I'm in the position of commenting about a pant I haven't worn since I was a slender 30 year old, but my GF Christine, who's approaching 50, looks ravishing in hers. Breena, if she wears them, they're still stylish.
Wear capris with the spirit intended by Sonja de Lennart, the Prussian-born designer credited with their invention. She named them after her family's favourite vacation spot.
In 1948, she created a tight, three-quarter length pant with slits on the outer hems, in specific lengths for summer and winter wear.
Shown, the ankle-length winter style, with capri blouse and belt, from de Lennart's first collection.
There are three things you need to wear capris well, which is not as easy as, say, jeans. Some stylists advise women to just forget this demanding pant unless they are runway-model types.
1. Shapely ankles
(That disqualifies me right now, but you may proceed.) You'll also benefit from smooth, unblemished skin on your calves, since capris are never worn with hose.
2. A well-cut pair
In 1952's Roman Holiday, Audrey was dressed by Edith Head in de Lennart-designed tight capris; Givenchy kept the look alive for Sabrina in 1954. Audrey's capris, a departure from Katherine Hepburn's wide, pleated trousers, took the world by storm.
The closely-fitted pants flatter those with slim hips, flat stomachs and a well-shaped derriere. Just because the pant is short, do not focus only on where it ends. How does it fit in the waist, hip and seat? Good capris never have elastic waists and could not be worn for yoga. Capri-length leggings are not capris.
3. The kind of figure to carry off a close-fitting tucked top (as shown on all photos) or if not tucked, a top that ends at the waist.
The narrow, rather short top creates balance for the abbreviated pant length, essential to avoid the gym-teacher effect. You need not be small-busted if you don't mind showing off your shape in the closely-fitted top. Anita Ekberg, Gina Lollobrigida and Jane Russell all wore capris, along with their lithe counterparts like Juliette Greco.
Wear your capris with balmy shoes, suitable for lunch in a cafe on this most romantic isle. I like ballet flats, wedge espadrilles, or strappy sandals like the yellow pair shown with J. Crew's Brushstroke Café Capri.
You might also wear capris with heels, a dressier look; again, these are from J. Crew, who offer plenty of of choices, from silk to poplin, each summer.
I find a longer, wider pant like the white Gap crop below more forgiving than the capri- so if, like me, your capris have gone the way of minis, don't despair. There's a summery pant for everyone.
Imogen Lamport of Inside Out Style posted on "Why You Shouldn't Wear Ankle Length Pants", and many of her points pertain to the other members of the abbreviated-pant family like clamdiggers, toreadors and pedal pushers.
Imogen says, "Unless you have ultra long legs (like a model), then ankle length pants should be avoided as they are almost universally unflattering. If you feel you must wear them, they need to be skinny, not wide (which doesn't suit the 8, X or A shapes out there) and worn with a high heel."
But for decades, the women have tried to channel Audrey, the sprite who cycled in narrow ankle length pants worn with ballet flats.
In the 60's, Babe Paley, Slim Keith and Jackie Kennedy wore the ankle-length version in wool or silk with sandals and a simple sweater, a socialite look seen to this day. Some of the 2009 capris have crept noticeably shorter than the '50s version; J. Crew's look closest to the originals.
If you love the playfully sexy look of capris, experiment with proportion, insist on perfect fit, and face the fact that over fifty, abbreviated and tight anywhere on your body needs more consideration than it once did.