They’re not a skirt; they’re not pants, they’re something in between. Are you a fan of Culottes? This throwback to the 70’s is an interesting trend, even though it can be awkward to wear.
Here’s how to wear Culottes and make them work for you.
3. Choose Culottes that Mimic a Skirt
Culottes have an unusual shape and are known to make you look totally frumpy or fabulously chic; there seems to be no in-between. The newest and most elegant way to work this trend is to choose culottes with a flowy look and feel that are quite full in the leg. Think of women’s culottes like a long, full, swingy skirt, but with a modern twist. These feminine white culottes are exactly what I’m talking about.
2. Pick Full, but not Bulky Culottes
Soft folds or pleats in the legs are a lovely detail, but watch out when they creep north to your waist. Too much detail or bulky material at the waist adds pounds, which is exactly what you don’t want if you are already battling a midlife middle. Heavily pleated culottes will make you look heavier than you are. These black culottes are very slimming because they have a flat front, no pleats or vertical zipper up the middle.
If you are petite, try going with a slimmer culotte and make sure your culotte pant legs are not so long they drown your legs. Sometimes you can find Petites culottes specially tailored to flatter smaller, more compact bodies.
Another trick to looking taller and thinner in culottes?
3. Pay attention to what Top you wear with Culottes
It can be hard to know what type of top to pair with such statement-making pants. The first rule to remember is that the top you choose needs to have less volume than the culottes. This is the only way to avoid looking like you have no waist, and you’re drowning in fabric.
To make culottes look more sophisticated pair them with a slim, refined top, like a silky blouse. For sporty types, a structured, button-up style shirt provides a beautiful contrast of hard and soft lines between the top and bottom half of your look. Your choice.
Cropped sweaters that end at the waist can work, but only if you have a flat tummy.
4. Tuck in or Tuck Out?
If you decide on a shirt or blouse, then tucking in is most flattering. This is the best way to showcase the shape of the culottes and create an hourglass shape!
For gals with a bit of mummy tummy, try a sweater tucked out that stops at the top of the hipbone. – I call it the happy medium.
Some women can go longer, but it is tricky. If you are slim and your sweater is more streamlined, not big and baggy, this could work for you. You just have to be careful you don’t create that wide on the top, wide on the bottom silhouette that makes you look like a big box or even Sponge Bob Square Pants!
5. What Shoes and Bags Work with Culottes?
Culottes stop halfway down your calf; they can make your legs look heavy, so need to be paired with heels to lengthen your leg line. You can wear anything from a pump to a strappy heel, or a sexy bootie. Even and adorable (and comfortable!) pair of low kitten heels is fine. The slightest lift works wonders to elongate your legs and make you look taller and slimmer.
Also, remember that culottes highlight your ankles and feet, so have some fun and go a little wild with your shoes.
As for your bag, choose one with clean lines and a very structured shape to contrast your flow culottes in a very fashion-forward way. For more tips how to feel confident in this new trend check out these other Fabulous After 40 posts on wearing wide leg cropped trousers or styling tips for denim culottes.
Prefer denim? See my denim culottes post.
Do you love culottes or do you stay clear? Let me know.