They’re not quite pants, but they aren’t shorts either. They aren’t a skirt really either. Great, now that we have ruled those out—WTF (as in “what the fashion”) are culottes then? This is one of the million culotte-centered questions that plagued me for a while (because this is the type of thing that keeps fashion girls up at night, right?). Other questions included, but weren’t limited to: “Aren’t culottes just longer, ‘fashionable’ dad shorts?” (No) and “Did I seriously just press purchase on a culotte jumpsuit?” (Yes).
After some soul-searching and time spent on Wikipedia, I found that culottes originated as fashion for upper-class gentleman in Europe during the late-Middle Ages. Flash-forward a few hundred years or so and it seems that nowadays these “knee britches” are every girl’s favorite way to garner high fives from Fashionistas and ward off potential suitors in a single garment. Contrary to what Kelis said, my culottes do not bring all the boys to the yard.
They are kind of awkward, a fragment sentence of fashion and hardly considered sexy. So, why are they this season’s must-have silhouette trend?
You can point fingers at Anna’s approving nod, but the answer to this question, as with most life-altering conundrums, is best summed up with a quote from the classic film, Step Brothers—”So much space for activities!” You can feel free to break into a mid-morning dance break (which I often do, much to my coworkers chagrin) without worrying about splitting the seams. Those sudden wind gusts won’t have you awkwardly dropping your latte and clutch while simultaneously avoiding a far more embarrassing and guaranteed less glamorous Marilyn Monroe moment.
Culottes are a fashion metaphor for life really. They don’t try to be something they aren’t. They invite you to just do you. And any garment that has this larger purpose, rattles the senses of the general public and looks halfway decent with a crop top, well that gets a gold star in my book.
What’s your take—love them or hate them? Share your favorite photo and opinion on social media using the hashtag #collegefashionista to join the conversation.