The Culotte Conundrum

Are you as afraid of culottes as I am?

No matter that these calf grazing pants are one of the hottest silhouette trends around. Neither pants, neither shorts, but a seemingly odd marriage of the two with an awkward hemline. Supporters rally around the touted fact that this particular cut flatters a wider demographic of body types. Personally, I’ve never been attracted to the half-pants-half-skirt look. Ever. Being short (read: very short at 5’1″), my mindset has always settled around the idea that culottes were meant for the lankier ones.


And yet the fad has evolved into, yup, a staple piece (shudder). Yes, what was long thought of as dowdy and unflattering has become many a designer’s darling. That’s when I knew it was time to revisit the shape. To see what all the hype was and maybe, just maybe, reconcile with the (remotest) possibility that I might perhaps don a pair myself. Maybe.


I’ll admit, a substantial part of their appeal lies in immense versatility, deftly going from office lunch to black tie. And they’re awfully transitional, crossing seasons effortlessly with the mere switching of accoutrements. With permutations running the gamut from voluminous wide leg to cropped leg, and hemlines from just below the knee to just above the ankle, options abound.

Despite designer endorsements, however, culottes are still a hard sell for the average woman who’s more used to a skirt and a pair of pants being two different things and silhouettes. That said, the shape can be surprisingly flattering.


I know, I’m shocking myself by saying that. Look at the proportions. Culottes begin by nipping in the waistline, creating shape and length, then skim over typical trouble spots of hips and butt, and then they flare out, to end with a slim ankle. I hate to say this but it does sound rather flattering and forgiving, and, more importantly for me, length-giving to the vertically challenged.


I don’t know. Perhaps I’m trying to convince myself that I should give these another go.


Until such a time my fickle mind decides if we should revisit this option from my school days, I leave you with this epic comment from Lowell Delaney, co-designer of the two-year-old London label, Trager Delaney, which has included culottes in nearly every collection to date, “The culotte is a little bit of an ‘F-you’ piece. It’s such a power move because it isn’t a conventionally sexy look. It says, ‘I don’t care and I still look better than you even though you’re wearing a miniskirt.’ It’s androgynous but feminine at the same time.”

That quote. my friends, may very well prove to be my undoing.

Would you wear culottes?

Love, Sheela

p/s all images belong to their respective blog owners, with many thanks


3 Replies to “The Culotte Conundrum”

  1. This is one look I’m staying away from …well at least for now. I’m also on the shorter side at 5’4″ and even putting on cropped pants makes me lose about 2 inches in height instantly.

    I remember being maybe 10 or 11 when these were first popular. I wanted them so badly then and I can remember seeing photos of myself wearing them and thinking even then that they looked silly.

    Not for me…so I’ll admire them on others : )



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