Culottes, a cropped wide leg, have been a fringe trend for years, but went completely mainstream this year. They are finally available in an assortment of fabrications, colours, lengths, solids, patterns, dress codes and silhouettes.
They are a fabulous. You can wear them throughout the year with the appropriate support act. They can be styled with heels and flats, and are very comfortable. They’re trendy and look fresh amidst a sea of body-con skinnies. You can wear the right culottes to just about any occasion, creating a vibe that is as retro as it is ultra modern.
As far as body types go, there is a culottes silhouette for everyone. You do not need to be tall, slim and long-waisted to wear them. Not at all. It’s all about finding the version that works for your body type, which means choosing the right fabric, length, width and style detailing.
And yet, there is a general aversion to culottes. I see only a few fashion bloggers and a handful of our forum members wearing them. Some of my very trendy clients began wearing them a few years ago in casual denim and dressy black, and haven’t looked back. I was delighted when a few more of my clients starting wearing them with panache this year. But generally, the silhouette has NOT been popular, and I want to know why.
The negative feedback on culottes that I’ve received from my clientele runs the gamut. “No, not doing that again”, from those who had bad memories of culottes back in the ‘70s. “They aren’t flattering,” is quite a big concern, with the silhouette making my clients feel shorter in the leg and wider in the hips and thighs. Too much fabric, too fussy, and too trendy were other reasons. And it was a huge turn-off for short-waisted clients with a larger bust who felt dumpy and unattractive in the silhouette.
Not knowing how to style culottes has probably been the biggest concern. It’s much easier to combine a regular length untucked top with a pair of straight or flared cropped jeans or pants and the right footwear. That’s why straight and flared crops pants and jeans have been winners with almost all my clients over the last year. Although equally cropped, the silhouette on the legs is narrower than its wide leg culottes cousin.
I’ve been wanting a pair of culottes for years, but I also took a while to bite the bullet. I really didn’t know what I wanted until I found the perfect pair. I knew what I didn’t want. I didn’t want them to be super casual or too dressy. I didn’t want them in black, or in a pattern. And I didn’t want a silhouette that was too wide.
So I left my desire to get culottes on the back burner, until Greg and I found the perfect dressy denim pair for my birthday. And now they are my favourite jeans. Yes, they needed a little work to style them, but I enjoyed the challenge and LOVE having the very different silhouette in my jeans capsule. It helped that I had an army of blouses and pullovers at home that worked with them right away, and the footwear wasn’t a problem either.
Over to you. Are you wearing culottes, and if not, why not?