Subliminal Style
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Catching Rae

Culottes: Tackling Fall's Trickiest Trousers

Culottes. Culottes! One of my clients recently told me never to speak that word in her home again.  They cut your legs off. They add volume to the thighs and calves. And they are all the rage for F/W 2015. What's a gal to do?

We need to give culottes - and ourselves - a bit of a break here. We have been trained for the past 5-7 years to fit and flatter our bodies with just two mainstream fits for bottoms: skinny and super skinny. Once we accept that the tops and jackets that looked awesome with our jeggings probably won't work with culottes, a whole world of possibilities opens up. 

Culottes are actually pretty cool, because they: 

  • Help balance wide shoulders and busts.
  • Highlight a small waist.
  • Show off awesome boots without having to wear a skirt.
  • Provide better airflow for transitional weather.
  • Allow ease of movement for daily activities.

To get the fun benefits of this loose, cropped style without feeling short and wide, try one or more of these strategies:

  • Opt for a loose-fit, straight-leg crop instead of a traditional culotte (this is what I did). The look is less dramatic but still perfectly current - and much more wearable.
  • Wear heels. Nothing counters a shortening hemline like a longer leg line.
  • Wear high-vamped shoes that match your pants. Booties, boots, and sandals with straps that go high up on the foot and leg say, "Hey, my legs keep going long after these pants stop!"
  • Try a shorter (or tucked-in) top. Longer tops will shorten your legs even more. 
  • Choose a top and bottom with similar color value - darks with darks, brights with brights - for a long, continuous line all the way down.
  • Aim for a slim fit on your top and feet. The wider your culottes flare out, the slimmer your other stuff needs to be to pull the eye back in to your true frame.
  • Hem the culottes to your favorite below-the-knee skirt length. Just like jeans, plenty of culottes are cut for tall people. If you're short, have them taken up to just below the kneecap.

Oh, and last but not least: you don't have to wear culottes! You don't have to wear cropped pants at all. Fashion is totally rubber-banding away from skinnies and providing us with all kinds of wide, flared, and straight-legged confections as well. As always, take trends with a grain of salt and participate when they resonate with you