Capri pants are trending – here's how to style them

Five chic ways to wear pedal pushers

emily ratajkowski wearing capri pants
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The ‘90s renaissance wouldn’t be complete without a pair of capri pants (or, as we called them back then, ‘pedal pushers’) – and thankfully, the cropped trouser is back.

It’s been a long time coming; I knew the capri was destined to return back in 2018, when Chanel styled black, mid-length leggings with oversized blazers for Spring/Summer ‘19. My interest was piqued, but I longed for a more ‘90s reimagining – and for Spring/Summer ‘23, Jacquemus answered my prayers, in the form of polka-dot capris. Very Audrey Hepburn – and a little Carrie Bradshaw. This year, the trend continues to gain pace, thanks to the likes of Sandy Liang whose ‘90s-tinged pedal pushers are top of my wish list.

After a winter of cosying up in baggy, wide-leg jeans, a form-fitting silhouette feels a little alien. An exposed calf? Well, that’s positively daunting. As one Marie Claire team member asked me, ‘what the hell do I wear on my feet?’ Panic not and instead, read my fashion editor-approved guide to wearing pedal pushers with confidence – and zero frump.

emily ratajkowski wearing capri pants

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The key to making the trend work is in the styling (more on that later), but choosing the right length and silhouette is also crucial. Opt for a slim fit – you should be aiming for a body-skimming fit, though my favourite styles are made from ponte, crepe or thick cotton that’s more substantial than your average legging. In terms of length, your capri pant can be as long as mid-calf, but in my opinion, just below the knee is the sweet spot. It feels more ‘90s-chic than ‘50s-prep, and that’s essential.

If you’re investing in your first pair of pedal pushers (well, at least since the ‘90s), let me suggest a simple style in black. This style from Mango is practically perfect in every way, and lends itself to being dressed up and down. Look to Emily Ratajkowski, who styled hers with mules and an oversized blazer, or Pernille Teisbaek, who teamed hers with oxblood slingbacks and a matching Birkin. The trouser also looks great with satin ballet pumps, as Sandy Liang’s Spring/Summer ‘24 show proved.

Gigi Hadid wearing capri pants

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Consider also a denim capri and wear it as you would your favourite jeans, avoiding trainers to keep things as chic as possible. A heel with a pointed toe (slingback, pump or otherwise) or ballet flat works particularly well. If in doubt, add a tank and mules, like the ever-stylish Gigi Hadid.

For the capri-confident among you, there are jazzier iterations to be enjoyed; I’m particularly fond of Alexa Chung’s leopard pair, while Anthropologie’s gingham style is perfect for summer days. When styling patterns, Chung's white shirt and Mary Jane flats make for a reliable formula, while a print clash also works wonders; I plan to wear an old, horse-print smock dress from Ganni atop a pair of checked capris as soon as the weather warms up.

When in doubt, look to the fictional queen of capris – one Ms Carrie Bradshaw. Stylist Patricia Field dressed the Sex and the City protagonist in a whole host of pedal pushers, teaming them with form-fitting tanks or diaphanous blouses and either sharply pointed pumps or super-high, strappy sandals. Reinterpret the look for 2024 with a simple white vest or tee and neutral blazer, having fun with bold accessories – Fendi Baguette optional but recommended.

Need more inspiration? I've lined up five great capri-centric outfits to recreate immediately – for day, night and everything in-between.

THE DENIM CAPRI

THE TAILORED CAPRI

THE PREPPY CAPRI

THE CLASSIC CAPRI

THE STATEMENT CAPRI

Fashion Editor

Natalie Hughes is Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK. She has worked as a fashion journalist and content consultant for 16 years, crafting copy and content for magazines and brands including Harper's Bazaar, Elle, Net-a-Porter, Who What Wear, Matches, Glamour, and more.