As you may know, Dear Reader, I'm obsessed with culottes. Some clients are very enthusiastic about trying out the trend. Others, not so much. Like jumpsuits, culottes are a departure from the styles that have become second nature and it's natural to feel self conscious about rocking the look. As a personal stylist for women in Seattle, I'm discovering that taking them into colder weather is especially concerning for a number folks. With that in mind, here are a few tips and tricks for pulling off the culotte trend.
7 Ways to Wear Culottes in Cold Weather
1. With Ankle Boots.
The ankle boot trend is still going strong. Yes, you can pull out your knee high boots if they are a) 70's inspired or b) rain boots. Otherwise, just tuck them back into the closet until next year. For your ankle boots, go right ahead and pull them out to pair with your culottes. And, don't fear mixing things up. You can hide your socks or go with ankle socks. This will simply show your boot, skin and then your culottes. Alternatively, let about an inch or so of your sock show. This has a similar effect to going with higher boots. You should still see your skin between the sock and the hem of your culottes. This is a more casual and risky approach for the adventurous fashionista. Tights or hosiery are generally not going to be ideal with culottes. Of course, there are exceptions. But, if culottes are a big stretch already, no need to get crazy. And, to answer your next question, yes, every height of ankle boots or booties is just fine.
2. With Sneakers or High Tops.
The recent Poplin event at Vince in Bellevue Square reminded me how much I adore high top sneakers. I've been wearing these on the weekends with black culottes, an particularly awesome R2-D2 tee and a long cardigan. This look is ideal for kicking around the soccer ball or hitting the park with the family. Because culottes are shorter pants, they are making your shoes a focal point of your outfit. This is not the time to pull out your beleaguered runners. Instead, opt for hip sneakers, high or low, that are sure to draw attention- in a good way.
3. With Heels.
The sophisticated woman pulls off culottes with sneakers effortlessly. Try adding a tailored blazer, leather jacket or trench coat to complete the look. Winter white or burgundy culottes are a nice alternative to black and are especially flattering for women with inverted triangles. Whether your choose a basic pump (hello animal print) or a loafer with a high heel will have a substantial impact on your look. Mix it up. This is a rare opportunity to give beautiful shoes the spotlight in cold weather.
4. With Rain Boots.
Yes and yes. That crazy town storm on Saturday was a gentle reminder that every Northwesterner needs a pair of waterproof shoes. It's likely you have a pair of Hunters or something similar. Instead of restricting them to pairing with leggings, embrace the culotte and long socks. Leave the culotte untucked. If the color of the pant and your boots are the same, your legs will be elongated. Take that culotte! And, your legs will be nice and dry as the hem of your pants is nowhere near the puddles on the ground.
5. With Platforms.
If you like to take a more risky approach, platforms and culottes are an ideal option. Personally, I have a special place in my heart for exceptionally unconventional shoes. If you have a similar love of the slightly (or not so slightly) weird, show them off with your culottes. They look great and are super comfortable.
6. With Oxfords.
For the woman who has a menswear-inspired look, culottes and oxfords are a modern way to go. Want things a little more masculine, add a tailored blazer or a collared shirt. Alternatively, balance the shoes with more feminine pieces on top such as a silk blouse or fitted cashmere sweater. A longer vest is another option that feels current and elevates the look.
7. With Clogs.
You know how much I adore a good pair of clogs. Ever since I got that glorious pair at re-souL in Ballard, I've stumbled upon several folks who have picked up a pair of their own. (My son's teacher, clients, the list goes on.) The point is, a good pair of clogs can bring a minimalist Scandinavian vibe to your outfit and for those of you who are especially drawn to a relaxed, effortless, loose fitting approach to style, clogs may be just the answer for you. As an aside, clogs have a wooden base. They don't need to have an open back. Fun facts are nice. Anyway, I'm a big fan of culottes with clogs and a loose fitting super soft sweater. Toss a more tailored jacket or vest over top to complete the look. I also like stripes in the mix. A boatneck striped tee with a cardigan or jacket is a bold and yet easy going choice.
Ah culottes. I can talk about them all day. Expect more on these wondrous pants in future posts and the Poplin newsletter. Not signed up? In the words of Piggy Bunny's* genius grandparent, that's a problem we call fixable.
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*Piggy Bunny is one of my very favorite children's books, by the way.