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The Capri Pants Revival Is Just Getting Started

From L to R: Ashley Olsen in 1999, Versace ‘La Vacanza’ by Dua Lipa, Jacquemus Spring 2023, Gigi Hadid in Jacquemus

Photos: Getty Images, Launchmetrics Spotlight, Courtesy of Versace

Like many of us who lived through the early aughts, I don’t have the fondest memories of trying to adhere to that era’s fashion trends, as many of them tended to be restrictive, uncomfortable and designed to look good on a very specific body type. As such, I have yet to buy into most of the Y2K-inspired styles that are trending today — ultra low-rise jeans, whale tales and skirts so tight and short you can’t bend over just aren’t for me. However, I recently found myself clicking “add to cart” on a pair of black cropped leggings, otherwise known as capri pants.

My relationship to capri pants is also a bit fraught: As a die-hard Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen devotée (to this day), I of course had to wear anything and everything they did, including the capris they often sported during late-’90s/early-2000s projects like “Passport to Paris,” “Our Lips Are Sealed” and “So Little Time.” Eventually, they hit my local Limited Too, and I became the first kid in my fifth-grade class to sport the trend at school. Unfortunately, my classmates were not as Olsen-obsessed as I was, and hadn’t yet caught wind of the ultra-cropped-pants look; instead of complimenting me, they assumed I had simply grown out of my jeans and couldn’t afford new ones that fit — and made fun of me for it.

I tried my best to ignore them (I knew they’d all be wearing capris in a few months), but perhaps that formative incident instilled in me a fear of jumping into trends too early. Thus, to some extent, I consider my relatively impulsive decision to buy into the 2023 capri pants resurgence an act of bravery. 

This recent revival has been something of a slow climb, with capri pants appearing sporadically on runways (Jacquemus, Acne Studios, Chanel) and trendsetters (Bella and Gigi Hadid, Devon Lee Carlson) over the last couple of years. But as of this summer, it’s becoming clear that the trend has legs. It seems to have been on an upswing since the spring; Klarna saw purchases of capri pants increase 18% in April from the previous month. (They can also be seen as an extension of the widely embraced bermuda-shorts trend.) And they’re primed to hit the mass market once again next year: “Abbreviated pants” were singled out as a trending item worth buying into during a presentation for buyers at the MAGIC trade show in Las Vegas on Monday. 

“Moving forward, I call it ‘abbreviated pant’ because there’s so many variations of this — it wasn’t only one particular style,” explained Wendy Bendoni, professor and fashion marketing chair in the School of Business at Woodbury University.

Indeed, you’ll find the shortened pants in many iterations: stretchy leggings, sheer fabrics, denim, fitted silhouettes and baggy silhouettes. Before capris hit the masses once again, become an early(ish) adopter by shopping our favorites below.

Wardrobe.NYC Crop Leggings, $300, available here (sizes XS-L)

MISBHV Black Double-Layer Biker Shorts, $265 $80, available here (sizes XXS-XL)

Athleta Ultra High Rise Elation Capri, $79, available here (sizes XXS-3X)

Tom Ford Signature Cropped Yoga Pant, $340, available here (sizes XS-XL)

Miaou Black Capri Faux-Leather Trousers, $295 $89, available here (sizes XXS-XL)

Magda Butrym Pink Cropped Leggings, $435 $261, available here (sizes 24-32)

Acne Studios Beige Check Trousers, $280, available here (sizes XXS-L)

Skims Everyday Sculpt Mid Waist Capri, $62, available here (sizes XXS-4XL)

House of CB Abigail Pointelle Drawstring Capri Pants, $105 $89, available here (sizes XS-XL)

House of Aama Black Pinstripe Capris, $550, available here (sizes XS-3XL)

Alo Iconic ’90s Alosoft High Waist Leggings, $88, available here (sizes XS-L)

Jaded London ’00s Capri Jean, $85, available here (sizes 24-34)

Out From Under Sweet Dreams Lace Capri Legging, $39, available here (sizes XS-XL)

Toteme Cropped Compact Knit Leggings Black, $260 $104, available here (sizes XXS-XL)

Muse the Label Mattea Capri Pant, $157, available here (sizes XXS-XL)

EB Denim Buckle Capris, $420, available here (sizes XXSXL)

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