We've been waxing poetic about culottes for almost a year now. And while the trouser trend has caught fire among the fashion flock, the wide-legged-ness and cropped-ness of these not-quite-shorts-not-yet-pants still can pose a challenge in our everyday personal wardrobes. Nonetheless, it's prime culotte season: not warm enough for full leg exposure, yet too warm for floor-skimming hems. How to tackle this controversial yet covetable item? We're looking for some street-style inspiration to guide us in our quest to conquer the prettiest hybrid bottom of them all. A very cool effect of culottes is that they put your footwear on display. And if your shoe game is, as the kids are saying, on fleek, you'll want to show off the prime real estate. A simple, more fitted trouser puts the emphasis on a bright sandal or heel (or heeled sandal).
Sometimes, you don't want to mess with a good thing — and the classic black culotte is proof. The voluminous trouser can easily garner admiring sidewalk stares without the help of a crazy pattern or color combo. Let it shine with a simple but high-contrast black-and-white palette.
A lighter fabric, like linen or cotton, is primed for the warmer months. Plus, nothing says "summer!" quite like a flowing hemline in the breeze. So treat the culotte like your basic, late-spring maxi: Find a neutral colorway that'll fit in with your off-duty staples — white T-shirt, denim jacket, and ankle boots — and proceed to brunch as normal.
Culottes for the workplace are a tad trickier, as exposed skin can be a deal-breaker with stricter dress codes. However, a longer style that exposes just a couple of inches above the ankle can put you in the clear. Paired with a long-sleeved turtleneck and a matching vest, this turns into a warm-weather suit.
And if it's too cold to expose any bit of skin? Our street-style champions prove that culottes can be a year-round staple — with the right pieces to beef up the coverage. A high-heeled, lace-up boot keeps your ankles nice and protected while also giving you some height (which, in turn, has a lengthening effect on the leg). A thick moto jacket up top does double duty, raising both the warmth level and the cool factor in one fell swoop.
Easy, breezy: Lightweight culottes let you get a head start on that poolside ensemble, with a little extra coverage to protect your thighs from the occasional late-spring chill. Extra points if your bottom has a drawstring waist, which gives the look an added layer of laidback-ness.