Are you like me and thought culottes originated in the 70’s and should have stayed there? OK, I actually knew they pre-dated the disco era, but ‘culottes’ is a french word for the knee-britches commonly worn by upper-class and aristocratic European men from the Renaissance through the early nineteenth century. Sometimes they are called Gauchos or wide-legged cropped pants, but typically they fall just below the knee (hitting mid-calf) and are wide and/or flowing. They are neither pants, nor shorts, nor skirt…they are just a fashion oddity I suppose.
Of course it was only a matter of time before culottes (which frankly I have not owned since I was in the third grade and my mother was in charge of my wardrobe and I had little say) would rear their somewhat ugly, yet oddly appealing head…again. Why not? Every other trend has been recycled at warp speed, why not culottes? Even when Celine, Louis Vuitton, Derek Lam, Michael Kors, Acne, Marc Jacobs, and Gucci began displaying culottes on their runways (beginning with Resort ’13) I may have chosen to ignore/overlook them, much like I did the still unfathomable Birkenstock trend (which by the way, I still hate). Yet, somehow the culotte has remained a little more quiet, dare I say subtle, and has slowly worked it’s way in to my subconscious. Now I desire a pair. Yet, how does one style culottes or Gauchos and not look like a sack of potatoes?
The trick to styling culottes is as always…proportions. If done correctly the flowing cropped pants are versatile, if not flattering. You can always wear a fitted tee and a strappy heel, but if you are a little more adventurous, why not try a menswear inspired button down knotted at the waist with more than a few buttons undone and layer on the necklaces? You can even go with a bold pattern culotte making sure to keep the top plain and simple or reverse it and wear a solid culotte with a graphic blouse. If you are really smart, try to grab a pair in leather or light wool and wear them into the fall, because I hate to break it to you, they are sticking around another season.
– Lauren Dimet WatersSee the Top Ten Summer 2016 Trends for Women Over 40
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