In Defence of Culottes

In Defence of Culottes

There’s a lot of hate in the fashion world right now. It’s not about pierced eyebrows, poo catchers or even Birkenstocks, this time it’s all over culottes. Is it a skirt? Is it pants? Is it just awful?

Angela Mollard slammed the culotte in this recent piece on and, as a fashion lover and somewhat stylish person, I feel compelled to respond.

If Victoria Beckham can wear them, I'm in

If Victoria Beckham can wear them, I’m in

Heralded as the worst thing since harem pants, culottes are a skirt pants combo popular in the 90s along with butterfly hair clips and crochet bikinis.

I’m as anti-90s fashion as the next person. I really don’t see the need to bring back plastic “tattoo” style chokers or platform wedge sandals, but for the culotte I’ll make an exception.

The delicious love child of maxi skirts and wide leg pants, the culotte is a natural extension of the flowy yet tailored trend. Wide leg pants have always been in fashion for their thigh hiding, leg extending properties. Popular with the miniature fashionistas like Mary Kate Olsen and Victoria Beckham. And I see the modern culotte as a continuation on this theme.

Unless you are Miranda Kerr, probably don't buy a red leather pair

Unless you are Miranda Kerr, probably don’t buy a red leather pair

They’re being likened to leggings (which it took me a long time to accept), harem pants and tracksuits with words across the butt. Wrong. Unlike leggings which my main objection to was the ability to tell what kind of vulva you have, culottes aren’t sharing with the world more than they want to see. They don’t look like you’re wearing a nappy (hello harem pants) and, frankly, I don’t really care if your tracksuit pants have words across the butt, since it’s a bit of a fashion crime to wear them in public anyway.

Culottes, for those of us who don’t do skirts (too cold!), are a fail safe way to be comfortable in public. I’m not suggesting you don Miranda Kerr’s red leather pair, but the ones that look like suit pants? I’m on board.

And who wouldn’t want a pair of pants that looks fine for the office but feels like you’re in your pyjamas. Tracksuit pants with pockets, tailoring and a license to wear them to a meeting? Sign me up for that!

Unlike so many fashion fails of recent years, culottes are a hark to the 90s I welcome with open arms and an open wallet.

Next item on the agenda: Overalls.

Are you on board with culottes? What fashion item from the 90s do you want to come back?


  • 26 Years & Counting

    I don’t like them, but that’s because I don’t think they would suit me at all. Randomly baggy bits don’t do much for an already curvy body. But that doesn’t mean they won’t suit someone else.

  • Nelly

    You’re putting your ‘style reputation’ on the line? I dare say just because Victoria Beckham can pull something off doesn’t mean the every-woman can, or should. This is a fashion fad I’ll be giving a wide berth. When J-Law looks ridiculous in them, I know they’re best left in the past.

    • Tamsin Howse

      I don’t have a style reputation, that was a joke 😉

    • Tamsin Howse

      I don’t have a style reputation, that was a joke 😉

  • Monique Fischle

    I don’t think I have the body shape for culottes but I’m not opposed to them. I like lots of clothes that would look far better on other people than they would on me!