Capri pants
DesignerSonja de Lennart

Capri pants (also known as three quarter legs, or capris, crop pants, man-pris, clam-diggers,[1] flood pants, ankle pants, jams, highwaters, or toreador pants[2]) are pants that are longer than shorts, but are not as long as trousers. Capri pants can be a generic term for any cropped slim pants, and also used as a specific term to refer to pants that end on the ankle bone.[3]


Capri pants were introduced by fashion designer Sonja de Lennart in 1948, and were popularized by her and English couturier Bunny Roger.[4] The name of the pants is derived from the Italian isle of Capri, where they rose to popularity in the late 1950s and early 1960s.[5] The actress Audrey Hepburn was among the first movie stars who wore capris, and the pants quickly became synonymous with her classic style. The French actress Brigitte Bardot famously wore capri pants at a time when trousers were still a new fashion for women.[6] Marilyn Monroe always traveled with capri pants.[7]

Capri pants were popularized in the United States in the 1960s television series The Dick Van Dyke Show. The character Laura Petrie, the young housewife played by Mary Tyler Moore, caused a fashion sensation – and some mild controversy – by wearing close-fitting capri pants throughout the show's run[8][9][10] (capris that were later referred to as 1950s hausfrau[11]).

By the mid 1960s, capri-style tight-fitting cargo pants became popular among teenage boys; a good example was the superstar teen actor of that era, Luke Halpin, who wore them in some episodes of the popular Flipper.[citation needed] After a drop in popularity during the 1970s through the 1990s, capri pants returned to favor in the mid 2000s.[12] Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal wore capri pants in the majority of his matches before 2009 following a deal with Nike to wear sponsored capris, a deal that Roger Federer had turned down before him.[13][14] Jodie Whittaker wore Capri Pants when she appeared on Doctor Who. Kate Middleton wore capri pants for outdoorsy events.[15]

In 2017, the superintendent of the Douglas County School District in Georgia USA sent out an email qualifying capri pants as inappropriate garments for the school environment, thus raising the question of what pants length remain acceptable.[16]


See also


  1. ^ "clam-diggers" Collins English Dictionary. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
  2. ^ "toreador pants" Collins English Dictionary. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
  3. ^ Tribune, Anne Marie O'Connor (16 June 1999). "Tips for the Body-Conscious On Capri Pants, Saggy Chins, Spider Veins". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2020-08-14.
  4. ^ Fisher, Clive (29 April 1997). "Obituary: Bunny Roger". The Independent. Archived from the original on 7 April 2011. Retrieved March 12, 2016.
  5. ^ "Ancient Capri Still Casts Its Powerful Spell". (29 June 2008). The Boston Globe.
  6. ^ "Who's wearing the trousers?". BBC News. Retrieved 2020-08-15.
  7. ^ Doonan, Simon (2013-12-18). "The Horrifying Thing I Learned About Marilyn Monroe by Folding Her Capri Pants". Slate. Retrieved 2020-08-15.
  8. ^ Vince Waldron (2001). The Official Dick Van Dyke Show Book: The Definitive History and Ultimate Viewer's Guide to Television's Most Enduring Comedy. Applause. pp. 128–130. ISBN 978-1-55783-453-9.
  9. ^ "Why Mary Tyler Moore's Capri Pants May Have Been The Most Important Costume On TV". Bustle. 25 January 2017. Retrieved 2020-08-14.
  10. ^ Desta, Yohana. "How Mary Tyler Moore Subverted TV Sexism with a Pair of Capris". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2020-08-15.
  11. ^ Spindler, Amy M. (1995-03-07). "Review/Fashion; A Retreat From Retro Glamour". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-08-15.
  12. ^ From Abba to Zoom: A Pop Culture Encyclopedia of the Late 20th Century. Andrews McMeel Publishing. 2005. pp. 68–. ISBN 978-0-7407-9307-3.
  13. ^ "Ueda's Commentary on Modern Tennis Champions" (30 November 2010). A. Ueda.
  14. ^ Murali, Mahalakshmi (2020-04-05). "Roger Federer Reveals Why He Doesn't Wear Sleeve-less and Capri Pants". EssentiallySports. Retrieved 2020-08-14.
  15. ^ "Kate Middleton Wears Sneakers and Capri Pants". InStyle. Retrieved 2020-08-15.
  16. ^ "Are capri pants appropriate work attire for teachers?". TODAY. 3 August 2017. Retrieved 2020-08-14.