Free Press Journal

Women’s culottes

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Pramita Bose profiles women’s culottes that have made it to the high street fashion big-time!

First impression is the last impression. On that note, your pair of legs largely remains overlooked as the lower half of the body flatly misses the onlooker’s eye. In fact, the face and the torso easily strike an instant impact on the mind. But stylists and fashion pundits beg to differ on this aspect. They believe in sprucing up the hind limbs with equal flair and finesse. Well, what are then jumpsuits, parallels, palazzo pants and the currently reigning culottes for? Ask the designers who say cheers to women’s culottes that have raided the high street fashion big-time!

Coming in varied lengths, sizes, shapes and cuts, culottes resemble trousers in the form of a divided skirt. Shares draper Jyoti Sachdev Iyer: “Culottes can be worn both as a formal and casual garment, depending on the occasion and how well one can carry it off. I personally think, culottes look best on tall, lean and fit bodies but then again, if one is confident enough to conveniently don it, one may go ahead with the option to rock them, regardless of any criterion.”


Designer Radhika Singhi assures that culottes can be customized according to body types. “It does cover up the flabs but can make the wearer look even bulkier without a proper length and the cut. So attention must be paid to the correct kind of purchase or tailoring,” she comments.

Usually flared up culottes for pear-shaped fuller bottoms and frontal flat culottes for tight abs and slim waists are commonly prescribed. However, Bollywood costume designer Subarna Ray Chowdhury strictly disapproves of culottes for fat and pint-sized frames.

“To be dressed in any kind of culotte, body type starts from a range of average to gradually shift towards slim-n-trimmed. Girls with very short-stature cannot wear culottes. For an average height and body type, culottes should not be too flared up with widening ends. Rather straight-legged culottes with small pleats will suit the requirement to the tee. Bell bottom culottes are meant to compliment those with towering slender figures, while ankle-length culotte-breeches smarten up gals with medium or below average height,” she elaborately amplifies.

“For plump, rounded derrieres, culottes can have less volume and a circumference, whereas the colour-code must be dark always. To flaunt an awesome washboard abs, flat-waist culottes with the right amount of flares is the key choice. The ideal combo is to team up with crop tops or nicely fitted bodysuit tops,” she further suggests. Tucked in shirts definitely match with culottes which are classily casual, recommend designers. They also approve of deeper wider prints and brighter colours to appreciate the imminent fall-winter spell.

Often it is argued that could culottes be sported as a formal wear at offices for attending board meetings as well as to chill out with friends in parties, dinner dates or at movies. Singhi immediately discards the workplace idea. But the costume-maker doesn’t reject it outright. She thinks, one may customize the overall look with respect to the need of the place and occasion.

Talking of the seasonal palette, the couturiers choose the timeless white and black shades as a must have in one’s closet, with lots of handloom weaves enhancing the style-quotient. “Slimmer dames may wrap around floral prints in abundance as that’s hugely trending these days. Fabrics mainly cottons, crepes and hand-loomed materials plus, corduroy for cold winters round the corner, are the safest bet,” presumes Singhi, who labels the divided skirt as a faultless symbolic identity for those who want to have fun with a zest for life.

From a formal suiting cloth to rayon and crepe textures, from hosiery to thick sinker fabrics, culottes come in an eclectic range. “Actually, the importance is on the fall of the fabric to get it well-structured as culottes,” she asserts.

In the prints section, tiny, nautical, floral-leafy prints and geometric patterns are ruling the roost. “But the overall get- up can only succeed, provided it’s teamed with plain fuss-free tones,’ cautions Singhi. “Nautical printed culottes look more spruce when paired up with either linen or flowy tops. You may even combine a bikini top and a nautical printed culotte with a sun-shielding hat on a beach party,” shares Subarna.

If we are discussing legs, then can the feet be left far behind? Open shoes, stiletto pumps, peep-toe heels, open-toe wedge heels and close-fitting, ankle-high Chelsea boots with block heels are highly endorsed by designers in the footwear department to go along with culottes.

Accessories and jewellery can be decided on what kind of culotte one wears. Long chains, scarves, hoops, ear studs or a single earring expectedly augment a casual look. For a beach-friendly makeover, a body chain with a bikini top is a surefire winner. “Single thin gold pieces layered up in different lengths and levels with tiny pendants can catch attention from a distance. Those with longish crane-necks may even opt for chokers made with ribbon or even sport pendants of yesteryear 70s’ style to ooze that X-factor,” deduces the costume draper of film-stars. For a very formal look, a simple diamond pendant and a chain with solitaire earrings will do the trick for a cool fashionable watch, she sums up.