I find it easy to raise my hand up for some trends while some others strike a little fear in my heart. Culottes have a fear factor going on for me!
There must be something so right about them. After all, they are winning approval from all the big guns in the editorial world along with the street style stars and blogging crew. They came back on the scene last fall and have been a strong staple of the spring & summer collections this year. I recall ‘my bad memories’ of culottes back in the early 90’s and then there was the popularity of the stretchy jersey Gaucho pants in the early 2000’s. I owned a beloved black pair!! But I think they are taking on a different stance now. When I eye them up on the store hangers or website pages, they shout out that if they head my way then they will do their best to make me look like a sack of potatoes or an elephant. But not all clothing hanging from store hangers or lying flat on sites do themselves justice. Is this the same for culottes???
What are culottes?
The definition of culottes is: (noun) – women’s knee length trousers cut with very full legs to resemble a skirt.
After a little trip to Wikipedia, I learn that Culottes were originally the knee-breeches commonly worn by gentlemen of the European upper classes. The term culottes was co-opted from the original french definition of the word to describe the split riding skirts. Later split riding skirts were developed to “provide women more freedom to do activities such as gardening etc., and will look like one is wearing a skirt”.
Who is wearing culottes?
Being a Brit, I get very sentimental when Wimbledon is on and watch it like a hawk. A couple of weeks ago I had a fashion ‘ah-ha’ moment when I spotted one of my style queens of worship, Stella McCartney. She nailed the culottes. She looked so good that it has prompted me to delve further into the culotte world and write this post. I thought: if they work for Stella, then maybe they can work for me? Or at least enter my thought process.
Kate Bosworth has also been spotted working the denim culottes sublimely.
Who doesn’t love the delightful queen of style, Leandra Medine from the famed Man Repeller blog…… She looks incredible in these culottes. Now this girl for sure has amazing style and personality oozing from very pore. Gorgeous!
How am I even going to style the Culottes?
With a little research via Pinterest, some of my favourite blogs and the big guns like Refinery 29, I have come to the conclusion that there a few ways to style these scary things!
1) The Tomboy look – culottes can look like an A line skirt when your legs are together. Sporty casual dolls can wear them with tees and sporty details like drawstring waists. A simple tee + culottes + a flat cool shoe, like a pair of Stan Smiths, and I think your good to go. I’m drawn to the idea of wearing a white tee with black culottes for a good contrast teamed with the white of the Stan’s. Very cool street look. Throw on a rucksack or cute cross-body bag and you’re good to go.
2) The polished look– Victoria Beckham completely nails this look. Team up the culottes with a bright pointy heel. This helps elongate the legs and puts the footwear on display. Emphasis on a bright heel, or shoe, along with some statement jewellrey. Bingo!
3) The vintage 70’s vibe – choosing a bold patterned print teamed with a few basic pieces and your on your way to the vintage look. The simple pieces would also work well oversized and cinched in at the waist. On chilly fall days this will also work well with knee high tan leather boots.
4) The Hipster look– the cool chicks are parading well in their leather/imitation leather culottes. Simple lines and bold accessories carry this look off so well.
5) The layer-it-up look – thinking a good tunic in a contrast colour would look great. I’m thinking a white tunic with black culottes. Play with shapes and balance. Maybe a sleeveless tunic and culottes with gladiator sandals.
6) The young dollies – if I was 20 years old with a flat washboard stomach and living my life with not a bloody care in the world. Then a crop fitted top with culottes would be amazing. The fitted top with bell shaped bottom would be such a good contrast. Don’t worry, I’m nowhere near 20 with a washboard stomach so this will not be a look from me on Instagram!!
Do they fit in the capsule wardrobe?
Well, they can dress up and down easily, which ticks the box of cost per wear. Dress up with heels, ankle boots and a cute jacket. Then dress them down with Birkenstocks, tanks and an army jacket. For me, I think I could venture towards the denim pair or simple plain black. Due to the length of culottes and the fact that the 70’s vibe is continuing into the fall wardrobe for most retailers. They could also team up well with a merino sweater or long sleeve tee and accompany a great pair of knee length boots. I’m envisioning black culottes with tan leather knee boots happily worn with a cape style jacket. So with these options to mix with other items and transfer to the next season. They can’t lose on the value factor.
Saturday afternoon shopping
So what is out there right now? Good timing for the summer sales. A chance to snatch a pair and maybe they will even transcend into the fall wardrobe?
Always time for Wise Words……..
So, here I go!
Sticking with my comfort uniform of denim or black. I have ordered these culottes and am testing them out. Cue a little background tune of The Clash – should I stay or should I go now?……..da da da da da da da daaaaaa
I bought a black pair from New Look (UK) in tall length via Asos. They were in the sale for £15. I am 5’10” and thought the extra length may look better on me and less like I am going to impersonate Maria from the sound of music??!! Thinking I can dress them up and down. For summer I plan on adding a flash of colour with my Zara red shiny heels or playing it casual with my Zara cowboy sandals. Then when it’s chillier and fall/winter decends then I will add my ankle boots or knee boots with my tassel bag and head for the stars of the 70’s vibe that will wrap us up warm next season. The black feel right to me. Obviously I am swayed by how amazing Alexa Chung looked and I am fully aware that I don’t resemble her in any way! But these gems seem to hit the spot.
Now, I’m stuck for the denim version. I managed to bag the Zara frayed hem culottes in the current summer sale for $25!!! But don’t know if I am too curvy to pull these off? Wondering if I need structure and clean lines when it comes to Culottes?? Sack of potatoes?? Yay or nay?? Because of this I decided to order the Gap 1969 denim culottes as they were on sale online for $35! Lovely.
The black culottes are Ok?! I think ?!?
The denim culottes look nothing short of shite on me?!? I desperately pulled everything out of my entire wardrobe to co-ordinate and conjure up the perfect combo. I got nothing!! I feel like Krusty the Clown complete with bad language and the cigarettes
If subjecting my husband and his photography skills with these photos was not enough?! I then put my friend through an agonizing session where she sat on my bed as I whipped through the potential outfits. The look on both her face and mine were the only things that co-ordinated well. We both came to the conclusion that I’m a jeans girl (a skinny one at that………..skinny, as in the jeans that is!! Lol) The leg was just too wide on the denim culottes. She has a couple of pairs in her working wardrobe which she styles up a dream and looks heads above the rest. It just goes to show that some fashions are more suited to others. I’m ok with that. So off to the shops tonight for the mass returns. Remember always make friends with the sales staff to reduce the looks of concern when you heave a big bag up onto the sales counter. At least someone will grab the bargains I ordered online!!
So there we go. Culottes can fit into the capsule wardrobe without a catastrophe tag pinned to them for some of the lovely lasses out there. But despite following Iris Apfel’s words of wisdom, only the black culottes are crossing the boundaries on my wardrobe! Hope you enjoyed the laughs. My husband and I were bent over double laughing with these shots. It made me think of Ricky Gervais and his crazy Twitter bath selfies!!! How does he do it?!!
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts or opinions. Be gentle!!! I’m still traumatized by the above photo shoot! Lol