The Unconventional History of Cropped Jeans & How To Style Them

The Unconventional History of Cropped Jeans & How To Style Them

The untold story of cropped jeans and our favorite style tips for wearing them all year round.
Plus size women wearing cropped jeans.

Marlena Matute

Denim has been around since the 19th-century, though it wouldn’t be called “jeans” until rivets were introduced to reinforce areas of the pants that could be ripped apart when in use by Levi Strauss in 1873. (Rivets have since become purely decorative.) Originally part of a male worker’s wardrobe due to the fabric’s durability, jeans have become THE closet staple for everyone of all ages and sizes, all around the world.  They made their way into high fashion in the 20th century which is quite surprising given their aforementioned humble origins. This led to the creation of a range of different styles of jeans such as  wide, skinny, relaxed and straight, to name a few.

 

You may be wondering, what’s with the history lesson and when is she going to get to the styling part? Well, the history is important as capris came along first, introduced in 1948 by fashion designer Sonja Lennart. The name is derived from the isle of Capri and it was a piece meant for travel as it could pair well with sandals or be styled up with high heels for a more formal outfit. It wasn’t very long before “capri” became the generic term for any cropped slim-style pants, whether they be made of denim or not.

 

Nevertheless, the style rose to popularity in the late 1950s and early 1960s thanks in part to celebrities like Audrey Hepburn. But once bell bottoms came along in the 1970s, the style became scarce. They would later return to favor in the1990s, (and I’m speaking from experience as I owned quite a few of them back then), before the new millennium came around and basically killed capris for good as they were deemed to be unflattering and frumpy.

 

To make a long story short, cropped jeans are mainstream fashion’s response to the capri. While both are similar in that they are  shorter than full length, there is a clear distinction between the two in that capris end at the calf and cropped jeans go down to the ankles. 

Styling Cropped Jeans With Shoes

Given that cropped jeans are longer than capris they are far more versatile, they can basically be worn all year round due to the perfect range of coverage they provide. They also provide the best silhouette to show off your footwear giving you the opportunity to play with your footwear choices from sandals, heels, mules, sneakers or even showing festive socks. Simply google cropped jeans with boots and you’ll see what I mean.

Styling High Rise Cropped Jeans

Cropped jeans also come in a number of cuts and styles from skinny to wide-legged, mid and high rise, you name it. My personal favorite are the high rise cropped jeans as they help give the illusion of added height which I greatly appreciate as a petite plus babe. I pair mine with a cute crop top and a pair of converse during the spring.Once it starts getting colder I swap the crop top for an oversized sweater, which I usually wear with a french-tuck  to show off the high-waist style of the jeans. Of course if crop tops are totally not your vibe, try a satin, lace trim cami instead with a cardigan for those cooler spring nights.

Styling Straight Cropped Jeans

If this style is not your cup of tea, I recommend trying out straight cropped jeans, they work so well for business casual looks that will get you from work to that happy hour with your bestie seamlessly. Pair it with a crisp blouse and either tie it at the waist or do a half tuck for an effortless yet chic look. Simply add on a blazer or cozy cardigan to carry this style into the colder times of the year. This particular cut is also probably one of the best for showing off your creativity when it comes to footwear through the use of fishnets, ankle-strap heels, or even some graphic socks.

Styling Skinny Cropped Jeans

Skinny cropped jeans on the other hand definitely plays off well for a laid-back casual look. Get your favorite band tee, some chunky white sneakers or a cute tank and chunky sandals to grab brunch with your significant other. Add on a denim or leather jacket, and swap the sneakers for boots to extend the look into the rest of the year.

Honestly there isn’t one set way to style a cropped jean outfit, just have fun with it. I mean that’s part of the history behind this piece to begin with. If you’re looking for a trendy upgrade to your wardrobe these are definitely the jeans for you. Whether you wear it for summer or winter, slim or loose-fitting –  get yourself a pair of cropped jeans this season.

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