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Culotte Pants Are Everywhere. Here’s How to Style Them (Plus 15 Pairs We’re Coveting)

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A far cry from the millennial-beloved skinny jeans that dominated the 2010s, wide-leg pants continue to trend. From baggy Y2K jeans to Daisy Jones-inspired bootcuts, searches for wide-leg pants are at a five-year all-time high in Google Trends. One silhouette we’re particularly jazzed about? Culotte pants. Whether you’re shopping at a national department store or a local boutique, chances are you’ve seen these dramatic, skirt-like trousers on offer somewhere.

“Culottes definitely tend to come in and out of style, but they lend themselves as more of a spring/summer bottom since they are typically lighter in weight and are shorter in length,” notes Chicago-based fashion stylist Katie Schuppler.

With warm weather on the way, we’ve rounded up 15 pairs of culotte pants you can scoop up now—from denim pairs to office-ready pants with crisp darts—plus, expert advice on how to style them.

Meet the Expert

Katie Schuppler is a Chicago-based fashion stylist.

What Are Culotte Pants?

Culottes, gauchos, palazzos—they’re all in the same family of wide-leg pants, with a few key differentiators. Namely, the length. Palazzo pants are feature wide legs and a hem that usually falls to the floor. Meanwhile, gaucho pants tend to end mid-calf. Culotte pants can hit anywhere between the mid-ankles and just below the knees.

“They actually originated in the mid 1500s and were worn by male aristocrats and men in the military,” shares Schuppler. “This year I think we are seeing culottes [trending] because in the past six to eight months there’s been a throwback to past decades. I have been joking that since we came out of Covid we were so bored with all of the athleisure and neutrals that the fashion world has just brought out a little bit of everything!”

How to Style Culotte Pants

According to Schuppler, the most important rule to follow when styling culotte pants is considering your proportions. “Since the pants are so flowy, you want to pair the upper part of your look with something more fitted,” she notes. “For shoes, you’ll want to mostly stick to something with a heel, even if it’s a slight heel and/or something more pointed.” Block heels, pumps or even platform sneakers are your friend. Schuppler also advises buying for your height if you can—choosing petite or tall lengths can ensure that the fabric falls where it should.

Culottes will especially flatter those who have wider shoulders, as the flowy, voluminous material will balance out the lower half of the body. No matter your body type, Schuppler says that when styling, avoid boxy tops, which will throw the outfit off-balance. “You will always want to pair these pants with a more fitted top or something half or fully tucked in,” she advises. “If you want to layer the look with a jacket or long cardigan, just make sure what you have on underneath is fitted or cropped to show your body and to balance the look.”

While they’re often worn in more buttoned-up, office-like situations, it’s definitely possible to casually style culottes. To do so, Schuppler recommends pairing them with a tucked-in T-shirt, denim jacket and sneakers.

Top Culotte Pants at a Glance

The 7 Rules of Wearing Pants When You’re 5’4’’ and Under


Classic British Style

1. Boden Relaxed Trouser

Boden

  • Why We Love It: relaxed fit, textured fabric, breezy cotton
  • Material: cotton
  • Size Range: 2 to 22

Associate SEO editor Marissa Wu has a similar pair of (now sold-out) Boden culottes in this versatile navy color. Made from 100 percent cotton and machine washable, the pants can be dressed up or down. Other appreciated features include pockets, an elastic waistband and a mid-calf length. The pants will pair easily with ballet flats, heels and sneakers alike.

Most Flattering

2. Spanx Twill Pant

Spanx

  • Why We Love It: flattering fit, stretchy, functional pockets, inclusive sizing
  • Material: twill
  • Size Range: XS to 3X

“These stretch twill culotte pants by Spanx are wide-legged, which can sometimes make my short legs look stubby, but these ward that off with the shaping core fit—the midsection holds you in and smooths you out, which is Spanx’s wheelhouse,” says PureWow senior editor Dana Dickey. “The cotton fabric washes so well, and the buttoned back pockets are so cute.” Made from buttery soft twill, this pair comes with functional pockets and button details. None will be the wiser that these basically feel like leggings.

Flattering on Wide Hips

3. Target Cargo Pants

Universal Thread

  • Why We Love It: incorporates recycled cotton, functional pockets, breathable
  • Material: cotton
  • Size Range: 0 to 30

Yep, culotte pants are so popular that even the ubiquitous Target carries them. These breathable, high-rise cargo pants are a favorite of commerce editor Liv Dubyak. “I love the utility vibe of these culotte-style pants. They're so comfy and breezy for warmer days, too. They're flattering on my wider hips and I can honestly pair them with anything.” The wide-leg cut is reminiscent of the culotte design and hits at the upper ankle, and they come in two colors: cream and classic green.

Great for Petites

4. Eileen Fisher Linen Pants

Eileen Fisher

  • Why We Love It: good for petites, machine washable, lightweight
  • Material: organic linen
  • Size Range: PP to 3X

Like the idea of culottes but can’t quite commit to the voluminous silhouette? This pair might help you ease into it. Though more of a straight-leg design, the cut is still fairly wide and roomy. PureWow editor-in-chief Jillian Quint appreciates the chic-but-casual look and the fact that the pants work well on her petite, 5’1” frame. The trousers come in five colors and feature an elastic, pleated waistband that adds texture.

Stylist’s Pick

5. Banana Republic Cruise Pants

Banana Republic

  • Why We Love It: super-high waist, classic cut, darts, inclusive sizing
  • Material: cotton, spandex
  • Size Range: 0 to 20, also petite and tall

Banana Republic is one of Schuppler’s picks for snagging a pair of culottes. This cotton pair has darts that give it a structured, more formal look. Loop a belt through the hooks for an office-ready ensemble. Alternately, dress it down with a plain white tee. These culottes are machine washable and come in petite, regular and tall sizing.

For the Office

6. Mango Linen Culotte Pants

Mango

  • Why We Love It: multiple colors, breathable linen, pleating
  • Material: linen, cotton
  • Size Range: XXS to XXL

Consider these your spring and summer office pants. Made of breezy linen with a cotton lining, these pants are the ideal mix of comfort and class. We love the pockets, pleated detailing and elastic waist that won’t constrict.

For Long Weekend Getaways

7. Vince Camuto Drawstring Culottes

Vince Camuto

  • Why We Love It: stretchy, casual-cool vibe, drawstring waist
  • Material: viscose, nylon
  • Size Range: XS to XL

The long weekend called, and it said to bring these pants. Soft and stretchy, with a woke-up-like-this look, this pair is great for a long car ride but doubles as something you’d wear to lunch. I’m in love with these pants. Very delicate, feel soft,” writes one Nordstrom reviewer. The brand notes that the culottes run large, so try ordering a size down for optimal fit.

Classic Cut

8. J.Crew Sydney Pants

J.Crew

  • Why We Love It: multiple colors, stretchy fabric, traveler’s crease adds sophisticated touch
  • Material: polyester, viscose, elastane
  • Size Range: 00 to 24

These pants might look crisp, but they’re actually stretchy. Still, none would be the wiser, with the sharp traveler’s crease running down the legs. It’s a pair of culottes that will keep you looking smart at the office and sophisticated at the wine bar. “I love the color and weight of these pants,” writes a J.Crew reviewer. “I highly recommend, the color is gorgeous, and they look great.” The pants come in four colors, including splashy persimmon. Do note that they are dry-clean only.

For Everyday Wear

9. Anthropologie Pilcro Pleated Culottes

Pilcro

  • Why We Love It: plenty of pockets, large hem, high-waist, darts
  • Material: cotton, lyocell
  • Size Range: 23 to 34, plus petite

From running errands and weekend brunch to casual Friday, these culottes are a relaxed and stylish pick, earning rave reviews. “I LOVE THESE JEANS! They fit true to size and are so cute and comfy. I’m a teacher, and these will be great for casual or even non-casual jean days,” writes an Anthropologie reviewer. The pants are machine washable and are made of a blend of cotton and lyocell, a more eco-friendly fabric. Darts at the waist provide structure and there are four pockets. Dress them up a little with a pair of flats or heels and you could get away with a fun work outfit.

Patterned Perfection

10. ASOS Animal Print Culottes

ASOS

  • Why We Love It: fun animal print, stretchy, gathered waist
  • Material: viscose, elastane
  • Size Range: 0 to 14

A vibrant animal print gives the otherwise traditional culotte pant a street-style flair. It’s still versatile, though. One buyer said they would recommend these as a wardrobe staple item, and we can totally see why. The gathered, elastic waist promises all-day comfort. Pair it with your favorite T-shirt or crop top and dress it up or down with high tops or high heels.

Luxury Pick

11. Theory Satin Culottes

Theory

  • Why We Love It: warm cream color, shimmery, hits just below the knee for a shorter crop
  • Material: acetate
  • Size Range: 0 to 12

These shimmery culotte pants are a cut above the rest—literally: They hit just below the knee. The traveler’s creases give it a crisp look, and we love the functional side pockets. Per the brand, the trousers are not stretchy but run a little large, so order a size down if you’re in-between.

Breezy Summer Staple

12. Amour Linen Pants

Amour Linen

  • Why We Love It: versatile, pockets, Fair Trade certified
  • Material: linen
  • Size Range: XS to XL

Say hello to hot summer weather with these Japanese-style culottes. They’re made from European flax linen that’ll keep you cool even on sweltering days. An elastic waistband promises comfortable all-day wear, and there are pockets. We also love that the brand has sustainability and ethical commitments, including being Fair Trade certified.

Chicest One-Piece

13. Superdown Victoria Jumpsuit

Superdown

  • Why We Love It: crepe fabric, pockets, ruffle trim, alternative take on culotte style
  • Material: polyester
  • Size Range: XXS to XL

Petite? This culotte romper is for you. Multiple reviewers praised it as working well even on their shorter statures. One Revolve reviewer writes, “OBSESSED with this jumpsuit. Recommend for all you short girls. The length of this is just to my ankles and so refreshing not to have to get something hemmed for once.” The crepe fabric and ruffled detailing lend an elegant air, and you can wear this stunner to brunch or a dinner party, and every social event in between.

Stylish Splurge

14. Kate Spade Denim Wide-Leg Pants

Kate Spade

  • Why We Love It: contrasting topstitching, five pocket style, good for petites, machine washable
  • Material: cotton, elastane
  • Size Range: 23 to 33

The brand that perhaps best defines feminine, flirty, fun and whimsy offers up a sharp pair of culotte jeans, and they’re a hit with buyers. “These are now my favorite jeans,” shares a Kate Spade reviewer. “I am so tempted to buy a second pair due to how much I reach for these! They fit a little snug but become more comfortable as you wear them. It’s the perfect jean to dress up or down, even as a shorty! I get compliments every time I wear them.” The contrasting topstitching is a thoughtful detail that adds visual interest while the creased legs keep the pants looking sharp. Throw on your favorite tee or dress it up with a blouse for a night out.

Tied with a Bow

15. Club Monaco Kora Culotte

Club Monaco

  • Why We Love It: made from recycled materials, pleated, tied waist, pockets, machine washable
  • Material: wool, elastane
  • Size Range: 0 to 14

Club Monaco’s culotte pants come in two colors—black and “fog,” the latter best described as a misty seafoam green. The cropped trousers end mid-shin, and a self-tied waist allows you to add a dainty bow as the finishing touch. With front pleats that add crispness and structure, plus four (functional!) pockets, these are a must-have dressy-casual wardrobe staple.

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What Shoes to Wear with Wide-Leg Pants for Maximum Chicness



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Marissa Wu

Associate SEO Editor

I’ve covered the lifestyle space for the last three years after majoring in journalism (and minoring in French) at Boston University. Talk to me about all things sustainable &...
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