How To Navigate the Length of Your Pants

The headlines are full of stories about gaps these days, budget gaps, government gaps, generation gaps and surely, you’ve heard about the ankle gap – even if it’s only in your coffee clatch. But if you haven’t had a conversation about how to navigate this style challenge, then now is the time.

The style magazines are full of photos of 7-foot tall models with beautiful skinny ankles, wearing cropped or ankle-length pants, with no hosiery and accessorized with 5-inch stilettos. What’s not to like?

Then there’s the reality that the mall is filled with fabulous everyday women, who may or may not have skinny ankles, who may or may not want to wear hosiery and who may or may not enjoy driving through the carpool lane in 5-inch stilettos.

Now that we know the gap between the media and the mall, let’s begin by defining the options.

We’ll start with at athleisure-wear.

The three lengths of your Yoga pants (AKA running around town 8-hours a day) are as follows, with most of these pants being best matched back to some sort of sassy sneaker because it really indicate that at some point during the day you have worked out. Wink wink.

Capri Length

Midcalf – which is different for everyone depending on the length of your legs. For those with wide calves, this may not be the best length for you with the horizontal line hitting and accentuating your widest point. You may want to consider going a bit longer.

The  7/8 Length

This takes the capri length down a bit more, but not quite to the ankle.This is a great length for exercise as well as a flattering length out about town.

The Full Length

With 50% of the country having experienced negative temperatures this past month, I’m pretty sure the full length may be the best way to go. This line comes right down at or below your ankle bone and leaves little or no gap between your athletic socks or your sneakers.

Now onto every-day-wear, work-wear and evening-wear.

This is where it gets really tricky because not only do we have to navigate the pant legs, we also have to know what shoes to match them with. Let’s stay with the winter season because obviously any of the lengths that I’ve just mentioned could be styled with some sort of sassy sandal during the warmer weather.

It’s the cold weather that leaves women floundering and asking, “ Am I supposed to leave the house with two pair of shoes just to wear these pants? Should  I wear one shoe to get to my destination and then another one once I get there to make these damn pants look good? Well there goes my tidy little handbag because now I have to carry a hobo satchel just to keep up with the trends.”

Let’s start with the Capri Length again

If the term pedal-pushers and or culottes come to mind, then you are spot on with the same opinion that I have about Capri length dress pants. They are best left to the runway for the models who have a 3-foot long calf.

Let’s just move on to the Ankle Length

This has become a consistent drop-down when it comes to the search bar in regard to pant lengths, so it is probably here to stay. Full disclosure, because it is an offering, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for you.

If you are going to proceed, proceed informed! You need to know two measurements before you shop for these pants.

Number one – what is the desired inseam length for you, in order for these pants to hit you at your true ankle and or sweet spot? Just get out the trusty little tape measure that I constantly talk about and lay down your favorite ankle length pant on the bed. Measure them from the inside crotch seam to the bottom hem and voila, there is your magic number! What that means is that any other number is just going to feel odd to you and it’s not going to hit you in the perfect place, requiring a trip to the tailor so they land exactly where you want them to land!

The next number that you’re going to need to know is what is your favorite width for the bottom of your pants? Visualize with me what an ankle pant that has a 12-inch-wide bottom is going to look like on you? Flood waters rising? Maybe not a good look, so now you fully realize that your ankle pant is going to be a narrow pant and if it’s a dress pant, we’re not talking leggings. That was the previous conversation in regard to athleisure-wear.

Now that we’re on the same page, the most common width of a dress-ankle-pant is 8 inches, when lying flat on the bed that would be a 4-inch-width on each leg panel. Yes, you can go down to a 6-inch width on the bottom so long as they don’t get stuck on your calves when you sit down forcing you to do that un-named exercise of using your right foot to push down your left pant leg and then your left foot to push down your right pant leg. I have often wondered if that exercise counts on the Fitbit!

The Full Length

Lastly the stand-by tried and true full length pant. Again you could purchase a slim, a straight or a trouser fit. Just make sure they are properly tailored for either a flat or a heel!

Yes, lots to think about but it’s best that you think about it before you add these items to your wardrobe otherwise we’re not only going to have to think about them when I get into your closet, we’re going to have to take action on them too!

Need help navigating the ankle gap? Let’s start with an online shopping tutorial where I can show you how to drill down to perfection for every category in your wardrobe.

Now share your savvy comments below and be sure to let me know what style challenges you would like me to write about in the upcoming weeks!

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One Comment

  1. Karen S
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Hi Doreen- Just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy reading your emails. They are informative, helpful and I love your sense of humor. If I lived on the East Coast, I would take advantage of your events.
    Thanks,
    Karen

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