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What Shoes to Wear With Capri Pants

Updated April 17, 2017

Capri pants can make a casual fashion statement for occasions when shorts are not appropriate, or they can bring a sporty attitude to slightly dressier events. While the cut and design of the capri pants impact formality, shoes are also an important determining factor. Whether dressing up or dressing down, the style of shoe that you wear with the classic capri can speak volumes.

Ultra-casual

Capri pants that have a looser fit or more casual detailing such as rolled-up cuffs or cargo pant pockets call for casual shoes such as sneakers or canvas sport shoes. Open-toed sandals or even sporty flip-flops can work well with a more casual look that includes capri pants. This look is all about comfort. Loose-fitting capri pants offer more freedom of movement than most shorts, and the shoes that accompany these trousers should offer comfort as well. Such ultra-casual looks are suitable for shopping, hanging out with friends or running errands.

Middle Ground

Off to a picnic or summer social gathering? Capri pants can be a great choice, but the shoes should be a little nicer than clunky crocs or noisy flip-flops. For slightly dressier occasions, a sprightly summer sandal or dainty wedge can make just the right statement. Just make sure that the wedge is not too big and clunky or ridiculously high. Capri pants take the eye down toward the shoe and therefore draw more attention to the shoe than other types of trousers. Selecting just the right shoe can provide the perfect finishing touch for a summer ensemble. Canvas shoes with simple lines such as ballet-style canvas flats or espadrilles come in a wide variety of colours and fabric choices and can be relatively inexpensive. Selecting a canvas shoe in a complementary patterned fabric can look great with a pair of capri pants.

Dressy Casual

The image of actress Audrey Hepburn in fitted capri pants and ballet flats represents classic fashion iconography. While most of us can't hope to live up to Miss Hepburn's look, the right shoe with a smart pair of capri pants can work for a dressy casual occasion. Capri pants with clean lines and a closer fit call for dressier shoes. In some cases, flat shoes with pointed toes have a more formal look than ordinary round-toed flats and provide a stylish complement to capri pants. But take care not to go with a pointy toe that is excessively long. These shoes can make the feet look big and will generally work better with full-length trousers. Dressy low-healed sandals can be very effective as well. As a rule, pumps and other high-heeled evening shoes will not work well with capri pants. However, with the right outfit, a pump might just provide the right solution. When in doubt, try things on and see how the combination looks.

Fashion Don'ts

Big, clunky shoes and breezy capri pants are never a successful combination. Unless you are going for a baggy effect, capri pants tend to have a more light and feminine look. The shoes that you wear with capri pants should echo this light appearance. Avoid thick-soled earth shoes, sandals with oversized straps or boots of any kind. As a rule, avoid socks also.

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About the Author

Ann Hudson is a freelance writer who began her writing career working for a small community newspaper. While there, her work as a feature writer and a weekly columnist were honored. Hudson holds a bachelor's degree in journalism. She has been writing for more than 30 years.