Monday, 1 June 2015

Culottes or not?


Most styles get recycled eventually, so it shouldn't be a surprise to learn that culottes are having another moment in the fashion-y sun.

I can't actually remember wearing any in the 1970s, and I really wasn't planning on wearing a pair now either.

I know - never say never...

My manager and a fellow volunteer at the charity shop put these late 1970s/early 1980s culottes aside for me. And despite being a bit dubious before I tried them, I find I like them.

Culottes (gauchos, divided skirts, whatever we're calling them) have been around for a long time.

Here are some examples from the 1930-40s...


the 1950-60s...


1970s...


and into the early-mid 1980s.


They adapted well throughout all these decades, then seemed to fall out of favour; who knows why? Fashion's fickle like that.


(I presume the woman on the bike wearing smart tweed culottes has her gas mask in that box.)


I think this St Michael pair are my favourites...


although the drapey green pair are blessed with pockets and a nicely shaped waistband. 

 Here are some of 2015's incarnations...


and look - mustard. How's that for coincidence?

1970-80s culottes, 1980s shirt, denim jacket, belt and bangles - charity shopped
1980s boots - Second to None

If you google culottes, you will find a lot of articles about how tricky they are to wear, and advising you on how you might possibly do so. 

My advice, should you want or need it (and I very much doubt that you do)? 


If you like them, just give them a go!

xxx

51 comments:

Vix said...

Culottes rule! Dunno why they're in and out of fashion,they've never been out of my wardrobe.
They're perfect for a day like today when it's blowing a gale and you don't want to flash your pants to the world.
Loved those Basque waists on clothes. Both pairs are fabulous, worn to perfection with the denim jacket & sSecond To None boots.
Claudia is looking so grown-up and gorgeous.
Love you! xxxxxxxx

thorne garnet said...

I vote for the mustard pair. Not fond of that color green. Also like that both pair look like skirts, instead of wide pants. You advice is right on: wear it if you love it!

Fiona said...

Couldn't agree more on that advice at the end. I haven't got any culottes myself but would certainly not be averse to wearing them. Both of your pairs fit perfectly and look gorgeous but think my favourites are the mustard pair. Superb culotte collages btw!
Your garden is looking very pretty and I've noticed the wood pile has gone. xx

Joni James said...

I love them with boots. Sometimes I've hemmed pants that are too short so that they've become goucho pants. I love the look in the fall with a plaid pair.
This mustard is such a gorgeous color on you!

mondoagogo said...

I like both pairs! I've been looking out for a pair of culottes for ages, never seem to see them in any local charity shops even since they became trendy again. I like 'em 'cos I suffer from the dreaded chub rub, but who wants to wear tights in the summer?! (which is why I live in light linen or cotton trousers all summer, and stick to skirts in cold weather :) )

I read that article, but I never thought of them as "tricky" to wear though! Honestly, people create problems over the most ridiculous issues! In any case, I always thought culottes are supposed to resemble a skirt but secretly be trousers, but most of the culottes pictured in that article just look like plain cropped trousers and not skirt-like at all. Is this one of those weird fashion things where they adopt a name from a different item, or am I being narrow-minded in my definition?

Suzanne Carillo said...

THIS is how you do culottes! The problem with the modern day versions is they just look like flared short pants. These look like a midi skirt but in fact are pants.

I think you made out like a bandit with this.

Will be posting on my FB page to show people how great culottes can look.

bisous
Suzanne

Mother of Reinvention said...

Culottes have a bit of a bad rep don't they? I have to say that you are rocking them and I like both pairs for different reasons -that colour mustard and the drape on the green. I am with you, they look fab and if you fancy it then why not? ;) xxxx

Kezzie said...

I wore a black pair of culottes through the late 80's and most of the 90's for my concerts! I really like them- they are very good for female cellists for concerts as they are rather more dignified for er- cello playing!
HOW nice are your two pairs- very very nice, that's what!!! SUCH bright colours- it's nice they return to favour- I have a few pairs I've had for a few years which I rock out occasionally.x

Forest City Fashionista said...

I've owned a couple of pairs of culottes in my lifetime, and technically, they are supposed to be pants that look like a skirt, which are what yours are. Suzanne is right when she pointed out that the "modern" versions look like cropped pants with wider legs. I think it's all about the fit. I like both pairs of yours - nice colours and they fit you very well.

I think at this point in my life I prefer the longer, palazzo pants than the shorter culotte, but as you said, never say never!

Connie said...

I've always loved culottes. They give me a chance to crawl around on the floor, as I am wont to do, and still look vaguely elegant. You make these look extremely elegant. You really do have a physique for fashion. The flowy culottes are especially nice. And there's lovely little Claudia learning how to be fabulous from her gorgeous Mom. I mean Mum. Or as my kids call me "what's for lunch?"

Natalia Lialina said...

Thank you for the little fashion history lesson, Curtise! I actually made a pair of culottes in the early 1990s, very similar to yours here, and to some of the 1930s and early 1980s styles you show here. Mine were pleated, long (almost maxi length) tartan, and I loved them and wore them for a few years. They are basically a midi skirt, with the comfort and convenience of pants - a more adventurous spirit. I would wear them again for sure. My other pair came to me in 2006/07 I guess, by Hanna Andersson (I was a fan and bought lots of Anya's clothes from that colorful brand when she was little), and they were more of the 1970s style - more like pants, very cool, classy looking, and I again wore them for a few years, until they did not fit me. I'm waiting for my next pair to find me. You look marvelous in both, I think I especially love the mustard ones, it's one of my favorite colors.

Love the photo of you and Claudia! xxxx

Ivy Black said...

I love 'em. Perfectly practical and stylish. I have a few pairs and they are great for cycling as the wind doesn't take them and cause a flashing incident like wot skirts do. I don't know why they aren't more popular. I love that pair we found in Sheffield for next to nothing that time.
I used to have some Thirties culottes in the Eighties that I picked up in an antiques market. I wish I had them now.
I like both your pairs..the green are lush and the mustard are gorgeous on you.
Love the photo of you and Claudia. Gawjuss gals!
Loves ya.
xxxxxx

diaryofapennypincher said...

Never been a fan of culottes, but having seen you in yours, I'm really not sure why! They look fab on you, both styles are gorgeous and you do wear them well. Love your venture into Eighties fashion too!

Sheila said...

I've been wearing my emerald green ones for a few years - mine are very similar to your turquoise ones. I love them, but the length and volume can be tricky.

Ali said...

Love those mustard ones! Never considered culottes before but I'm thinking they'd be perfect work (I teach wee ones)

jodie filogomo said...

I've decided if we live long enough, we get to see many versions of the same trend! Funny how the name changes also, huh? I think both of these look great on you...or maybe it's just how you styled them! jodie
www.jtouchofstyle.com

Laurie Duncan said...

Those culottes definitely look good on you! I've never tried on a pair, so I'm not sure if I would like them, but like you said; never say never! Maybe I'll have to make a pair for myself someday. :)

Tine Jensen said...

The culottes look so great on you! I tried them a couple of decades ago, and decided right away that they weren't for me! But on you they're very stylish, the mustard being my favourite. Especially in the last photo, with your lovely tapestry bag and beautiful daughter :-) Claudia's denim jacket is lovely too!

Shawna McComber said...

To culotte or not to culotte? Yes! I love culottes and I think both of these look great on you. I tend currently, to favour the ones that really disguise themselves as a skirt, which in this case the green ones seem to do but their shape is fairly similar and you wear them both really well. As always, these bold colours look so fabulous on you too.
xoxo

Miss Magpie said...

I think I had that green pair first time round!?! You look magnificent in them x

Emma Kate at Paint and Style said...

Culottes or not? Definitely not. But... having said that, you do look good in yours. Perhaps because they look like a skirt rather than wide legged elf trousers. xxxx

Lesley Extance said...

I must say Curtise, you look rather splendid in both pairs! But I do like the mustard pair and the top is fab too! Best wishes xxx

Virginia at A Sewing Life said...

My fondest clothing memory is a gold, brown and green striped culotte romper that zipped up the front! My mom made it for me and I just loved it as a nine and ten year old girl. Ever since I have not been able to fathom the culotte hatred in this world. That said, as a short person, I find culottes about as difficult to wear as a midi-length skirt, which is to say: difficult. I agree with you about these two pair--the gold is a great color, the green has great drape and cut...and color, too, actually.

Goody said...

I am a huge fan of culottes. I must have at least a dozen, some vintage, some not. I'd love a pair like the woman on the bike is wearing that can button together into a skirt-how practical.

They do look so good with boots and a jacket (and those are great boots you're wearing). You're wise to ignore the fashion advice, 9/10 times the advised style looks foolish.

Mother/daughter denim jackets! Love it.

Helga said...

Not a fan myself; I don't wear pants anyways!
But I like you best in the drapey green ones. The waistband is rather funky!
I do recall wearing knickerbockers at 14, which is as close as I got to culottes. I even find the word a bit icky!
Love! XXX

Melanie said...

Despite your initial reluctance I'm glad you tried these out - they both look great on you. And how thoughtful that your coworkers set them aside. Aren't they just a skirt but closed in the middle? Tighter fitting shorter pants I've always called gauchos, not culottes at all in my world. The photos of the past look so much more dynamic to my eye.
And what a gorgeous pair, mum and daughter in duo denim.

Sue said...

Both pairs look really really good. You are lovely and tall, you are aren't you? Well the culottes make you look tall. I rather fancy a pair, I am short so I may have to drag out my sewing machine, dust off some fabric and give it a crack. Summery weather is still hanging around for you, YAY!!!!

beate grigutsch said...

nobody wears them better then you!!!! (don´t tell vix)
;-)
this both have fab colors and fit you perfectly! pretty blouse too! and there you have the problems with the culottes that are now available - poor material, poor cut and fit, usually not enough fabric to be called a culotte - and then combined with an ill fitting t-shirt..... that would be tricky to wear for everyone!
your cold&rainy english weather came over yesterday afternoon - brrrr. but now the sun is trying.....
xxxxxxxx

Ladan Ladanu said...

I love the idea of them, but I have only ever had one pair and they were evening ones, lots of volume and black. Pretty safe. These ones great on you, you are possibly taller than me, I think I am too short for them for some reason. I love a wide trouser though, perhaps I should give these a try. I have a pattern quite like the 40s ones so once my current sewing obsession (my first trousers) is done I will perhaps give these a go.

Angels have Red Hair said...

You look smashing in your culottes ... next I think you should try knickerbockers, surely they're due for a comeback :0)
xx

Trudie said...

Ohhh I love them in you, so indeed never say never. I have had many pairs over the years but don't have any current, something I must rectify......I'm jealous you have these two fabulous pairs.

MIS PAPELICOS -Mis P said...

I love, love the way the look on you. I might even give it a go.
You little girl i getting as tall as you, ahhhh
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Melanie said...

I have never worn a pair myself but they look fab on you. Mustard always reminds me of a female comedian who I want to say is Josie Lawrence but I may have just invented someone, but she wore a mustard suit which I really coveted for reasons which now elude me xx

Beth Waltz said...

Culottes are ideal for tricky wearing situations, e.g. riding a man's bike or climbing into a small plane's cockpit. When my figure was less mature and my life more active, I sported a pair of shorty culottes in spinach green waffle weave cotton. With buttons! But I never looked so elegantly trim as you, Curtise. All that extra fabric demands LEGS.

Winter Moon said...

I do remember wearing culottes at some time in my life, but I've never been a dedicated follower of fashion, so I doubt they were on trend at the time (more likely a hand-me-down from my sister.

They look fab on you!

Yourself and your daughter are gorgeous :) xx

Lally said...

Oh I love culottes! Yours are marvellous, I love them both, they are such wonderful colours. I've never found any as good, they're always just various shades of brown! X

Carina Rosenholm said...

I love them on you -the green ones are my favorite ! On me ? No i dont think so ...
xxx

PinkCheetahVintage said...

In general, I don't love them. The two pair you have on are so full they look like skirts--so, yes! I like the mustard ones a lot.

Lynn Holland said...

Ooohhh weve got the same boots, I'm waggling my feet at you now. I've got my welsh wool skirt on though.
You've really made me think as culottes haven't been on my radar for years but I'm dashing round the charity shops tomorrow to find a pair.
Yours look fantastic on you. I didn't know I was in vogue with all my mustard gear. Xxx

Mrs Bertimus said...

They both look fab! I love them with boots!
Thank you for sharing a fashion moment with us x

BadPenny said...

I really like the mustard colour ones especially in the last photo. I think culottes are very stylish. They had some modeled on This Morning yesterday & looked fab !
A friend of mine wore black culottes all through the 80s & they really suited her.

Mim said...

Those really suit you! Much better than most of the modern ones I've seen. I can certainly see the practicality for cycling. That said, I can't ever see myself wearing them... probably because I don't really wear separates much.

The Vintage Knitter said...

Certainly looks like you're a culottes kinda gal! I don't have any at the mo' myself but used to have a black and white spotty pair back in the 90s that were a wardrobe staple at the time. They were really practical and avoided the threat of any skirt hem being inadvertently tucked into the knickers after a toilet break!! xx

Ulla-Marie Nilsson said...

So perfect fit! Really feminin and beautiful look!

Olga Rani said...

I had a pair back in the 80s and have a pair now too. Didn't notice that they are tricky to wear. Yours look really adorable: perfect fitting, nice colours.

peaches mcginty said...

Your culottes are excellent and lovely!! you look fab in them! I had a pair years ago, they were stiff and a weird fit, then my Mum made them into an 'A' line skirt, haven't tried them since! the leopard print all in one culotte ensemble is gorgeous though, love the pic of you and Claudia x x x

freckleface said...

I say yes to culottes! Especially those mustard ones on you. I think what I most like about them is their trickery. You think it's a skirt, but NO! It is in fact trousers. Got ya! I love that last picture of you and Claudia, what a gorgeous pair you are, all stylish and happy. Cor, those patterns from the 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s are just fabulous, aren't they, and the outfit pictures. Is that Catherine Deneuve in leopardskin? No, I see it's not know, but she's a lookalike. I want to be the one with the hat and basket, please. Xxxxx

Diane said...

HUGE fan of Culottes. A very practical item of clothing and much underrated. I've worn 'em loads over the years and would wear them now if I found some as gorgeous as those. xxx

kobieta niewidzialna said...

I love your yellow cullotes! Best

Lisa said...

A big thumbs up for the mustard ones. I had a pair in the mid 80's I loved, pale pink they were and I loved them to bits.
Lisa x

Catherine said...

i love your mustard ones! they are pretty much the perfect kind that i would want. i've seen a few patterns for culottes both new and old ones so i really want to give them a try. especially ones like yours!