Culottes, or not

Something was bothering me the other day. I could not figure out what the difference was between culottes, gauchos, and a cropped wide leg pant–if there was any difference at all. It seemed to me that the terms were being used interchangeably all over the interwebs. Being the nerd that I am, I decided to do some research of my own.  And after a little digging, I discovered that technically, culottes are a cropped wide leg pant that is flowy and drapes like a skirt. The two should actually be almost indistinguishable when worn (and just standing still). Gauchos on the other hand are a cropped wide leg pant that stops below the knee with a bit more structure. And finally, cropped wide leg pants is the catch-all for pretty much wide leg pants including those that do not fall into the culotte/gaucho category. I am probably the only person that really cares about the technical difference, but I thought I’d share. 🙂

I’ve mentioned culottes/cropped wide leg pants quite a few times in my column over at Forbes Style File, but I never thought I would actually purchase a pair for myself. I mean, a cropped, wide-leg pant on a petite? A disaster just potentially waiting to happen. But when I saw these petite crops at Ann Taylor on sale, I thought it was worth a go. I fully expected to return them, but  I was pleasantly surprised! They do have somewhat of a leg-shortening effect (although my strappy shoes probably don’t help the matter), but they are just so chic, I’m willing to overlook this.


CulottesClub Monaco Lindy Trench (similar) / Ann Taylor Factory Tank / Ann Taylor Cropped Wide Leg Pants/ Ann Taylor Evelyn Double Strap D’Orsay Shoes / 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli Satchel / Forever21 Rings / Essie Marshmallow Nail Polish

The trick for a proportional look? Treat culottes or a cropped wide leg pant as if it was a midi-skirt. The most flattering place to hit is above or below the widest point of the calves. Add a heel to elongate the leg and it makes for a beautiful silhouette.

I am wearing 00P in these cropped pants. Some very small-waisted petites may find these a bit large, but since I am more ruler-shaped, I found these just fine.  The waist measures 27.5 inches lying flat. The crepe fabric is quite heavy and made of 94% polyester and 6% spandex. According to the label, it is machine-washable! Also, another thing to note, there is a single pleat in the front of the pant, which I think helps give it a beautifully tailored tapered look, but some ladies may not be a fan and might prefer something with more of a straight leg or culotte. They are on sale for $69.99 and AT is currently having an extra 40% off online with code GOSPRING, bringing the price down to approximately $42. It comes in navy blue and black in petite and regular sizing.

I’m totally digging the Ann Taylor Evelyn Double Strap D’Orsay shoes, as well. I’ve really been needing an alternative to my classic black pumps that you’ve seen in a majority of my posts over the last few years, but finding a good shoe fit for my fussy feet is no easy task. The double strap is perfect to hold down my feet and the pointy-toe gives the shoe a bit of edge while still remaining work-appropriate. For any one interested, take your regular shoe size. These shoes are also currently on sale for $134.99 plus an extra 40% off online bringing the price down to approximately $81.

What do you think of the culotte/cropped wide-leg pant trend? Will you be taking part?

Other culotte/cropped wide-leg options: