How to Wear Cropped Jeans

Street style cropped jeans and Chanel purse
How wear cropped jeans in every season. Christian Vierig/Getty Images
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Rock the Shorter Jeans Trend

Woman wearing cropped jeans
Kirstin Sinclair/Getty Images

Ankle-length jeans are a huge fashion trend for women now. But can you really wear the new, shorter length denim styles to look chic and stylish, not sloppy? If you think of cropped jeans in the same category as those baggy capri pants that your mom wears for cleaning out the garage, we're here to correct that notion.

Ankle-cropped jeans (and even higher hems) are a not only super trendy, but they're not as tricky to wear as you might think. You can actually put together chic outfits with cropped jeans, almost as easily as you could dress up a skinny or slim boyfriend style. You can style shorter jeans for wearing year-round, too — not just in the summer when most people think of wearing them. 

Not convinced yet? Browse through our all-weather guide to how to wear the new, shorter jean styles, including different outfits for the office, polished and casual weekends, and even meeting the parents. 

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Meet the Parents Outfit

Outfit idea - cropped jeans and pink blazer
7 for All Mankind

Want to impress your sweetie's parents, the first (or tenth) time you meet them? Show up looking sweetly put together -- but not overdressed -- in lightly distressed ankle jeans and a pretty blazer in a pastel hue. Designer-look sunglasses and a neat tote bag add polish to this grown-up look in cropped jeans.

We've styled this outfit with basic sneakers, but you could swap them for nude high heels if you want a dressier style. You could also wear this look easily for parent-teacher meetings, or a casual date.

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Polished Weekend Outfit

Outfit idea - cropped jeans and a black blazer
O. Dsquared2

Here's how to dress up cropped jeans to look chic for weekend shopping, brunch with friends, or gallery hopping. Start with a pair of slim-fitting, vintage-inspired cropped jeans, such as the ankle-length Dsquared2 "Twiggy" style pictured here. Add an easy white tee-shirt and a tailored black blazer, for instant weekend sophistication.

For cooler days, layer on a cropped sweater in a neutral shade, such as grey or oatmeal. Finish this outfit with wearable flat ankle boots and a ladylike bag that's big enough to pack a city guide.

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The Laid-Back Work Outfit

Outfit idea - cropped jeans and white shirt
J Brand

For casual Fridays and other jeans-friendly days at work, you'll never look wrong in slim-fitting, dark-wash ankle jeans with a crisp white button-down shirt. Add a statement necklace for visual interest and carry a fun tote in an exotic animal pattern that says you're not stuffy.

You could wear this look with the usual office pumps, but it also looks great with jeweled flats. For transitional seasons, layer on a cocoon-style wool coat in a trendy, cool pastel hue.

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Casual Weekend Outfit

Outfit idea - cropped jeans and cardigan sweater
AG Jeans

What could be easier than jeans and a cardigan sweater, when you're kicking back with your girlfriends? You'll look cute and feel comfortable in cropped, distressed ankle-length jeans, a soft tee-shirt, and a neutral cardigan.

To dress this look up a bit, simply add a long chain necklace and a carry-all satchel in a structured shape. Wear this look with flat ankle boots or your favorite sneakers, for ​go-anywhere casual style.

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Office Look

Outfit ideas - cropped skinny jeans and blue button-down
3x1 Denim

This is one of our favorite ways to wear cropped jeans to work, because it's easy to pull together but looks professional for last-minute meetings or lunches with clients. Start with a pair of dark wash, skinny ankle jeans in a clean finish (no distressing or abrasions). Then, tuck in an ironed button-down shirt in Oxford blue.

You can keep this classic look from getting boring by adding great accessories, as shown here. The other thing that shorter jeans are great for — showing off a fabulous pair of high heel pumps. You'll always look right in a trench coat when you need to cover up for your commute.

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Casual Weekend Outfit - Cropped Jeans and Leather Jacket

Outfit idea - cropped jeans and leather jacket
Mother Denim

When you're running errands or kicking back with friends on the weekend, you want an outfit that's easy to pull together. But that doesn't mean you can't look trendy, as seen here. Make this your go-to outfit for weekends -- all you need is a pair of cropped boyfriend-style jeans, a sweatshirt, and easy sneakers.

Throw on a patterned scarf to pull your look together, and you're dressed for all your casual errands. To add an extra layer of warmth (or make this look edgier), just pull on a biker-style, black leather jacket. ​

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Shop The Trend: 7 for All Mankind Distressed Ankle Skinny Jean

7 for All Mankind Distressed Ankle Skinny Jean
7 for All Mankind

I'm a big fan of the 7 for All Mankind jeans brand, for its high-quality stretch denim fabrics and attention to perfect fit. Their ankle skinny jean, pictured here in the gorgeous Authentic Light style with "destroyed" details, comes in a variety of washes and fabric treatments.

Wear this jean around your most fashion-conscious girlfriends or colleagues -- they'll recognize the brand's gold contrast threads, shiny hardware and signature back pocket designs and know you invested in great jeans. 

Sizes: 23-32

Price: About $225

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Shop The Trend: AG Jeans Ex-Boyfriend Slim

AG Jeans Ex-Boyfriend Slim Jeans
AG Jeans

If you've ever worn AG Jeans, you know they're unbelievably soft and feel perfectly worn-in from the get-go. The brand's Ex-Boyfriend style is a slimmer take on the classic boyfriend jeans while preserving the distressed details typically found in that style.

Cut with a medium rise that flatters most figures, this vintage-inspired jean is easygoing for weekends and pairs well with blazers and leather jackets. 

Sizes: 24-32

Price: About $295

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Shop The Trend: Mother The Looker Crop

Mother The Looker Crop
Mother Denim

The Looker Crop is Mother Denim's classic skinny jean, abbreviated for a trendy ankle-length fit. You can shop this jean in a range of shades, including a saturated dark indigo and white denim. The medium blue wash pictured here is called "Graffiti Girl".

All of Mother's jeans feature some distressing around the edges, for a vintage feel that suits this brand's bohemian vibe.

Sizes: 23-32

Price: About $205

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Shop The Trend: J Brand Cropped Jeans

J Brand Cropped Jeans
J Brand

Fans of J Brand are loyal to the brand for its super-stretch denim fabrics and body-conscious silhouettes. As you can see, their popular cropped jean is designed in a skinny fit, to hug the body's curves.

There's no hiding in these jeans -- but if you're good with that, this cropped style is a great choice for its rich blue wash (Oblivion is the shade pictured here), high-recovery fabric that prevents bagging, and clean finish that's great for wearing to the office or out for cocktails.

Sizes: 24-32

Price: About $180