Poll: Ankle-Length Pants and the Office

So here’s the tricky thing about office style:  it changes from time to time.  We’ve talked before on this blog about how I’m a big fan of bootcut trousers because I think they’re the most flattering look — and how I think “shorter” pants (capris, floodies, pedal pushers, whatever you want to call them) are unacceptable for the office.  (Ain’t No Mom Jeans — totally unrelated to office style! — had a highly amusing post on them recently.)  But.  But!  There are a ton of gorgeous ankle-length pants out there right now, and I’m seeing them more and more often with suits — from both conservative brands and not so conservative brands.  Take, for example, this gorgeous Elizabeth and James suit (which was very nearly yesterday’s Suit of the Week).  One of my guest posters last year even said she thought the J.Crew Minnie was a wardrobe staple! (Is it just me or is J.Crew showing the Minnie pant ridiculously tight on the models this year?)  So ladies, I thought it was time for a poll:  do you think ankle-length pants are acceptable for a conservative office, where (on any given day) 50% or more of the people may be in a full-on suit?  Do you think they’re great for a more casual (pants and blouse) look, but hate them with suits?  Do tell.


ankle-length pants for office.indexed

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  1. I’m a twig. I have a theory suit with cigarette pants and get compliments all the time on it

  2. This can be a very sophisticated look if the styling and sizing is right. I’d wear this style all the time since it makes you stand out as more fashion-forward, but again with proviso that you got sizing and proportion right. I don’t think you need to be tall or terribly thin to pull this off, just make sure that the size hits you in all the right places.

  3. I’m short and the J. Crew cafe “capri” hits just below my ankle bone. I count that as reasonable for my office (not super formal), particularly with ballet flats, never with heels. I think anything more than 1/2″ above the ankle bone ends up looking a little too weekend, and sharp, clean tailoring is critical.

  4. I’m a young associate at a mid-sized law firm with a business dress code (or very dressy business casual), and nine months ago I got hit by the car outside a courthouse. A crazy old man made an illegal turn through a crosswalk, literally turning my right leg and foot into powder. (Not a good thing when your surgeon refers to your bones as “pulverized”). The week before the accident I rocked 5 inch platforms in a wedding (I’m 5’3″), but now…? No heels or wedges for me ever again. My foot simply doesn’t bend that way. I say all this to say, Jcrew’s cute ankle style suits are one of the only ways I can wear flats to court without looking simply ridiculous and no one ever seems to care. Of course, the Frankenstein scars on my foot are kind of a dead give away that heels might be a no no, but still- sometimes this style is appropriate and, dare I say, cute?

  5. I have a 22″ inseam. I’m never going to find slim ankle pants.

    • I have a 24″ inseam and have all mine tailored.

    • Whoah, how tall are you?

      I’m just under 5’2 and I need 30″ for ankle pants, and 31.5″ for regular pants, and 33 or so for pants that I wear with heels. I also frequent tailors, because petite pants are just a smidge too short, so they flop around my ankles, and regular pants are obviously too long. I’m at the weird spot in the middle.

  6. I wear suits every day at my office (small downtown firm) and I wear black theory ankle length pants on occasion; however I always pair them with conservative-everything-else, like a white blouse, black jacket, black heels.

  7. I’ve been getting ankle pants in addition to regular length plus skirts for any given jacket and find I like them a lot. I’m comfortable to wear them in pretty much every setting where a suit is required including fund-raising and board meetings, and find they add a lot of flexibility to travel outfits because they dress down with a cardigan, and dress up for dinner with a brocade top, velvet flats and jewelry. I’m in my 40s and a senior professional, and the pants in question are dressy (cuffed, knife pleats, visibly part of a suit).

  8. lawsuited :

    So, cigarette pants are my jam – I have a properly tailored pair to go with each of my suits and wear them (with matching suit jacket in the same fabric) to meetings, interviews and court as I would any other suit.

    I have more fitted cigarettes pants in cotton twill and velveteen which I wear with a shell or blouse and coordinating blazer (in a different fabric – velveteen suit? Yikes!) or cardigan on casual days.

    Note: For me, ankle length means that the hem hits my ankle bone and none of my leg is showing. No capris here.

  9. I think it’s a know your office and environment thing. We’re business casual and I see a lot of cute ankle pants. Plus, if you want or need to wear flats, ankle pants in an “office” fabric just seem to look better than full-length pants.

    My boss wears ankle pants all the time, and believe me, no one takes her any less seriously.

  10. I just bought two pairs of these ankle length pants at Target for about $25 each. I loved it and my office is business casual but after reading these comments I am starting to doubt myself. I think it’s appropriate for my office but most of you guys are saying that they’re ugly. Oh no!!!!

  11. I tried ankle length at the office yesterday with cute cut out black kitten heels. When I left the house I felt great, but then I saw a reflection of myself in the glass walking in and it wasn’t good. Too tight and not flattering on my 5’2 curvy self. I bought another pair of black pants at lunch and changed.

  12. This ankle length looks ridiculous on me. I am 5’6 and curvy with big thighs, and I look like a clown with ill-fitting clothes, so this is not going to work for me in anyway! I would never ever wear this to office!

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