Look for: Either a straight leg in a drapey fabric, such as a lightweight wool or a blend, to skim over your curves, or a pegged silhouette, if you want to show off your hourglass shape.
Avoid: Slouchy “boy” styles that are cut straight and won’t fit your curvy proportions. Watch out for side-seam pockets—they never stay shut and add to the hips.
Wear them with: “A tucked-in button-down open at the neck and with rolled-up sleeves will help point to a slim waist,” says Simon Kneen, the creative director for Banana Republic.
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If You Have a Tummy
Look for: “A flat-front wide waistband that holds in the belly,” says Kneen, who also suggests a silhouette that tapers slightly to keep the body from looking big all over.
Avoid: An at-the-navel rise or a gathered waistband, which emphasizes any fullness, warns Kendall Farr, author of Style Evolution ($22.50, amazon.com). Also avoid side-zip pants—the smooth front shows bulges.
Wear them with: A tunic-length top that flows over the middle paired with a cropped jacket, suggests Kneen: “This season it looks fashion-forward to have your shirt hanging out from under your jacket.”
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If You Have a Straight Figure
Look for: Full-cut pants that narrow at the hem to create the illusion of a curvier shape, says Farr. “Pleats and interesting pockets add volume to the hips,” she says.
Avoid: Plain high-rise styles without hip accents, which will only emphasize the straightness of your body.
Wear them with: A wide, swoopy neckline or a tucked-in blousy top that broadens the shoulders and creates the illusion of a smaller waist.
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If You Have Full Hips and Thighs
Look for: “Flat-front trousers with a body-skimming, not wide-leg, cut, to downplay curves,” says Colleen Sherin, the fashion director of Saks Fifth Avenue.
Avoid: Pleats (no surprise). And while you’re at it, stay away from hip-inflating high waists and leg-hugging shapes.
Wear them with: “A jacket that hits past the hips to disguise that area and create a long, flattering line,” says Sherin.
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Cropped Trousers: Two Annoying Problems and How to Solve Them
“I’m Not Sure Which Belt to Wear”
Contrast the menswear tailoring with a slim, ladylike style. “Try a belt ranging in width from a half inch to one inch,” says stylist Kendall Farr. If you’re worried that a belt will emphasize a less than taut tummy, she recommends choosing one in a tone similar to that of your trousers to create a slimming, monochromatic look.
“My Trousers Are Too Long for Me”
If you’re on the short side, cropped trousers can look like full-length ones. Opt for these petite-specific crops.
“I Have No Idea Which Shoes Look Good With Cropped Trousers”
Styles can run the gamut from skinny cigarettes to blousy harems. Knowing what footwear to pair with your pants can mean the difference between a fashionable outfit and a frumpy one. Follow these guidelines to find your sole mate.
With a slim, body-hugging fit: You can’t go wrong if you follow in Audrey Hepburn’s gamine footsteps and slip on delicate ballet flats.
With a tailored, cuffed cut: Stick with the clean lines and pair these trousers with classic pumps, polished peep-toes, or refined Mary Janes.
With a loose and billowy style: Work with the edgy silhouette and experiment with a pair of ankle-baring booties or fun platforms.