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In Praise of Culottes


by Marie Kelly
07th May 2016

About 15 years ago I made the mistake of handing over a pair of monochrome tweed culottes to a charity shop. They were the perfect pair; high waisted, with pockets, and long enough to hide that awkward bit of leg that peeps out above a pair of calf-length boots. Whoever it was that said anything you haven’t worn in a year should be relegated to your closet clear-out pile was wrong (and possibly on retainer with a retail giant). Unless you’ve never felt good in a piece, or will never fit into it again, keep it and wait for its second coming.

Culottes emerged from fashion obscurity last year, and they were a dominant presence on the SS runways in February (Victoria Beckham, Tibi and Acne Studios all embraced the skirt/trouser hybrid). Like the jumpsuit, which appeared several season’s ago as something of a novelty micro-trend but has now cemented itself as an office-appropriate classic, the culotte looks likely to be the next unlikely wardrobe staple. Now is a good time to buy as they made another strong showing at the AW16 shows, at Lanvin and Xiao Li to name but two. I’ve already picked up a camel and navy pair from Zara (great trans-seasonal colours) and a denim version at River Island. I’m lusting after a black leather pair (I missed the boat last season at Selected Femme) and I’m contemplating Finery London’s satin utility culottes too.

I’ll be wearing my camel culottes with a pair of Whistles cut-out shoe boots, while my Zara tan suede ankle boots will prevent those navy culottes from looking in any way corporate. For now, the search continues for those butter-soft black leather culottes. It may take me the rest of the year to find them, but when I do, I know they’re not just for Christmas, they’re for life.

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