How to wear... cropped trousers
To keep you cool on hot summer days and warm on chillier ones, opt for lightweight, ankle-grazing styles, whatever the occasion, writes Meadhbh McGrath
During the summer months, our usual rotation of trousers can look heavy and feel uncomfortably warm. It can be a tricky time for those of us not keen on baring our legs, but if you don't fancy dresses or skirts, turn to the cropped trouser.
For some, cropped styles have a reputation for being unflattering, thanks in large part to the craze for culottes a couple of years back. That flappy silhouette is notoriously hard to pull off, easily making the wearer look shorter or wider, and often hitting right at the thickest part of the calves.
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Culottes remain popular, and thanks to their reappearance on the catwalk for Celine at Paris Fashion Week, expect to see tweed pairs everywhere this winter.
But for August, a bare ankle will suffice, and this season's lightweight styles will help to keep you cooler on hot days. They're smart enough for the office, yet casual enough for an afternoon in the beer garden, and a pair of heels and a dressy top can elevate the look for a night out. Cropped trousers can be the right fit for just about any occasion and perfect for changeable high summer weather.
If you're feeling hesitant, try it out with an existing pair of straight or slim leg (but not skinny) jeans or trousers, rolled up to sit just above the ankle bone. This can help you decide your ideal length, which generally means the narrowest part of your leg between your ankle and your mid-calf, as that's where the eye will be drawn to.
Most women tend to have great ankles and putting the focus on our slimmest part can help to balance out curvy hips and fuller thighs.
When shopping, fit is crucial. You want your outfits to look deliberate and considered, with no lingering doubts that you've just undergone a growth spurt.
Wide, cropped styles in particular have been a huge hit in the last year and even the typically trend-averse Kate Middleton got in on the act this summer. It was an unexpected turn from Kate, who tends to favour skinny jeans, and the result was a much fresher, more fashionable look.
It helps that she's tall, but those worried about a crop making your legs look short can opt for a bit of a heel or even a flatform trainer to add height.
At 5ft 2in, Lucy Hale is a good example of how women of any height can achieve the look, and she combats the shortening effect with pointed pumps to elongate the legs. Short women should check out the petite ranges offered in many stores so you can get the intended fit with a pair designed for your height.
Many of the cropped trousers in the shops have a high waist - something women often prefer as it covers the tummy and can make our backsides look more shapely. In a cropped style, it can also help to lengthen the legs. To balance out the silhouette, it's worth tucking your shirt in, just as Kate does. A delicate broderie anglaise blouse will add polish for an easy high-low spin.
If you want to keep things simple, look to Eva Herzigova in classic black and white - a nod to Audrey Hepburn's timeless style. A crisp black pair is chic and sophisticated, and if you don't want to go monochrome, they can be combined with brighter colours and summery prints.
Of course, before you go showing them off, make sure your ankles are presentable. Anklets have made a comeback on the likes of Rihanna and Emma Stone, for those after a touch more bling. If you're wearing closed-toe shoes, either go sockless or choose a no-show pair - just no dodgy fake tan, please.