Thursday, Nov 15, 2018 | Last Update : 06:04 PM IST

Chilled out and cozy in culottes

THE ASIAN AGE. | KIRAN KALRA
Published : Aug 22, 2018, 12:53 am IST
Updated : Aug 22, 2018, 12:53 am IST

They are comfy, cool and can be worn at all times. Our fashion expert tells you how to sport this contemporary look.

A leather jacket with a cropped top and low waisted culottes.
 A leather jacket with a cropped top and low waisted culottes.

It’s exciting to see the different trends on the runway this year. Make note of the all over animal prints, the bold magenta colour, corduroy and CULOTTES! They are ruling the roost. In fact, Veronique Hyland of The New York Times states that, “Culottes are about what it feels like to wear them rather than how people respond to them. These breezy pants are about liberation, and what could be more beautiful than that?”

This season’s hottest look — The Culottes, yes, the culottes are back in action. Only, this time they are not as voluminous as they used to be in the 80s and 90s! And if you are still hesitant to try this dividing look, then you must take a tip or two from the images you see of some of the biggest names in fashion — Jennifer Lopez, Victoria Beckham and Kendall Jenner flaunting the look this year!

A white pair of culottes with a black tank top.A white pair of culottes with a black tank top.

Styling them can be tricky as they are essentially the love child of a pair of palazzos and a midi skirt and not everyone can carry this look well. You can get the look right by choosing a style that’s between the knee and the calf.

 Personally, I’d hate to team them with an oversized long jacket or a simple tee and trainers. The look that excites me is teaming them up with a matching waistcoat for a stylish, classic look. Or even, team the culottes with a fitted sleek silk top. Both looks can be worn comfortably to work. The latter can transition into a more formal look for a night out straight from work. This look which is more stylish needs to be teamed well with the right kind of foot wear. Nothing matches the super high heels to give this look a perfect finish!

For a more fun look, one can style it with a crop top with plenty of the midriff on show. A biker jacket with ankle boots to finish this super fun look also works well. You could also team culottes with a cosy knit and contrasting accessories. So while this is subtle, it still screams classy and stylish! 

You know what else is super classy, I can’t but think of how beautiful a white on white would look. A crisp pair of white culottes matched with a crisp white top. Finish it with a perfect pair of nude heels. A look that I see perfect for a holiday in Paris or Milan! As you can see, the culottes is pretty much a staple piece that you can mix and match into endless outfits. Vito Dell’Erba, an Italian designer who has leant his creative vision to brands like Givenchy, Miu Miu, Helmut etc, also launching his own brand in India next month, says, “Once known as breaches for men, ‘Culottes’ are a must have in a modern women’s wardrobe. I personally love them slightly high-waisted, and above the ankle, worn with high heels. Anything you wear them with, from a t-shirt, blouse, blazer or a denim jacket looks extremely stylish and always gives you a confident look. A must-have in a women’s wardrobe.”

Runa Ray, another very popular designer in the city who’s designs have walked the New York Fashion Week elaborates on this breezy outfit, “I have always personally liked culottes — could be a mix of bell bottoms and wide legged pants. It looks flattering while it hugs the woman’s hips and flares out. When done in various fabrics for example a georgette or twill, it can give the wearer a slinky look or a structured silhouette. A versatile bottom for sure — which can be used for various occasions — casual or formal.”

Now that you know the latest trend on the runway and the racks, let’s try to understand the story behind the birth of this piece of garment (something that always excites me). It is a word derived from the French word Culot, meaning the lower half of a thing, lower garment in this case. Modern English use of the word culottes describes a split or bifurcated skirt. Something that hangs like a skirt but is actually pants which during the Victorian Era became a necessity for the physically active women who wanted to ride horses and ride bikes.

Elsa Schiaparelli, an Italian fashion designer is regarded as one of the most prominent figures in fashion between the two World Wars. Sometime in 1931, she wore the culottes on a trip to London which caused controversy and was condemned by the British press. Ever since, it has remained an item of clothing that hasn’t gained a place of “everyday clothing” and may take a bit of courage and careful styling to pull off. Drifting in and out of fashion, the culotte remains a somewhat feminist item due to their a-stylish appearance! We bring you the trends, you make them your own!

(The writer helms a  fashion brand with international elements, and walks the talk when it comes to runway rousing!)

Tags: culottes, jennifer lopez, biker jacket