How to Wear Culottes Like a Fashion Pro

Leah Bourne
how to wear culottes gaucho pants street style

Photos From Left: Vogue UK; WGSN; Vanessa Jackman.

From street style stars to A-listers like Jennifer Lawrence and Victoria Beckham, everyone seems to have jumped aboard the culottes train, making them the “It” silhouette this year. Still, figuring out how to wear culottes—essentially voluminous short pants—isn’t always the easiest thing.

That said, they actually are quite easy to style. Whether you’re tall or petite, lanky or curvy, there’s a culotte out there with your name on it just waiting to be made into a fashion statement. Read on for our tips for culotte beginners on how to make this trend work for you. And don’t be surprised if you start to amass a pile of them in your closet in no time at all—culottes are totally addicting.

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1. Think of them like an A-line skirt and go from there.
Got culottes anxiety? Think of them as you would an A-line skirt when going about styling them (tucking in a blouse, for example, or choosing a high-waist pair and adding a crop top), and stick to basic colors like black, navy, and off-white to get yourself started. Before you know it, you’ll be living in culottes and experimenting with fun prints and colors, but this is the best way to start.

2. The best length is midcalf.
Wondering where the best place for your culottes to fall on your legs is? That would be midcalf, which will give the appearance of wearing a fun swingy skirt. If you’re on the petite side, opt for a pair that falls right below the knee, and tailor them if you need to.

3. Wearing culottes well is all about your shoes.
Arguably the whole point of culottes is getting to show off your shoes. Sleek ladylike options (you really can’t go wrong with a pair of pointy toe pumps with a slim heel) work best, and will instantly elongate your shape. For advanced culottes wearers, think of the pants as your carte blanche to go to town with more daring options like a thick-heeled platform or fun booties, which will keep them from feeling too matronly.

4. Don’t be afraid to play with proportions.
While the width and length of culottes can vary by quite a lot, the pants are usually high-waisted, which means they work particularly well with a top on the shorter side of things. It doesn’t have to be a crop top, but it should fall above your hip so your mid-section doesn’t end up looking wider than it is. Another way to wear them is with a tucked in blouse, which is a great look for the office.

5. Yes, you can most definitely wear them well into fall.
Culottes are most definitely not just a summer staple, they will carry you well into fall. Wear them with stalking peeking out, a blazer and a scarf for those slightly chilly days, or even with boots, which will give the illusion that you are wearing a continuous pair of pants.

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