WIW: the study of cropped pants disaster

OK, they are not technically cropped, just cuffed jeans  - and on pair of culottes - but still the same rules apply, right? I was thinking of getting real cropped pants as a wildcard this season but I think I need to learn about proportions first and what makes them work.
I came to the conclusion that cropped pants are hard to pull off is you have thick ankles and heavy calves (like I do). Sure  they wold work with heels but I don't wear heels very often so they need to work with flats and low heels for me.
So what do you think of pic 1? I think the first outfit with grey skinnies is the most flattering even though the pant length is not ideal according to Angie's tips (above ankle but less than 4in). Maybe because white oxfords are lower contrast to grey jeans than brown loafers with the white jeans in the second outfit? As for the 3rd outfit I think I should have not worn a long vest with long culottes AND flat loafers together. I think the whole look is as close to frump as they come!
I also tried a whole bunch of cropped pants in the mall today and was not thrilled how they look on me at all (see the point above on the thick ankles). I did buy one pair of Express black ankle pants today for work but maybe it was a mistake...

pics 2 and 3 show other outfits I wore last week - before the weather turned to 30C basically overnight! Not a disaster but nothing special either...same old, same old...
I feel pretty discouraged with dressing lately - maybe I am in the rut but everything seems boring to me. Maybe I have lost "my touch" or maybe I am ready for a change but just don't know what should it be? Being very busy with other things from my life does not help either :-( I just packed for 4 day business trip and oh boy! I could not put things together! It was painful... loosing my touch for sure! :-(

OK, rant over, thank you for listening! :-)
Maybe I feel better tomorrow?

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Sal replied 5 years ago

    I think Pic One looks great, I personally like this length on you!!  I think this is a great casual run around look.  

    I think 2 is okay but not up to your usual high standard...maybe lighter shoes?

    3......that is a definite no!

    You are such an elegant and stylish dresser as shown in the other looks you posted, I especially like the black dress, it is so flattering.

  • AJ replied 5 years ago

    I'm still trying to figure out cropped pants myself. I do like the first look. I think you should try the second one again with the gray oxfords. Maybe for culottes, knee length suits you best?

    Love the dress outfit! I think that look is quite special and should be on your repeat list. You have NOT lost your touch.

  • Sal replied 5 years ago

    In looking again Sveta I think the first look hits you on a narrower part of your lower calf/upper ankle and that is why it works so well.  That is about the point I like my crop pants to hit too.  I also have a muscular calf and I think shorter pants only emphasise this.  

  • Vildy replied 5 years ago

    I like the left outfit in both #1 and #2.  Even though you're tall and said you had lost weight fairly recently, you still have hips. You can't tell that in some of the other pix where the silhouette/hemline of the top pieces gives a boxier look. I think maybe boxier needs something really edgy and intentional - in your face - in order to contradict the dreaded frumpiness factor. :D  I can't tell anything about the ankles but if even the camera with its added virtual pounds can't make your calves look heavy then I feel that they're not heavy.

  • Jeweled replied 5 years ago

    Sveta, I always enjoy your outfit posts - you have a definite sense of style.

    In photo 1, for the first outfit (blush sweater, light gray pants) you mainly need a dark element in your outfit, to connect with your dark hair.  It can be one small area of dark - a long dark necklace, or a thin dark scarf, or dark shoes, etc.  Try adding one small dark element to that outfit and see if it suddenly looks like the whole outfit suits you better.

    And by the way, that pale blush sweater is a fantastic fit on you!

  • lyn67 replied 5 years ago

    I like the one on the left in nr. 1.  Then, I know, I will be the spammer here, but I would only roll the pants only once (or thinner and  x2), so as  close to the ankle as possible, esp. when worn with flats. This  is a length it works for me, and have thick calves, too:-). Trick is to not  having hems where our bodies are  the wider (and this is a great generic rule).

    BTW other 2 picties are great, I just cannot understand how/why are you feelin' you've lost your mojo, this certainly never shows up in your picties!! Hugs!:-)

  • Ledonna N. replied 5 years ago

    Your mojo will return I promise. I think that even the best of us fall into a rut. We may need to take a break or approach the situation from a different angle.

    Now for the crops:

    1-1 hits you at the sweet spot right below the calf
    1-2&3 not so much the roll is not hitting the calf at the same place.
    1-3 I bet it is just the proportions try again following Angie's advice. You will get it.

    The other two fits are very stylish.

    Remember fashion and style are supposed to be fun. it is ok to give yourself permission to have an off day or two or 39. As long as you don't walk out of the house in curlers an house shoes your good.

  • UmmLila replied 5 years ago

    Maybe not loafers with thr cropped pants.

  • Daria replied 5 years ago

    Oh Sveta, I think your cropped pants are far from being a disaster. :)
    Grey skinnies are great, white jeans are fine too, although I would experiment with other shoes (white?). Culottes I would leave for the occasions when you do wear some sort of heel - it will probably work out much better.
    Outfits in #2 and #3 are as elegant as usual, but maybe missing a splash of color for spring/summer?

  • shevia replied 5 years ago

    Agree that the first cropped outfit looks good. I am an avowed flats lover, but still prefer some sort of heel with culottes. Your other two outfit are fab. I like the dress without the scarf and jacket in particular.

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    Outfit 1 is super fab! I think what makes it work is the (relative) delicacy of the shoe. It does not have to be heeled if it has a true almond or pointed toe and it is light in colour to lower the contrast. 

    I think the "heel" with culottes can be nominal -- maybe an inch and a half. But I know footwear options are a major issue for your size. So frustrating. 

    The dress outfit is out of this world gorgeous on you!! WOW. 

    I have been feeling a bit the same about my closet lately. I had not shopped between November and March apart from the ill fated butt-vest and some long underwear/ replacement jeans. And now I am all at sea. But no wonder with the weather we are having!! 

  • donnat replied 5 years ago

    The first 2 look awsome. And the dress, is killer. You are definately not loosing your touch.

  • Nebraskim replied 5 years ago

    Your analysis on cropped pants was like a lightbulb moment for me. I have NEVER like them on me and the thick calves thing describes me. Also, I'm on the tall side (not as tall as you) and feel like cropped pants are just another "failed to find long enough pants so settled out of desperation." My goal is to find a pair of crops that I don't hate, then just wear them until my eye adjusts. I want them to look intentional, not accidental. I love the look on others, though, so it may just be that you and I have yet to find the right pants for our style. I also struggle with the shoe issue as heels are not my style due to fussy feet. Still, I am on the hunt to wear what I feel is not a trend but an established style. Thanks for providing me with food for thought.

  • replied 5 years ago

    I was going to say exactly what Umlilla said - maybe it's the shoes.  I wonder if "breaking" the new high vamp footwear "rule" might help here . A more delicate or open shoe might give a whole different look.....??  Just musing here.  

  • Taffy replied 5 years ago

    I'm eagerly looking forward to all analysis on cropped pants that shows up on this thread. I think it's great Sveta to be open about our failures and down days as well as the triumphs because everyone has them! At 6' I have been ignoring and waiting for the cropped pants trend to go away because it just makes me feel like the teenager that can't find long enough pants all over again. I finally bough a pair and am slowly embracing it, so hearing everyone else's learning curve is very helpful!

  • jackiec replied 5 years ago

    I can't comment on the pants length bc it's a tough one for me too. Just chiming in to say you could never lose your touch - your style is unbeatable. Your outfit with the dress is out of this world.

  • replied 5 years ago

    Edited post below

  • texstyle replied 5 years ago

    #1 seems spot on perfect for you Sveta - I like the large cuff, the light shoes and the light color of the pants. It looks fantastic!  I think #2 would be great with light toned shoes and #3 maybe slightly better with similar  (less obvious) shoes.

  • replied 5 years ago

    The first one is the best. You look great in simple, bold versions of virtually every outfit theme I've ever seen you try. I think that might be what I like less about the third version. It's just too complicated and the silhouette isn't defined enough.
    I really like the cropped look for you, it's cooler to wear and refreshing for the viewer, and I don't think it's necessary to have crazy dainty ankles to look great. You already have three helpful advantages of height, long legs, and overall slenderness.
    And I'm looking at the photos and just not seeing heavy calves at all.

  • Aziraphale replied 5 years ago

    I agree with you, pic 1 is good. You are tall with long legs, so even though cropped pants with flats is leg shortening (it is on EVERYONE), you can get away with it, lucky gal. :-)

    In the third outfit, the crops are too wide, I think, so they are extra leg shortening. You would need to wear them with heels, and perhaps not such a long vest. Showing more of the culottes should cut you off less.

    As for pics 2 and 3, you look SMASHING. Stylish, elegant, the whole kit!

  • Style Fan replied 5 years ago

    I prefer the gray pants in the first picture.  I think it is a personal preference.  I don't think your ankles or calves look big from the photos.  Certainly when I look at photos of you I am noticing how elegant you look.  I like the photos of you in the dress and booties.  You look amazing there.

  • Angie replied 5 years ago

    What Azirapahle said.

    All the cropped outfits work, Sveta. But some renditions are more flattering than others. It's a question of contrast. 

    #1 - The entire look is low contrast. Slam dunk. 

    #2 - Gorgeous. You tucked the top to lengthen the leg line. JFE for sure. If you wore blue jeans here - the effect would be even more flattering because they are lower contrast than the white. (Pointy toe loafers also do a great job of narrowing a wider ankle). If you wear the jeans a little longer with low contrast shoes - you'll get a longer leg line. That's because those proportions and colours look more continuous on the leg. 

    #3 - Actually very fashionable. It's the footwear making the combination look a little off to your eye though. Too high contrast, bold and round toe with the rest of the pieces and larger expanse of bare leg. Try the new nude shoes. OR, wear a dark shirt to lower the contrast of the entire line of the outfit. 

  • Beth Ann replied 5 years ago

    Love the last look with the dress and booties -- the bare leg looks balanced to me with your sleeves scrunched.  As someone with larger lower legs, I know exactly what you mean about the difficulty in making these proportions work.  I find that heavier ankle straps and booties work well for me, making my legs look curvy, rather than heavy.  I see this in your last look.

    Like everyone else, I think the 1st look is terrific for a day off, and the length is perfect and flattering.   Actually, your height gives you an edge with cropped lengths generally.  Don't be afraid to take advantage of it!

    As for style ruts --- I think this sensation often comes when we have a really smooth running wardrobe.  Everything works.   And we start to crave the next frontier!  As a musician, I have to learn to deal with a lot of this restlessness.  If I were in your shoes, I'd start playing with inspiration boards, and I'd give myself a few challenges -- much like you've just done with the crop experiment.  Just to shake the tree a bit and move things forward.

    In the meantime --- you look sleek, stylish, and consistently fab!

  • Janet replied 5 years ago

    I'm sympathizing with the "lost my mojo" feeling -- I had that a couple of months ago, but felt better once I was back at home and had a little change of season to help me feel like things were not getting so stale. Trust me, it's not apparent from your photos, but I know the feeling. 

    As for the cropped pants, I love the first outfit with the cuffed jeans -- you can absolutely do this silhouette. I would like the second version better with a lower vamp or lower contrast or slightly heeled shoe -- I think the flat, high-vamp, high-contrast shoe is the problem there. 

  • Elizabeth P replied 5 years ago

    I'm not sure you could ever lose your mojo.  Just like Janet couldn't either :)

    You're experimenting, trying something new, heading into a new season and probably wanting to add a bit of spark rather than pulling out the "same 'ole" you wore last year.  You can expert to have some less than perfect combos along with some real winners.  Consider it the fun of learning!

    I'm with the crowd on really liking #1 on you.  And as a fellow heavy calfer, having the pants hit that Exact Spot is SO important.  And the dress is amazing.

  • Gaylene replied 5 years ago

    I can relate to everything you've said about working with (ahem) ATHLETIC legs ( sounds so much better than heavy calves and thick ankles, don't you think?). In my case, I've the extra issue of proportionally shorter legs between my knees and ankles to cope with so I really need to use all the leg-lengthening tricks I can to make this style work for me.

    As others have mentioned, finding that sweet spot is vital, and, just to complicate things, I've discovered the sweet spot on my leg varies depending on the shape/width of the pant leg, the colour of the pant and shoe, the height of the heel, the style of the shoe, and what is going on with the rest of the outfit. Whew! That nonchalant look, cropped-leg look takes a LOT of trial and error.

    My only suggestion would be to follow the instincts you've employed in creating the first outfit: low contrast between pant, ankle, and shoe; shoe style that connects pant and leg (ankle strap or high vamp); slim pant leg; interest on the top to draw the eye up instead of down; a top that ends at the high hip, or is semi-tucked to show the rise; clean silhouette to create a linear effect; and, as a last resort, a bit of a heel.

    And, if you've lost your style mojo, all I can say is that means there is absolutely no hope for the rest of us. Your doldrums are my inspirations, Sveta.

  • Firecracker replied 5 years ago

    It's interesting to read the replies, here, Sveta, because I struggle with these issues somewhat, too (though I don't yet have culottes). I like the first outfit on you the best of the cropped pants looks, and I can see how Angie's and Aziraphale's suggestions would improve the other two. Great learning opportunity!
     I would describe my legs and ankles the same way you describe yours. And of course, I never for a moment thought you had the same leg challenges I have! Funny how that works, huh?
    You look truly stunning in the dress and long trouser outfits!

  • Sveta replied 5 years ago

    Thank you all for playing along with me! Sorry it took so long for me to reply but I left on a business trip yesterday morning which involved a long day of driving and no Internet.
    You comments and insights are invaluable. Cropped pants are a challenge to me but I am determijned to get them right in the end :-0
    As for the picture with the culottes: I wore a similar outfit last fall withthe same culottes and loafers and it looked fine. The difference was the semi-tucked yellow turtleneck instead of blue shirt and shorter brown jacket instead of the long vest. I also wore culottes with the long vest and heeled boots in winter and looked good too, Tha't why I think it is a combination of the flat round toe loafers AND long topper which makes it not JFE. I will dig out the other pictures when I am home on the weekend and will post for comparison  - culotte study in action! :-0

    And thank you for the moral support on my feeling down in the style department! I think it may be the combination of the abrupt weather change from cool to extra hot and the state of my hot weather wardrobe. After my weight loss last year I have replenished the cool weather capsule but my summer capsule is seriously lacking. I will be using Suz's thread for education and inspiration and the new brilliant Finds feature to catalogue my wardrobe so it is easier to troubleshoot the problems.

    Sorry again that I am not able to answer here to everyone - need to run to work and when on the road my work days are 12 hours long :-(

    Love you  all!!!

  • UK Sue replied 5 years ago

    I realise I am late in responding to this but I just wanted to say that along with Angie fabulousness, your posts (and those from Suz) were the ones that really caught my eye when I first started following YLF some time ago. So ladies I just wanted to echo Gaylene and say keep on going rocking any rocky patch - though the wobble is not particularly obvious to me!
    On a practical level, I have fussy feet like you and have to stick to flats. I lack your fabulous long legs and have always struggled with the cuffed idea. I am wondering whether another aspect to why the grey jean/white oxfords works so well, along with the slightly longer length jean roll, the narrower leg, and lower contrast, is that the vamp on the shoe is tight and high and so hits your foot where it narrows into the ankle. This is the visually narrowest point on the foot from the front and might also help streamline the look?

  • Sara L. replied 5 years ago

    I really like the first outfit with crops and the dress and booties.  I have never noticed you having thick calves so you must get the proportions right in all your outfits.  I always have some style troubles when the weather switches (whether that's from cold to hot or from hot to cold).  It takes me some time to adjust to different silhouettes, different shoes, etc.  Hopefully you'll get your style mojo back soon.

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