Five Ways to Wear Denim Culottes

denim culottes
I am back after a trip to Portland Oregon last week. We took a red eye flight home Saturday night and I am still a little groggy from all the travel.  I will be sharing more about my trip in an upcoming post, but wanted to jump back in the swing of things with a Five Fashionable Ways post, this week on denim culottes.

The topic of denim culottes came at the request of a reader who gave me this idea after I asked for suggestions.  It sounded like a great one to focus on given that they can be tricky to figure out how to wear.  For this post, I chose this style from Zara.  Check out additional shopping suggestions at the end of this post.

Five Ways to Wear Denim Culottes

Outfit #1

denim culottesCulottes aren’t for everyone.  Let’s be clear about this, first and foremost.  The shape and length of them can work against quite a few body issues.  First, the wider legs and a-line shape can make even the tallest of women look shorter than they are.  Second, depending on where they are hemmed to, culottes can make legs appear heavy.  Speaking for myself, someone who has large calves and ankles, as cute as culottes can be, I really can’t wear denim culottes.

If culottes are on your shopping list, the above look is an easy outfit to create.  I styled it in a French chic way using a breton from Boden, a blue scarf from Nordstrom, orange slide sandals from Vince Camuto, a pale blue backpack from Topshop and sunglasses from Le Specs.

Outfit #2

denim culottes
If you have short or heavy legs and want to wear culottes, paying mind to the shoes you wear can be helpful.  It’s best to choose colors of shoes that match more closely to your skin tone vs. further breaking up the length of your legs with shoes that contrast your skin color.   This is particularly important to keep in mind when wearing flats.

I styled the outfit above using this black top from Theory.  The benefits of this style are the wider neckline, which can balance out the wide pant legs, and the shape of the top in the waist which helps avoid a boxy, shapeless look.

In addition to the Theory top, I styled this look with a pair of tan mules from Splendid, fan earrings from Nordstrom and black and white chevron clutch from Banana Republic.

Outfit #3

denim culottes
Next, shorter tops, which can help create a more balanced proportioned with culottes.  If you want to wear boxier shapes with denim culottes, shorter tops and cardigans will look less shapeless and sloppy.

I styled the Zara denim culottes with a cropped cardigan from Elizabeth and James over a basic tank from Uniqlo.  I finished the outfit with a pair of peep toe sandals from Sole Society, statement necklace from Stella & Dot and clutch from Zappos.

Outfit #4

denim culottes
I styled this outfit to show, again, the benefit of shaping the waist when wearing denim culottes.  You don’t have to wear super shapely clothes to achieve this either.  This top from Trouve has subtle shaping that reveals the hint of body shape without needing to go overboard.  I finished the look with navy wedge sandals from Marc Fisher, teal bag from Vince Camuto and leather bracelet from Valentino.

Outfit #5

denim culottes
This last outfit shows that you can wear more relaxed tops with denim culottes.  There are a few suggestions to follow should you want to wear your culottes this way.  First wearing heels can make up for the shortness that is created when a boxy top is worn with wide leg cropped pants.  Next, body shape is a factor that should be considered.  Typically, those with a leaner, longer, less curvy body shape will look more balanced in a straighter and boxier shape like this one.  Curvy body shapes tend to look bigger and sloppier in more relaxed silhouettes that don’t contain the body.

In the outfit above, I styled the Zara culottes with a tunic sweater from J. Crew, Cole Haan heeled slides, a tortoise pendant and Michael Kors cross body.

Shop for denim culottes

Ready to add a pair of denim culottes to your wardrobe?  Check out these additional styles.

  • Patricia

    Like you (full calves), this trend is not for me. I just read the post for outfit ideas to wear with jeans that DO flatter me.