12 May 2018

Would You Wear Culottes?

Would You Wear Culottes?on vickiarcher.com

Culottes, cropped pants – what do we think?

My answer is the same as it always is. Yes, within reason and with adaption.

Can you remember way back in the day when they were called gaucho pants”?

I am dating myself, but I can. Of course, I had a pair – even made them myself in a moiré silk taffeta. Heaven help me. They were actually rather cool, if I say so myself – the quality of the make was another matter.

Cropped pants are a popular choice as the weather warms and the bodies relax. I like them and will wear them often but there are a few criteria I follow to make this trend work for me.

* They cannot be too, too wide. Width and height go hand in hand.

*The length is all important.

*The fabric needs to drape well or be soft.

*A firmer fitting top works well in contrast to the wider width of the pants.

*A less fitted and longer shirt needs some definition to flatter.

The diagonal strap of a cross body bag can give the illusion of a more fitted blouse.

The other “trick” is to tuck the front of the shirt in and leave the back longer. This is a great one tucked in, with a small amount of blouson and left out at the back. If I am feeling self-conscious about my back view, this is a brilliant solution.

I saw these and loved them – a simple tee, a white man-style shirt and even a fitted white linen blazer were my co-ordinating options. I’ll wear them with mules, sneakers and even a kitten heel for the evening.

Then I decided this style is a rather good idea for this time of year – I can even see them with a fine turtleneck in the evening.

What do you think? Will you try them? xv

I Would Wear These

eileen fisher striped linen  ||  eileen fisher cotton crop  ||  eileen fisher pleated linen  ||  eileen fisher wide-leg

eileen fisher boot-cut crop  ||  eileen fisher silk crop  ||  theory smocked silk

image, tyler joe

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I almost wore long floaty white culottes as a bride. Almost, but then the best man informed us that he insisted on buying the groom a specially made kilt in his clan dress tartan to wear for our wedding. It was a generous present because a hand tailored bespoke kilt made in Scotland is very expensive. And my husband is of Scottish ancestry on his father’s father’s side.
But then a quandary. What could I wear. Not pants. We’d never hear the end of all the jokes about who’d wear the pants in the family. As my bridegroom was a postgrad student at Cambridge and we were far away from family and oldest friends we’d decided to have a very simple wedding (it was in the days before destination weddings or events when all your family and a hundred friends boarded planes and flew around the world to be there). So I hired a beautiful simple traditional dress from Moss Bros. Have never regretted it because I didn’t have to worry about storing and schlepping around a precious gown that no-one else would ever want to wear. But then again I’ve never worn culottes either. Best wishes, Pamela


Pamela, what a lovely and amusing anecdote!
I too have never worn culottes!! Not sure how I feel about them although I do admire them on others. I just don’t feel tall enough to carry them off.


Many thanks Sunflower and Sharon E for your kind comments!
Will give the culottes some thought. For me they’d need to be full length not cropped. Will be celebrating our wedding anniversary this year in Paris with a week in Cambridge with an old friend just beforehand and then briefly London. (Will be attending a big shindig at hubby’s old college at which our friend will be one of the stars.) Thinking next year we might celebrate one of our major anniversaries at his college where our reception was held. Best wishes, Pamela

Angela Muller

I’ve never worn culottes, and won’t be starting now! They make petite women look shorter, full figured women look fuller, and tall women appear they have outgrown their pants. I love retro fashion and am happy when certain styles reappear on the fashion scene…just not culottes.


Angela, I am short, petite and although I once had a tiny waist, I’m now quite straight through my torso. I discovered some very soft cullottes and have the same style in two slightly different cropped lengths. The fabric is a fine Ponti, the waist fitted but stretch, so very comfortable with no gathering around the waist. I feel these are perfect for even my short stature and so comfortable. We are now going into winter weather and I’m also wearing them with boots. If you’re petite, just give them a try! :-))

Angela Muller

Lorraine, thank you for your suggestions. I never considered them with boots, which would lengthen the look…sort of like gauchos.


I’m in love with the leaner cropped pants. It’s a small step to wearing culottes. I saw a linen pair yesterday at a little shop and was tempted to try but my hair appointment had me running. I may go back today. I would pair it with a fitted top. Do you think a fitted tee would suit linen?

Mimi Gregor

Oh, god…. I once used to wear these stupid things. Yes, I’m old enough that they were called gaucho pants. My only alibi is that I was quite young and impressionable at the time, and believed everything the fashion industry put out there was a must have. As a result, I made a LOT of stupid fashion and beauty choices over the decades. So what’s the excuse of women NOW? They are unflattering and shorten one. I will certainly not be making this mistake again!

Sharon E

I have several pair and like them for summer wear. Of course I am tall enough with long legs and have no difficulty wearing them.

Susie Martin

Love these! Having just been in Paris I caught on quickly to this look Have come back with a fab black pair from Maje – so wearable for work & play!


I wear them all year round, in winter with a turtleneck and boots and in summer with a white t shirt and flats. I am only 5ft 2 so definatey on the short side. I always get compliments on how very ‘French’ I look. I’m taking that as a good thing!!


Oh goodness, I’m right there with you, Vicki as far as the era; I remember them so well and my mum made me a few pairs in a heavier fabric and these went well with BOOTS. I have to admit that I’ve never thought about wearing them now, however. I don’t think they’d suit my small stature, especially a soft, flowing fabric. I see these softer fabrics on taller, more angular women and on my medium-to-small pear-shaped frame, I don’t think they’d look good.But they do look comfortable!


I think they look great on other people. Not me unfortunately as I have long legs and cropped ends up being way too cropped. Even capri pants are too short on me. Great if you have average length legs.


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Wardrobe Classic: The Turtleneck