Workwear Edit: Culottes (And The Various Ways To Style Them)

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You guys have been asking for more workwear ideas, so I thought it was a perfect opportunity to test out a trend I’ve had my eye on for quite some time: Culottes.  This look won’t be for everyone, but it has the kind of unexpected fashion-girl vibe I love bringing into the office (in small, professional doses anyway).

But these darn things are tricky!!  Especially for petites.  Happily, I found a culotte romper (just go with me here) that’s available in both petite and regular sizes to test out this trend.  (And it’s now 40% off, so there’s that.)

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And while I did figure out a way to warm it up (inside an office I’d lose the leather jacket but it was TWENTY DEGREES OUTSIDE PEOPLE), I also wanted to focus on styling culottes for Spring/Summer when I think they’ll really shine. So we headed into the studio, because, obviously. #freezing

First up:  Flats and culottes?  Is it possible?  Let’s see….

Culottes And Flats?

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I don’t….I don’t know.  I don’t hate it.  So….maybe?  I’ll bet someone tall could pull this off easily.

think like a tall girl, think like a tall girl…..

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#nailedit

Culottes and Heels

Let’s take things up a notch….literally.

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Yup.  That’s better.

I will even give the nod to the cage heels (below), which can sometimes be hard to pull off with overly complicated silhouettes.  (And by “overly complicated” yes I do mean silk jumpsuit-romper-culottes with a hairy purse.  Just so we’re clear.)  But date night, perhaps?  Or office parties, yes?

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wearing

silk jumpsuit-culottes: Halogen Crop Wide Leg Jumpsuit (size petite XS)

nude flats: Tieks, but this Vince Camuto Ellen Flat is the perfect ballet pink, has awesome reviews, and is under $100

loafer:  old Aerosoles….but I can’t decide if I like Louise Et Cie’s Tomboyish Fleur loafer better, or the more feminine and tasseled shape of Jack Rogers Gabrielle loafer

leopard print heels: old Aerosoles….Ivanka Trump’s Leopard Pumps have a gorgeous shape (and expensive-looking pattern), yet a lower(ish) heel.

cage heels: Sam Edelman Essex heels (old)…but the newer version of Sam Edelman Essex heel is 40% off, and is either black or nude/gold snake and pretty. darn. hot.

bangle: old Stella & Dot…but this Alex & Ani Cross Wrap Bracelet would look seriously cool worn higher on the arm.

hairy purse: looong gone (a winter thing I think)….but if quirky bags are your thing, I really like Sole Society’s “HELLO” clutch or – gasp! – Rebecca Minkoff’s Leo Clutch in…MARBLE.

 

 

Ok, so assuming life-in-culottes is better in heels, let’s mess around with making these professional.  (S, put the hairy purse down.)

 

 

Highlight The Waist

Because there’s so much volume down under, my first instinct is to reign in everything up top.  A wrap top works perfectly (and the colors keep it interesting).  This trick would work perfectly for regular culottes, too (not just jumpsuit culottes).  Because fit is key here, I ended up going with petite sizes in the tops (but both are available in petite and regular).

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Or try a simple tucked-in silk blouse.  I’m obviously wearing it jumpsuit style, but how cute, right?  I love this look.

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wearing

silk jumpsuit-culottes: Halogen Crop Wide Leg Jumpsuit  (size petite XS)

silk blouse: Two By Vince Camuto Silk Utility Blouse (wearing a Petite Small for reference – comes in both petite and regular and oh!  40% off!)

wrap sweater: Nic + Zoe Four Way Convertible Cardigan in Clearwater (wearing a petite XS for reference – available in both petite and reg…I needed a petite to get it to hit right at my waist)

blazer:  Halogen Zip Pocket Jacket (wearing a Petite XS for reference….but these pics do NOT do this jacket justice.  It. Is. Amazeballs.  Trying to decide between black and white…??)

heels: various ancient red heels…I’m O-V-E-R shoes I can’t walk in for day…so these Louise Et Cie ankle-wrap heels would be perfect (in bright lipstick red).

glasses: Warby Parker Beckett in Jet Black Matte

 

 

Play With Proportions – Long / Cropped

Or is it long / long?  Because culottes are both cropped yet….long (depending on your point of reference – cropped for pants, long for shorts).  In any case, they introduce some really exciting possibilities with proportion.  Here’s the first, the long/long:

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It’s official:  Long, drapy cardigans work with everything.  Even silk jumpsuit-romper-culottes.  I mean seriously.

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wearing

silk jumpsuit-culottes: Halogen Crop Wide Leg Jumpsuit  (size petite XS)

sweater: Bobeau One Button Fleece Wrap Cardigan (aka the ‘magic cardigan’ that scores of nursing mamas rave about) – I’m wearing a petite XS for reference.

leopard print heels: old Aerosoles….Ivanka Trump’s Leopard Pumps have a gorgeous shape (and expensive-looking pattern), yet a lower(ish) heel.

glasses: Warby Parker Beckett in Jet Black Matte

 

 

More Proportion Play – Cropped / Cropped

Ok, now THIS is my very favorite.

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I love how demure this look is….yet playful.  This is exactly the thing I would’ve worn to the office.  Back, you know….back when my job didn’t involve long hours in my closet-turned-office, sitting on babydolls and piles of clothes muttering things like “that’s the long/short of it? the long/long of it?  Maybe with stripes?”

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wearing

silk jumpsuit-culottes: Halogen Crop Wide Leg Jumpsuit  (size petite XS)

sweaterEileen Fisher Marled Organic Cotton Boxy Cropped Sweater (wearing a PS for reference) – 40% off!

leopard print heels: old Aerosoles….Ivanka Trump’s Leopard Pumps have a gorgeous shape (and expensive-looking pattern), yet a lower(ish) heel.

glasses: Warby Parker Beckett in Jet Black Matte

 

 

 

So…yes.  I love these looks, I love this piece.  I’m tempted to hem it up just a few inches, but this length actually makes it perfect for wearing with….tall boots!!  Cause goodness knows I’m not walking around in 20 degrees with any sort of leg showing.  (And in fact, I have this entire romper layered OVER fleece-lined leggings.)

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wearing

silk jumpsuit-culottes: Halogen Crop Wide Leg Jumpsuit  (size petite XS)

sweaterEileen Fisher Marled Organic Cotton Boxy Cropped Sweater (wearing a PS for reference) – 40% off!

jacket: Iro…this Blank Denim Leather Jacket is very similar

boots: old, BR…but these side-zip tall boots by Guess would look really cool under culottes, or these suede VC Signature boots would be SO sleek.

bag: old, Kate Spade Henry Duffle…the Kate Spade Sami Satchel is similar

 

Shop: Culottes

I found a few additional pairs of culottes I loved.  I did include a few designer pieces simply because they’re fabulous, and looking at perfect iterations of a trend helps sharpen our focus (whether it’s investing in that one perfect pair of pants or recognizing a good low-cost alternative).  Personally – and because I’m so short (5’2″) – I’d stick to culottes with flow.  The thicker fabrics would swallow me whole (and petite sizes are key if you are a shorty like me).

Fun, right?  In any case, I’ve been really darn impressed with Nordstrom’s petite section.  I mean seriously:  silk culotte-romper-jumpsuits?  It’s just so…fashion forward for petites.  Wow.

xo,

S

A huge thank-you to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post.  As always, all product choices, thoughts, and opinions are my own.  (Or as Pax would say, “MINE OWN”.)  Thank you for supporting the retailers who help support The Mom Edit.  

photography credits: Mike Draugelis