Gina Vaynshteyn
August 28, 2015 2:13 pm

Like many humans, we often ponder the eternal question in fashion and finances and life choices: Should I buy this? We wonder if the thing worth it and if we can really really “pull it off.” Fashion can make us stressed out and nervous. Fashion with a capital “F” can seem intimidating and exclusive. Like a club only a select few are allowed to join and really really enjoy — but that’s not something we’re about here. So, we decided to hash out all these feelings in HG’s newest column, “Should I Buy This?” Every other week we’ll embrace and try new things together! We’ll be fearless and playful! And we’ll celebrate fashion in a not-so-serious, honest way. Here goes.

First gaining momentum in the 1500s, and then again in the Victorian era (ohh, fancy fancy) culottes — short-pants that hang like skirts (like a skort, but longer and less gym class)— have withstood the test of time. Not only that, they served as the ultimate feminist fashion item — they’re an article of clothing that afforded women the freedom to play sports and live their most active lives without the restraint of a skirt or dress. Plus, they’re airy, versatile, and they fall somewhere in between “work casual” and “oh, just on a stroll for a cup of coffee from the cafe down the block.” They’re a perfect summer-into-fall transition item. You can get a pair of culottes that feel like pajamas, or a pair that are more substantial and give off more grown-up lady vibes. The possibilities are so very endless.

But as much as I covet culottes, there’s still something about them that makes me nervous. The wideness of the pant legs make me worry I’ll look like Prince George on a playdate. I’m also unsure of how to wear them. Do I keep my shirt tucked in? Should I wear them with boots or flats or sandals? HOW DO I LIVE, CULOTTES?

Are you as perplexed about this as I am? Well, that’s OK — because I did some visual research for us.

See these black culottes? They look wild and perfect and chic with a leopard print top. You can wear this ensemble to a bar, on a date, to work with a light cardigan, or to the grocery store — it speaks to most times in your life where you might wear clothes. The awesome thing about solid culottes is that you can pair them with whatever design or color you want up top —and they will always look seamless.

Let’s obsess over these pixelated bottoms that look like a cross between a computer wallpaper and birthday party confetti. Loving this look  a lot, because if you’re big on patterns (I know I am), you can buy these and easily pair them with a white or black t-shirt, which most of us already own (and cool, fall-y jacket if you so wish).

Culottes also exist in jean-form, just so’s ya know. To avoid that whole 2002 junior high skater look (or not, hey), pair these jeans with some mules and a top that makes me you feel amazing.

And then sometimes you just have to throw on a black crop top and intricately designed pants that flow with the wind and call it a day.

And as far as shoe pairing goes? I learned that you should probably treat culottes like you would jeans or slacks. That is, depending on your look and the occasion, heels, sandals, booties, or even sneakers will look great with culottes. I love these platform clogs because they’re super versatile, and can go with patterned or uniform-colored bottoms. If you want something more casual, Madewell’s Billie Boot is perfect for fall (and for comfort!).

Compelled to buy a pair of culottes? Me too. Here are a few options, friends.


Black culottes, $17, H&M


Printed crepe culottes, $39.95, Free People

And if you want to splurge:

Topshop’s Moto Raw Hem Denim Culottes, $70, Nordstrom

Verdict? I’m in love. But, like most bottoms, picking the right pair for your body is important (I know, the struggle is real, trust). You need to find the right fit for your butt and thighs, but since culottes are loose, they can work for a variety of heights and body types —which is what makes them so great! When picking a dream pair of culottes,  you can choose between high-waisted, tight around your hips but looser by your knees, or very straight and loose all over —it’s up to you and what you feel the very best in!

(Image via Etsy, Instagram, H&M, Free People, Top Shop)