Post by T.M.
A friend asked me recently do I style spot everyone, everywhere, all the time now since establishing this blog. The answer is yes of course but I have to say I have always been an avid people watcher and have instinctively style-watched long before the birth of Town Mouse Country Mouse.
When I was on my travels a while back I packed all the wrong things. I always pack the wrong things. My spying ways thus saw me coveting so many items from so many savvy and impossibly stylish globe-trotters. A nice big pashmina, for example, to be draped around your shoulders when chilly, thrown over the rest of you when on a long-haul trip and laid down on the sand when you arrive at the beach? Genius! I had to have one. (I eventually bought one in a market in China and haven’t looked back. I wore it today with my winter coat!)
One item I have definitely never had the inclination to copy were those wide legged, patterned pyjama type pants that round-the-world trippers favour (I get it, they are trés versatile in exotic climes but… ) however, to my surprise I found myself running around markets on the look-out for a pair of black culottes. Naturally, I had spotted them on a couple of cool, tanned, blonde backpackers who had paired them with tank tops over their bikinis and I immediately regretted only packing short shorts.
Culottes are distinctly in the love ’em/hate ’em category of clothes. They are terribly tricky to pull off and let’s face it, they are the types of clothes that heterosexual men despise. Man-repellents if you will. But who of you, dear readers, dress for men anyway (none I hope, whether you’re that way inclined or not. Unless you are a man.)?
However, a feature in this month’s Elle UK has declared the culotte to be back ‘in’. In fact, Rebecca Lowthorpe believes it works for everyone. I think it can work for everyone but only if those every-people work to make it work. Finding the right shoe is a challenge for one thing. The only flat shoe I can wear with mine (yes I did find a pair eventually and bought them with no hesitation and they’ve been my lounging around pants for years) are flip-flops and I haven’t dared try heels. I haven’t dared try – yet.
The outfit above works. One thing about culottes is that they can subtly be disguised as a skirt (from afar. Kindof.) so when deciding what to wear with them you can imagine them as a skirt and that will help you choose. It’s best to go simple with the upper half of your outfit – those surfer babes I got the whole idea from in Asia knew what they were doing. So does the stylist for the model above.
While I would be naturally inclined to wear culottes the minimalistic way, I think they could also be styled very well by following sleek 1940’s guidelines. Think Katherine Hepburn exposing a bit of shinbone. On that note, that’s where the problem may lie, how much leg should be on show. Obviously, that is decided by the length of your gams. Those who are long of leg should be ok but short sisters might need to get the scissors to them. Trial and error, error and tribulation.
As I said earlier – they take work – but work in the best way possible.