In the quest for on-trend fashion, many women consider pieces of clothing that range from the simple to the completely outrageous. Culottes, a style of pants, might seem to fall into the second category at first. However, this versatile clothing style actually enjoys a long and prosperous history in addition to its many modern applications. Women considering wearing culottes should start by learning a bit about the garment as well as how to wear it.
As many in the fashion world like to point out, culottes are not quite shorts and not quite skirts. Also called gauchos and wide-leg pants, technically, culottes is any garment which hangs loose like a skirt but actually includes two separate leg openings, like trousers. Many people mistake culottes for a skort, which is a combination of a skirt and pair of shorts. However, the distinct style of a skort is such that a separate bell-shaped skirt flap appears over the front of the garment. This is very different than the two distinct legs of culottes.
A Brief History of Culottes in Fashion
Originally appearing as women's fashion pieces in the Victorian Era, culottes were a type of riding clothing that allowed women to comfortably mount horses without riding side saddle. They enjoyed a resurgence in the 1960s and 70s as part of the Women's Rights Movement for a similar reason. These so-called vintage culottes allowed women to still look like they were wearing a skirt without the restrictions of one helping them comfortably garden, for example. In the 21st century, culottes again appeared in fashion, especially as part of runway styles for the spring of 2014.
The major appeal of culottes is that, unlike many high-fashion trends, the generous cut and flowing nature of this garment is appropriate for a variety of body types. Obviously, like the models who wear culottes on the runway, those who are tall and slim love this style because it emphasises their long legs. However, like any wide-leg pants, culottes also work well with hourglass figures since the wider legs appear to slim the hips. Full-figured women can wear culottes if they choose long pairs which slim their legs and emphasise their height.
The versatility of culottes in fashion attracts many people to this style. Though runway models always make a look seem impossible, culottes in many different colours and patterns present wearers with a variety of easy-to-achieve looks. The simplest way to style culottes is with a T-shirt and a pair of heels. The cropped nature of most culottes helps elongate the figure with this pairing. This style is also easy to mimic for different occasions. By wearing a silk blouse and jewel-toned shoes, for example, the look is easy to take into the evening. Neutral pumps, on the other hand, make a more appropriate office suit.