A little people watching on Market Square on a blazing Saturday morning will reveal what local women are wearing this summer. You’ll see a lot of shorts, especially on young women. There will be a plethora of dresses on women from 16 to 96, and a few pairs of blue jeans will stand out. But what outnumbers everything else — even though it’s baking hot — is the cropped pant (also called an ankle pant). Ankle pants end just above the ankle and are typically made of colored denim. Some are hemmed and some end in a raw, frayed edge.
One summer favorite, however, is harder to find. What has happened to the once ubiquitous capri? Ten years ago, even five years ago, they were everywhere. Now women in their 30s, 40s and even 50s, seem to have turned their backs on them.
What’s going on? Some local and out-of-state fashion gurus shed light on the trends.
“Want to know what’s up with capris in the fashion world right now?” asked Andre Safi, owner of Just For You – The Stockroom at 10627 Deerbrook Drive in Farragut. “Jean styles ebb and flow, and we are always trying to stay ahead of the trends here at JFY. And the deal is, it’s all about the hem right now. A funky hem can elevate your look so easily: a raw hem, some heavy fringe, even layers of tiered and flared material ... the funkier the better, really! These modern jeans are usually an ankle, cropped or boyfriend style. Capri leggings and printed leggings are totally in style though, especially styled with a cool long tunic tee.”
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Carrie McConkey, owner of Carrie M. Fashion Consulting in Knoxville, works with individuals to polish their image, make a wardrobe transition due to a lifestyle change, or just get out of a fashion rut. She said she believes in the power of one’s signature style to fit their personality, body type, and season of life.
“Styles are often categorized by generations,” she said. “You have your own trend within your own age group. If you went to Talbots, Stein Mart and Dillard’s, you’d probably find capri pants. But then your younger girls probably won’t shop there.”
“We do dresses, rompers, tops, jewelry — all those kinds of things,” said Valerie Guess, owner of Val’s Boutique at 7902 Kingston Pike. “We have clothes for women of all ages. We stick with classic pieces that last for a longer time. I started the business 10 years ago and still wear pieces I bought then. As far as capris [still being in style], I’m not positive, because we don’t carry pants. But I do know that jumpsuits that are capri length are extremely in right now.”
“I think ankle pants have come back into style and I have a couple of ankle/crop pants that I wear to work,” said Knoxville native Paige Worthington, 25. “I also roll up my jeans to more of an ankle pant when I’m wearing ankle boots or sandals. I also wear a lot of skirts and dresses. Capris and flare capris were more in style when I was younger but I haven’t worn those in years, probably just because of changing styles and getting older.”
What would her fashion advice for her mother be?
“My mom likes looser clothes, so probably a flowy top with pants and sandals.”
Ankle and cropped pants are trendy hemlines this summer. (Photo: Andre/JFY)
“I think people are wearing them, “ said Tammy Allen of Farragut. “I don't know if they are considered ‘in style’ by the fashion industry.” She said she doesn’t currently own any capris she really likes. “I have found that I like wearing summer dresses.”
McConkey has connected online with other stylists from around the country. They were happy to wade into the discussion.
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“I am the founder of blenderstyle,” says stylist Gianna Nucci of New York. “I have a personal styling, shopping, and closet detox company. I help men and women get out of their style rut, organize their closet so getting ready every day is seamless, and help those with limited time find great items for their wardrobe.
“I live in Jersey City right outside of Manhattan, but am from Maryland so most of my clients are in New Jersey, New York City and Maryland. The term ‘capri’ has really turned into ‘cropped’ and is the perfect example of how the fashion industry takes trends and reinvents them all while convincing the public they are something new. So if you're asking whether I think capris are still in style, then yes; however, they have taken a new direction that we can see in the cropped flare trend as well as the ankle length raw hem look being sold in most retailers. In general, shortened pants are a big thing right now, but they aren't the same thing as the capri pants that originally started the trend.”
Ginger Burr lives in the Boston area and has worked as an image consultant for the past 30 years, currently primarily with women over 40.
“This spring and summer, instead of finding capris or full-length pants, I am finding primarily cropped pants ending just above the ankle. And many of these are wide-legged cropped pants. Most of my clients are not fond of this new style because they make them feel short and frumpy especially if they carry weight in their tummies and do not tuck in their tops. They are frustrated because they aren’t finding more flattering looks, although with a little tailoring they are learning how they can tweak them to be more flattering.”
Apparently the capri has simply evolved into the longer ankle pant and the wider flared capri.
Knoxville’s McConkey takes it all in stride.
“Now anything goes,” she said. “I ask my clients about their lifestyle and needs. I help women determine what to wear based on their body type. Skirts are always a wonderful option when it’s hot out. I think it was Diane von Furstenberg who said, ‘Feel like a woman, wear a dress!’
“Now clothes are just this mixture of all these influences through the decades,” she added. “You’ve got the capris in the '60s, the bell bottoms in the '70s, the full pleated pants from the '80s. We can pull from all those.”