On those days when it’s too hot for jeans but not quite warm enough for shorts, capri pants are a chic wardrobe choice. They’re cropped at the ankle (or above) and convey a resort-wear vibe. After all, they're named after the Isle of Capri. Their range of styles and materials make them the kind of versatile pieces that are must-haves for any closet.
“Capri pants are a great option for spring and summer, and they are ideal for those warmer climates,” says Eliana Thomas, a stylist at Stitch Fix. She adds that the styles for capris can vary wildly, from casual and distressed denim pairs to polished, work-appropriate cargo styles.
Of course, it’s most important to shop for pairs that reflect your personal style and make you feel good, says Thomas. After consulting with style experts and conducting hours of research, we rounded up the best capri pants, from chic pairs to rock out at drinks to athletic options great for working out at the gym.
Ahead, find the best capri pants.
Best Overall: J.Crew Cameron Slim Crop Pant in Four-Season Stretch
The best capris are pants that you can wear to any and all events, and have a streamlined design that never goes out of style. Enter: J. Crew’s slim cropped pants, which come in four neutral colors and are available in three fits (classic, petite, and tall) to accommodate many body types. They’re comfortable, stylish, and truly timeless, making them the best all-around pair of capri pants.
Price at time of publish: $98
Material: Polyester, viscose, elastane | Size Range: 00-24 classic, petite, and tall
Best Budget: RBX Lightweight Stretch Drawstring Pant
These stretchy and lightweight capris from RBX are the perfect under $20 pick.. The fabric is as soft and flexible as it gets, making them great for workouts and yoga, and the two side pockets allow you to store tiny essentials like your phone and keys when needed. Wear them to the gym and also to the beach, brunch, or just around the house to lounge comfortably.
Price at time of publish: $18
Material: Polyester, spandex | Size Range: XS-XL
Best Designer: St. John Collection Emma Crop Crepe Marocain Pants
These elegant capris have earned dozens of positive reviews from customers who love how they hug the body with light and stretchy fabric. They come in a classic black color, which is perfect for wear at the office, after-work events, and even dinners in the city. Although these are expensive, we feel that the tailored fit with darting at the back waist justify the spend—after all if you’re paying for designer, perfect fit is critical.
Price at time of publish: $395
Material: Triacetate, polyester | Size Range: 0-18
Best Mid-Rise: Signature by Levi Strauss & Co. Gold Label Mid-Rise Slim Fit Capris
Nearly 20,000 Amazon reviewers love these cuffed denim capris for their comfortable mid-rise fit, stretchy material, and clean-cut look, and say that they mold to the body so well that you’ll feel as if you’re wearing leggings, not jeans. Choose from five colors and patterns, including a summery white and a cool light blue.
Price at time of publish: $22 to $27
Material: Cotton, polyester, elastane | Size Range: 2-28
Best High-Rise: Wit & Wisdom Ab-Solution High Waist Ankle Skinny Pants
These skinny-fit, high-rise capri pants are designed to smooth your thighs and lift your bum. Hundreds of shoppers wrote glowing reviews for these pants and cited their versatile, comfortable, and durable qualities. All of that said, you’ll likely want to wear them all day, every day—and you certainly can.
Price at time of publish: $68
Material: Cotton, polyester, rayon, spandex | Size Range: 00P-18
Best Cargo: Paige Mayslie Jogger Pants
Embrace the cargo pants trend with a capri version. These come in a classic green color that goes with all of your casual T-shirts and tank tops. Complete the look by throwing on a button-down shirt (to be worn open) or a simple blazer for your errands and meet-ups.
Price at time of publish: $225
Material: Lyocell, cotton, modal, elastane, rayon | Size Range: 23-32
Best for Hiking: Kuhl Freeflex Roll-Up Pants
Technically, these pants aren’t capris; they’re roll-ups. This means that they begin as full-length pants but can be easily converted to capris by buttoning up the bottoms. This versatile quality, combined with the pants’ stretchy and moisture-wicking fabric and pocketed construction, make them great for hiking.
Price at time of publish: $99
Material: Polyester | Size Range: 0-16
Best Flared: Aerie High Waisted Cropped Kick Flare Pant
For a pair of cute flare capris that you can rock at laid-back parties or dinners on the beach, look to American Eagle. Team them with a cropped top and flats
Price at time of publish: $45
Material: Cotton, polyester, elastane | Size Range: XXS-XXL
Best Yoga: Afitne Women's Bootcut Yoga Pants with Pockets
When practicing yoga, you want pants that will support you and move with you. These bootcut capris do just that, with a super stretchy material that hugs the body from waist to thigh. They come in many colors, so you can pick your favorite or load up on them to rotate through during your next upcoming workout sessions.
Price at time of publish: $18
Material: Polyester, spandex | Size Range: XS-3XL
Best Size Range: Good American The Icon Capri Leggings
Good American isn’t just known for its highly compressive fabrics but for its extensive size range, too. This pair is meant to smooth and sculpt wearers sized XS to 4XL. They’re particularly good for workouts and outdoor activity, given how quickly the material dries from sweat and that it contains UV protection against the sun.
Price at time of publish: $69
Material: Not specified | Size Range: XS-4XL
Best Denim: Nic + Zoe All Day Denim Pant
Looking for a pair of denim capris that don’t look too casual? Consider this option from Target, made by Nic + Zoe. The dark wash makes them more polished than the typical denim, so you can wear them with blazers, blouses, heels to the office as easily as you can dress them down with a simple tank top and kitten heels for happy hour.
Price at time of publish: $150
Material: Cotton, lyocell, rayon | Size Range: 0-18, plus petite and wide sizing
What to Look for in Capri Pants
If you’re planning on wearing your capris to the gym or on a hike, go for pairs made from soft and stretchy materials that combine high percentages of spandex with cotton, polyester, and rayon as they’ll offer the most flexibility. For capris you can wear around the office or out for drinks, however, you can be open to many other options depending on your preferences.
Like all pants, capris fit everyone differently. If you’re someone who falls on the petite side, look for capris that end higher on your shins, or else they might make your legs look shorter than they are. Of course, you should also keep in mind the season and weather you plan to wear them in, too, when considering how long they should be.
How should capri pants fit?
“Capri pants would run true to your normal size in pants or denim, but the length of capris is what you want to get right based on your height,” says Thomas. Generally, she recommends looking for pairs that hit just below the mid-calf area, where your leg begins to narrow, or simply going with the length that makes you feel the most comfortable.
How should you style capris?
One popular choice is to pair them with a sneaker, says Thomas, though you can also reach for some trendy heels to elongate your legs and “reduce the look of a sharp end where the [pants stop.]”
Why are they called capri pants?
Capri pants were introduced by fashion designer Sonja de Lennart in 1948, and rose to popularity in the 1950s and 1960s. They are named for the Island of Capri and draw elements from resort-wear style.
Why Trust Byrdie
Byrdie writer Rachel Simon has covered shopping and style extensively for publications including Glamour, InStyle, Brides, and more. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times and Vice, among other outlets, and she teaches writing with Gotham Writers Workshop and Redbud Writers Project. She holds a B.A. in Writing, Literature and Publishing from Emerson College.