It’s been some time since culottes were the knee-breeches reserved for bougie boys in 16th and 17th century France. Now a solid style of the female fashion world, modern day culottes refer to a specific pair of women’s pants that appear as if a mid-length skirt has been stitched up the middle. Legs are thus free flowing and airy, with materials that move but also hold shape. Voluminous as they may be by nature, it’s important to choose ones that fall correctly (fitted around the waist, skimming against hips, and free-flowing along the legs), even if that means a trip to the tailor. Once you’ve picked up the perfect pair, learn how to wear them!
Go with office chic
Pleated culottes paired with a tucked-in blouse and fitted blazer makes for a fashion forward yet appropriate look for the office. Keep things sleek and subtle by choosing like colors and classic accessories. A pair of patent loafers and a silk neck scarf added the right amount of femininity to the workwear inspired outfit featuring culottes on the Emporio Armani runway.
Pair with a crop top
For a cool and casual aesthetic, add a crop-top to your hip hugging culottes. With a pair of pumps and a hot leather clutch, like the ones that accessorized a cool pair of culottes and a peplum belly baring shirt at Alexander Wang, you’ll be ready for a night out.
Load up on layers
Standout by playing with layers like the looks featured on the Proenza Schouler catwalk. Mixing together knee grazing culottes and booties, an oversized sweater, and a tailored boucle or blazer is definitely street-style star status. If you can successfully play with color blocking too, you’re on your way to the pages of Vogue.
Play with proportions
Culottes, in themselves, play with flow, shape, and size. Working off that idea will make for a chic look. Take inspiration from the Derek Lam Spring/Summer 2014 show. The culottes that appeared on the catwalk were long and fluid, so to offset the shape, models were fitted with tailored and sleek cropped coats.
In spite of their baggy nature, wearing culottes with other pieces of the same shade will give your outfit a slimmed, defined look. Monique Lhuillier went with black for a sultry and elegant result.