Ask CF: How Do I Style Cropped Jeans?

These jeans might be shorter in length, but they’re definitely not short on style!

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Photo of woman standing to the side with her face to the camera wearing sunglasses, gray short-sleeved t-shirt tucked into dark-wash skinny jeans, and light brown Chelsea boots

Welcome to the latest edition of Ask CF! Every two weeks, we select a reader fashion question and answer it here on the site. Do you have a specific fashion question for us? Scroll to the bottom of this post to learn how to send it our way!

Ask CF Question

Hi CF!

I have a pair of jeans that I love with all my heart but I’ve somehow magically grown an inch or so and now they end just above my ankle! I don’t know how to style these ankle jeans I accidentally ended up with! Any tips? Specific shoes to wear? I don’t want to let go of these jeans!


I Thought My Growth Spurts Were Over

Our Response

Dear I Thought My Growth Spurts Were Over,

Don’t worry — you definitely do not have to part with your favorite jeans! In fact, your question couldn’t have come at a better time, seeing as how cropped jeans are very in for Spring this year, making your pair the epitome of fashionable. 

Moreover, styling cropped jeans is actually easier than you might think, as this style is surprisingly versatile — not to mention fun to wear!

So, keep scrolling for some suggestions for how to style your newly-cropped jeans. (Note that for this article, I will be using jeans that are meant to be cropped; however, the styling applies to any pair of shorter jeans that you may own — whether intentionally shortened or not!)

Cropped Jeans Outfit #1 

Products: T-Shirt – J.Crew, Earrings – Nordstrom Rack, Bandana – Madewell, Hat – Madewell, Jeans – American Eagle Outfitters, Sneakers – J.Crew, Jacket – Old Navy, Socks – Aritzia, Backpack – Revolve

For this outfit, I decided to put together something tomboyish but also feminine

To get it, begin by putting on a t-shirt with a flattering tie-waist. Next, put on a pair of cropped-flare jeans that are both stylish and laid-back. 

A bandana worn around your neck adds a trendy touch, while a denim baseball cap and star earrings are small but easy ways to make yourself stand out. 

Some pretty floral-print sneakers are the perfect mix of sporty and elegant (wear them with no-show socks to avoid distracting from the rest of your outfit), while a gray sweatshirt-esque motorcycle jacket completes the look.

Cropped Jeans Outfit #2

Products: Top – Madewell, Bag – Urban Outfitters, Sandals – H&M, Jeans – Topshop, Sunglasses – Anthropologie, Earrings – Revolve, Ring – Shopbop, Bracelet – Revolve, Necklace – Nordstrom

This whimsical, artsy look is quite different from the first outfit, demonstrating just how versatile cropped jeans can be! Begin by pairing some simple cropped-flare jeans with a lovely floral-print wrap-top.

Add some retro-inspired platform sandals (which lengthen the legline a little, making them a great choice for those who aren’t as used to wearing non-skinny jeans in general), as well as an of-the-moment circular woven bag.

Quirky and unique jewels — dainty drop earrings, a beaded ring, an opalite bracelet, and a druzy layered necklace — add just the right amount of sparkle.

A cool pair of round sunglasses is the perfect finishing touch to this cute look. 

Cropped Jeans Outfit #3

Products: Shirt – Everlane, Heels – Zara, Jeans – Abercrombie & Fitch, Earrings – Revolve, Necklace – Revolve, Bracelet – NET-A-PORTER, Bag – Zara

For the final look, I decided to put together a sleek and sophisticated outfit that plays with proportions a little, and that can be worn in both casual and dressier situations.

First, layer an oversized linen shirt over a pair of timeless cropped skinny jeans. Then, add a gorgeous pair of leg-elongating coral heels for an unexpected pop of color. 

A light powder-blue bucket bag nicely complements the coral color of the heels without overwhelming the eye, while classic gold jewelry with modern touches — think swirly earrings, a subtle open circle necklace, and a statement bangle — finish off the look. 

I hope that these looks have provided you with some inspiration for how to style your “new” jeans. Thanks for your question! 

What do you think?

Have you ever had to style an item of clothing that suddenly fit differently than it used to? How did you deal? How do you like to style cropped jeans?

Let me know in the comments!

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