Capris by any other name

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When I was a child in the 1950s and early 60s, they were called pedal pushers. I had no idea at the time that the name was derived from the style of pants worn by cyclists which was, of course, quite different from the padded spandex shorts worn by serious cyclists today.

I also remember them being called clam diggers or deck pants, both names that made perfect sense to this coastal girl. After all, who would want to swab a deck or dig clams with pant legs flopping around your ankles and getting wet and dirty?

It wasn’t until I was a little older that I learned to refer to them as capris. Apparently that name also originated in the 1950s though. It was taken from the Italian island of Capri where the pants rose to popularity in the late 1950s and early ’60s. The island was emerging as a popular European holiday destination at that time and American actress, Grace Kelly, was amongst the first to wear the new style there.


Capris, by one name or another, have been an enduring trend ever since, but the style has evolved over time. Though some use the term as a catch-all for any pant that is longer than shorts, but not full length, the dictionary defines them this way:

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Though I’ve finally started wearing crop pants and I do occasionally wear shorts, capris are easily my favourite summer pants. A tapered pair that ends just above the widest part of the calf is much more flattering than a wider, baggy pair or one that ends at the widest point. Capris are very versatile. They can be worn with heels or flats and dressed up or down depending on what you wear them with.


Here I’m wearing a favourite denim pair that are a couple of years old. I paired them with a t-shirt from Ricki’s that has also been part of my summer wardrobe for the past few years worn over a white camisole. Though it doesn’t show up well in the photos, a bit of bling on the t-shirt takes it from boring to attractive. I’m also wearing my super comfortable flats from Payless ShoeSource with their memory foam inner soles. This simple, casual look was perfect for wearing to a fun / sports day at my grandson’s elementary school.

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