Sex And The City’s Carrie Bradshaw could always be relied on for a divisive fashion trend, be it a bare midriff-hugging belt, a baker boy cap or a puffball ’80s prom dress. But the capri pant (aka the pedal pusher) is arguably one of the pieces that will incite the most divided response, especially amongst those of us who grew up in the ’90s and Noughties.
Identifiable by their knee-grazing length and close fit, between seasons three and five Bradshaw championed a variety of capris: rendered in denim and paired with bohemian blouses, styled with pinstripe-match blazers and layered-up with minidresses. She left no styling stone unturned. And while these were ever-present in the low-slung trouser-loving Noughties – they were a regular feature on pop stars such as J-Lo, Rhianna and Britney – the capri pants’s origins actually stretch back to the 1950s.
Named after the Italian isle of Capri, where they rose to popularity, the cropped style became the trouser style of choice for the OG It-girls: think Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot and Marilyn Monroe, who wore theirs with boatneck tops, ballet pumps and short-sleeved blouses. A world away from the rhinestone-studded styles of the MTV generation.
Love them or hate them, this season the capri pant is making its way back into fashion’s inner circle, with Gigi Hadid and Alexa Chung both repping the style over the last few weeks. Hadid opted for a denim iteration styled with a black tank top and gold jewellery (so far so Noughties), while Chung brought a more mid-century spin with a cute pair of leopard print capris, an oversized white shirt and Miu Miu’s cult ballet pumps. Proof of the style’s unexpected versatility.
Our main takeaways for styling the capri pant? We suggest opting for a trouser leg length that ends a few inches below the knee. It is also worth considering a more legging-like style (as seen in Weekday’s black Sybil capris) as it not only gives plenty of elegant, Audrey Hepburn vibes, but it also makes for an easy counter-point to roomy tops, be it an oversized shirt or sculptural blazer. And just like that, we’ve become capri converts.
If you’re in need of further outfit inspiration, allow us to show you five ways that you can style capri pants for summer 2023.