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What to Wear : The Best Shoes for Cropped Pants

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Pumps like these will give a chic, polished look to cropped pants.

Pumps like these will give a chic, polished look to cropped pants. (RSVP "Jenny")

Image courtesy of Zappos.com

Cropped pants come in a variety of shapes and lengths. For the sake of this article, I'm referring to pants with hemlines that fall somewhere between the mid-calf and knee, as opposed to the less-versatile, ankle-length or capri pants.

In some ways, cropped jeans or pants are no different from other outfits. There are a lot of factors that determine what will and won't look good with them. The style and fabrics of your outfit; your body shape; and of course, the color and season.

Taking all of those things into account, I've put together a list of shoe styles that work with cropped pants. I've also listed a few looks that you'll definitely want to avoid.

Flip-Flops or Thongs: These are great shoes for a breezy, summery look.

Flat thong sandals will work fine, but with pants like these you can have a bit of a heel as well.

In either case, you'll want to look for a sandal that's balanced in its own right. For example, sandals with wide straps should have substantial heels. For shoes with skimpier straps look for thinner heels.

Heeled Pumps and Peep Toes: To add a bit of polish and class, consider pretty dress shoes, like pointy-toed pumps or peep-toes with medium-high, classic heels. They'll add a bit of femininity and style to the mix.

Avoid heels that are extremely high or excessively chunky, as they will most likely detract from the outfit.

Wedge Sandals: Cropped pants and sandals with wedge heels are a natural and attractive combination.

But, since wedges are bulky by nature, you'll want to be sure the top of the shoe shows as much skin as possible.

You'll also want to look for shoes that aren't overly complicated, lest they look too heavy for the rest of your outfit.

Ballet Flats and Skimmers: Having long been the style of choice with both capris, as well as with shorter cropped pants, it might come as a surprise to you that ballerina flats actually only work well about half of the time.

Avoid them if you feel your legs are heavy or short, or if your pants are very wide or on the long side.

Tall Boots: Knee-high boots, or boots that fall just below the knee are ideal with pants and jeans that have a wider cut, like gauchos. Flat or heeled, it doesn't matter. The look is perfect for autumn, and can work with tights or bare legs.

Kitten Heels: When it comes to cropped pants, kitten heels work far better than flats for shorter women. As an added bonus, they'll add a bit of polish to the outfit. Strappy sandals, slides, and pumps with kitten heels will all work well. But again, you'll need to stick with simpler styles, so as not to overwhelm the rest of the outfit.

Additional Tips

  • Avoid Heavy Shoes - Shoes that are cover the entire top of your foot; have big, chunky heels; or look bulky in some other way can break up the look of the outfit.
     
  • Watch the Color - Imagine seeing a profile of yourself in the outfit you're planning.

    Now imagine what it would look like if you squinted, so you could just see shapes and colors.

    You want your look to have a natural flow instead of looking choppy, as if you're made up of different color blocks.

    For that reason, shoes that contrast with the color of your pants aren't usually going to be a good choice. They will break up the look, giving you that blocky appearance.

    On the other hand, closely matching your shoes to your pants, hosiery or skin tone will give the entire outfit a good, easy and natural flow.
     
  • Keep it Simple - Heavy prints, color-blocked shoes, or shoes that are otherwise too busy can ruin cropped pants, because they're met at the top with legs instead of fabric. This, again, will give you that unattractive broken-up or blockish look. Instead, you want to attain that elegant, natural flow. The simpler, the better.

Footwear to Avoid with Cropped Pants

Unless it's part of some fashion experiment or other type of rebellious movement, the following footwear should be avoided.
  • Cross-Trainers
  • Shoes in colors that contrast with your pants.
  • Shoes with busy or heavy prints.
  • Oxfords
  • Bulky Shoes
  • Ankle Boots
  • Clogs
  • Socks
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