How To Wear Ankle Pants

Timeless and classic, ankle pants have a place at nearly every occasion, from a dressy dinner to a downtime day-off look. Polished workwear, day-off jeans, and fresh-from-the-gym active pants can all fall under the ankle pants umbrella. But choosing the right ankle pants is not as simple as grabbing the first pair off the shelf: The way they hit depends greatly on your height and leg length. Our guide to finding the right ankle pants will help you make the right choice and help you style them.

Finding the right length for your ankle pants

“Ankle pants” may sound like any long-legged pair of bottoms, but there are criteria around which pants make the cut. Technically speaking, any pant that exposes your ankle can be considered ankle pants. If you’re inclined to break out the ruler, some define ankle pants as those that hit 1 inch above the ankle.

Such a specific length means that buying the correct pant size is key to pulling off this style. Pay attention if the ankle pants come in regular, short, or tall lengths, as these will be cut to hit your ankle based on your height. If you have long legs or short legs, this can also influence the length of ankle pants you need. To get a good idea if a pair of ankle pants you want to buy will be long enough, measure the inseam of a pair of ankle pants that already fit you well, or take a measurement of your inseam.

Types of ankle pants

1. Jeans

Naturally, certain styles of jeans hit right at the ankle and can be styled as ankle pants. Look for skinny jeans or straight leg styles that are hemmed to hit at the ankle. It’s also easy to turn a pair of jeans into ankle length: Just cuff the bottoms to the desired length. Pair them with your favorite ankle booties for a look that’s going-out ready in an instant.

2. Dress pants

The style most often associated with ankle pants, dress pants come in a variety of patterns and colors that can be mixed and matched with office-appropriate blouses and blazers. Some common dress pant styles that work well as ankle pants are stovepipe pants, which are tailored for a more narrow fit that tapers at the ankle, and ponte pants, which are polished and professional pants made from a stretchy double knit fabric.

3. Wide leg baggy pants

Wide leg pants may not be the first thing that comes to mind when talking about ankle pants, but they do meet the definition. These pants are hemmed to hit at the ankle to keep their put-together look; any longer in the leg, and you’ll end up stepping on the hem, and the look may appear unwieldy or sloppy. Try a pair of plus size wide leg floral stretch pants tucked in with a simple black shirt.

4. Leggings

The ultimate in casual ankle pants, leggings are effortless to style and offer unbeatable comfort. While often associated with laid back days off, nicer leggings in materials like vegan leather or velvet can dress up this look. Stick with a basic black or gray with an easy fit tee for a super Sunday off, or try a bold leopard pattern legging for an outfit that has a bit more intrigue.

5. Active pants

While also not top of the list when it comes to ankle pants, you may want to look out for this length when styling joggers and other athletic pants outside the gym. Cuffed joggers stop right at the ankle, which is both practical for movement and lends a more polished look to this trendy athletic style.

Is there a difference between capri pants and ankle pants?

You may have seen ankle pants referred to as capris (or crop pants) or vice versa. However, they are not the same. As defined above, ankle pants expose the ankle or hit around 1 inch above the ankle. Capri pants are substantially shorter, stopping anywhere from the bottom of your knees and above your ankle. If your pants reach mid-calf, they fall into the capri category, while ankle pants will always skim your ankle.

6 ankle pant style ideas

The wide range of ankle pant styles and types available means that you can find just the right pair for any occasion. Here are six ideas you can take straight from our lookbook and into your everyday life.

1. Dressed up for work

Pick out a crisp button down and a ruched sleeve blazer, and you’re dressed to impress in the boardroom. Try these plus size check pattern ankle pants made with bengaline fabric, which is an extra stretchy material that still looks chic and polished.

2. Dressed down for lunch

Try a look that’s put together without feeling stiff or stuffy. Pair your stovepipe pants with a skimming, flowy shirt and your favorite flats to stay comfy without compromising style.

3. Casual day off

Leggings were born for a day running errands, going shopping, or just lounging around the house. Lean into this look by wearing your leggings with a plus size tunic in a playful pattern.

4. Worn with strappy heels

Kick up a dressy style a notch by pairing your ankle length jeans or ponte pants with heels that show off a fresh pedicure. How you balance out this look on top can set the tone, too: Opt for a tailored shirt and blazer for an important meeting, or grab a plus size biker jacket for an edgy feel to your outfit.

5. Styled with boots

Jeans and ankle boots — is there any greater combination? For some style inspo, check out Ulla Popken’s guide to styling jeans with ankle boots.

6. With sneakers for a lazy day

Go all-out comfy for your lazy day lounging around the house. A cowl neck drawstring sweatshirt in a popping color can be paired with rolled cuff denim to feel laid back, or ditch structure altogether and pop on a pair of matching jogger pants. If you do need to step out, slip on your favorite sneakers

Shop Ulla Popken for ankle pants

Feeling sporty, casual, or dressy? Look no further than Ulla Popken for dozens of plus size ankle pant options in many styles, patterns, and colors. Mix and match this wardrobe staple with tops, shoes, and accessories for work-ready looks and effortless casual day outfits alike. Many of our items are available up to a size 7X/34, ready to ship and make their way into your wardrobe rotation. 

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