Trend Worth Trying: Culottes for Work

Tuesday, September 22, 2015 • Permalink • 

Culottes have been a popular trend for a couple seasons now. The look is easy to incorporate into a casual wardrobe, particularly with the excellent denim options in stores now, but what about culottes for work?

For those of us of a certain age, the concept of work culottes conjures up images of some really unfortunate ‘80s polyester disasters. Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion critic Robin Givhan wrote a particularly scathing review of culottes in 1998, after the offending garment played a supporting role in the Paula Jones scandal. But, culottes have evolved since that dark time, and are now regularly spotted on the runways and worn by street style stars.


Today’s culottes, which are now nearly indistinguishable from gaucho pants or cropped pants, have a leaner look and are readily available in luxe fabrics. These modern culottes are perfect for work. Are you game? Get started with these top picks…

These gorgeous, and incredibly affordable, brick-colored culottes were the inspiration for this post. The minute I saw them I fell in love with the idea of dressy culottes for work.

Zara Culottes


→ Buy the Zara Culottes, $49.90, at zara.com.


If brick orange isn’t your idea of work-appropriate, try these dark grey culottes on for size. The flattering straight fit and versatile color will make them a cornerstone of your work wardrobe. They’re available in sizes 0 to 14.

Vince Camuto Culottes


→ Buy the Vince Camuto Culottes, $99.00, at nordstrom.com; shipping and returns are free.


I deliberately tried to find work-appropriate options in colors other than black. It would have been too easy, and way too boring, to line up a bunch of basic black culottes. But, I’d be crazy to not include one perfect pair. This lightweight wool option is a true classic.

COS Tailored Wool Trousers


→ Buy the COS Tailored Wool Trousers, $125.00, at cosstores.com.


These cropped wide-leg wool pants fall somewhere in the outer edges of what would be considered culottes in the modern world. But, they’re perfect for the lady who is hesitant to try out more dramatic versions of the trend. Plus, they offer the most options of all of my picks: six colors; regular, petite, and tall fits; sizes 000 to 16.

J.Crew Patio Pant in Bi-Stretch Wool


→ Buy the J.Crew Patio Pant in Bi-Stretch Wool, $128.00, at jcrew.com.


The slouchy fit and drawstring waist add an ease to these pants, without taking away from their office-ready appeal. They’re available in short, regular, and long fits, in sizes 0 to 16.

Banana Republic Textured Drawstring Gaucho Pant


→ Buy the Banana Republic Textured Drawstring Gaucho Pant, $89.50, at bananarepublic.gap.com.


These simple black culottes are the most flattering plus-size version I’ve seen, and they’re even machine washable! They’re available in sizes 16 to 24.

Mynt 1792 Pleat Front Culottes


→ Buy the Mynt 1792 Pleat Front Culottes, $158.00, at bloomingdales.com.


Will you be adding culottes to your workwear rotation?