skort was always a very conservative way to dress, but you don’t see then very often either. Always appreciate your comments on shirandyou, I’ll look for it next time.


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