The kick flare cropped jean pulled me out of my skinny jean rut. When the world opened up again after the pandemic lockdown, my skinny jeans felt too tight in the calves after living in sweats for months.
And as someone with a larger tush and smaller top who prefers to de-emphasize my rear, the kick flare cropped jean gives me a way to do that. Read on to learn what a kick flare crop jean is, 3 reasons you’ll love them, and how to create outfits with them that you’ll reach for again and again.
Let’s dive in by talking about what a kick flare crop jean is!
What is a kick flare crop jean?
The kick crop flare is everywhere right now. Skinny through the leg, with a cropped mini kick out flare that stops a few inches above your ankle, when you go to buy them, they may be called kick crop, demi boot, or cropped flares.
Before you bring them home, you want to be sure the hem hits above the ankle and below the calf. Not in the middle of your calf, which is the widest part below your knee and will create the appearance of being short and squat.
They come with a freshly cut hem for a more casual appearance or a sewn hem that’s better for work.
If you’re wondering if they’re stylish, fashion icon Carolyn Bessette Kennedy wore the flare kick crop back in the 90s. Yup, they’re as stylish today as they were then.
The cut of the leg adds more visual interest. And it’s one that works for all body types. A shorter length of jean creates a gap at the ankle that’s the most universally flattering length.
I am obsessed with these jeans and when I discovered that they work for my body, I bought them in 3 colors.
Here are 3 reasons to love these jeans.
Reason #1 to love them: They work for harder to fit bottoms
I have a waist to hip ratio that puts me in the hard to fit category when it comes to jeans. With a 31-inch waist and 43-inch hips, jeans that fit my hips end up being too loose in the waist. Go-to jean styles that other people rave about (often it’s straight jeans) simply don’t work for me.
If this is you, too, I know the struggle is real, but don’t give up hope! It can feel demoralizing to try pair after pair with no luck. When that happens, take a break from looking and when you’re ready to go again, get back out there. As you’ll see, all it takes is finding one pair that works. And keep reading, what I’m about to say will be helpful to you.
Every body is different, but my torso length allows me to wear kick crop jeans with an 11-inch high waist, which holds in my midsection in a way that I love. No more worrying that my tush will pull down my mid rise jean. And surprisingly, the higher waist works as a regular fit. I don’t need a curvy fit like I do with a mid rise jean.
Also, with a curvier bottom, you may benefit from more stretch in your jean than a straighter very low-stretch 100% cotton content provides.
Searching for stretch
For your reference, a stretchier jean tends to have cotton with some elastane or polyester so there’s some give where you need it, but the jean also springs back into place.
I love Madewell, but had trouble finding any jeans that worked for me. I emailed customer service for help. Their recommendation was that I try their skinny jean or their Cali Demi Boot, which is their version of the kick flare cropped jean.
I tried the Cali Demi Boot in 3 sizes and ended up with the smallest size. I needed the tightness in the waist so they wouldn’t droop and pull in the crotch when I walked. With 97% cotton, they were definitely the best fitting Madewell jean I’d tried to date. Although my favorite pair ends up being from the Gap with around 93% cotton.
Before we go further with talking about this Gap jean, let’s talk about one of my favorite reasons to love kick crop jeans: the straightening effect they have on my rear end.
The straightening effect of kick flare cropped jeans
A skinny jean definitely shows off my tush and I prefer to de-emphasize it. For that purpose, the kick flare cropped jean’s small flare helps to balance the width of the hip so I look straighter over all.
Let’s see a side by side comparison.
Here’s me in the skinny jean and me in the kick crop jean. And I’m also including a picture of me in a short length straight jean.
My tush is more pronounced in the skinny jean since the legs are so slim down to the ankle. However, you will notice my legs look longer in the skinny and straight jeans since the jeans hit lower on the ankle. When your bottom is larger like mine, your legs tend to look shorter. And the goal is to elongate them. Seeing that, you may wonder if I would do better with a straight jean over a cropped jean.
I say no, and here’s why. At 5’6”, I’m wearing a short length in this straight jean from Old Navy and you can’t see much of the ankle. Showing a bit more ankle tends to be universally flattering.
The length of the jean also determines the shoes you can wear and the cropped length gives the option to wear an ankle wrap sandal or ankle boot, as you’ll see a bit further down.
Okay, let’s talk about the second reason to love this jean, they’re versatile from day to night.
Reason #2: They can go from work to a night out
If you have trouble finding jeans that work, it’s a relief to find a pair you can wear everywhere.
My favorite kick crop jeans are from the Gap. They’re called High Rise Kick Fit Jeans with Washwell. They have an 11-inch rise in the waist with around 93% cotton with polyester and a touch of elastane. I have them in medium denim, black and white.
The good news is that if you find some kick crop jeans that work and choose a hemmed medium or darker wash, these jeans can go from work with a blazer and flat to a night out with a heel.
Let’s take a look. In the pictures below I’m wearing a hemmed, zipper fly medium wash version of the Gap High Rise Kick Fit Jeans with Washwell in a size 31 regular. For reference, I’m 5’6″ and 160 pounds.
Kick cropped flare jeans to work
For work, I’d pair them with a pointy toe flat that visually lengthens the leg line.
I’ve chosen to add a black belt to elevate the outfit for work and to tie the black from the flat in at a second spot.
A black tote bag rounds out the look. This bag is from a specially curated Amazon collection called The Drop. The Drop is a series of collections designed by style influencers. You can find some high quality pieces for reasonable prices. For this bag, I love the nail head detailing and it’s surprisingly soft and comes with a shoulder strap, in case you want to carry it easily to work. It’s large enough to fit a medium laptop at 13” X 8.5”.
This blue plaid button up shirt and navy blazer are versatile favorites from J.Crew Factory.
Hemmed medium wash for a night out
This is the same pair of jeans with a black pointy heel by Bandolino, a well-loved black blouse from Ann Taylor, a short tweed-like black jacket from Mango, and a quilted bag for a night out.
The pointy toe heel lengthens the leg line and since the jacket hits at the top of the hip, it creates a longer leg line and is slimming for the hip.
I absolutely love this straight tweed-like jacket from Mango. It has a strong shoulder that also helps to balance out the hip. It functions like a moto jacket does for evening, as an elevating completer piece. The zipper detail gives it an edgier look for nighttime. It’s on sale right now for half off. When you order, consult the fit finder to order the right size for you. It does run small and I sized up to a large.
Reason #3 to love kick flare cropped jeans: They work for all 4 seasons
Kick crop jeans can be worn year-round if you buy a medium denim wash. Again, if you find trying on jeans frustrating and overwhelming, a 4 season jean can save you some hassle.
You can wear them with a sandal for summer or with a bootie for winter and fall.
Let’s take a look. For summer you can wear them with a flat ankle wrap sandal or heeled sandal.
Here they are with a flat sandal.
With a flat sandal
Ankle wrap sandals are so me. I know many people don’t like to wear them, but I am always drawn to them. Even if style advice says the horizontal strap across the ankle can make you look heavier and shorter, I choose to disregard that because I love them so much for the visual interest they add below a hem of cropped jeans. This look is me being me. And I encourage you to wear what feels like you. Take the style advice that resonates and forget what doesn’t. After all, this blog is called Be So You for a reason!
And here’s another look that I love, a chunky heeled clog sandal.
With a heeled sandal
I love a wider hem with a chunkier heel and the height of the sandal helps to lengthen the legs. I’m wearing a puff-sleeve that’s fitted in the waist. The puff-sleeve helps to balance the wider proportion of my hips. And the v-neck is elongating. I’m deliberately showing my waistline to help visually lengthen the leg line.
Now, check out the kick cropped flare jeans with a tennis shoe.
With a tennis shoe
I prefer to wear a white tennis shoe with a cropped jean than a straight leg jean so there’s some flattering ankle showing. These tennis shoes are Tretorns. Remember them? I chose a pair with the green emblem on the side for a pop of color that looks fresh with blue jeans, a white t-shirt and the softest gray sweatshirt thrown over the shoulders.
Next up, let’s look at how these jeans work for fall and winter.
Since my style aesthetic is drawn to a mix of boho and classic pieces, I will definitely be pulling out my clogs.
With a clog
Again the cropped jean allows for a bit more ankle to show. Here I’m wearing a flowy cream embroidered blouse I found at World Market of all places. I’ve found 2 boho blouses from there that I love. I’m doing a front tuck with it to show that waistline. And I’m deliberately wearing a gold paperclip chain necklace and a gold coin with it to mimic the elongation that a v-neck would provide.
For fall and winter, these jeans also work with a classic brown Chelsea ankle boot.
With a brown Chelsea ankle boot
One of the hardest things to figure out is how to wear booties and ankle boots with jeans. I’m still experimenting. But so far, I’m liking how this looks. It’s easier to wear an ankle boot with a cropped flare jean because the boot shaft fits just under the slightly wider hem. And it shows enough of the ankle boot so there’s ankle definition. I’d like this even more if the boot had a block heel to visually lengthen the legs.
When I put this on, I was surprised by how much I like this casual but polished look. I bought the funnel neck sweater from Amazon in a size large for an oversized fit and did a front tuck with the sweater. I’ve been on the fence about whether to keep or return it, but these pictures made me decide to keep it. It will be a favorite for fall and winter.
So much to love about the kick flare cropped jeans
For me, these jeans are a winner because of their fabric composition that has more stretch than the usual straight jean. And since they de-emphasize my bottom.
Deep down, I also love cropped jeans because I feel like I’m channeling Audrey Hepburn vibes. A shorter jean and a pointy toe flat leave me swooning.
Whether these are the jeans for you or not, I hope you find a jean that you feel amazing in. Don’t give up hope. I’m rooting for you.