Confused by Culottes? Expert Tips on How to Style the Newest Fall Fashion Trend

You might’ve noticed that, staff-wide, we seem to be nursing a major crush on culottes. They’re the boxy, midcalf shorts that look deceptively like a skirt from afar—think office-appropriate man-repelling. Sophia was the first to take the plunge and purchase a pair, and we’ve already started the conversations about the right and wrong way to wear them. To help, I called in an expert: stylist Jen Rade, who counts Abbie Cornish and Orphan Black‘s Tatiana Maslany as clients (and is presenting her new Edge by Jen Rade line on QVC this Sunday and Monday).


“Midcalf is the best length for most people—it makes them look like a cute swing skirt. If you’re more petite, just below the knee,” she said when asked about the right length. “I like them paired with strappy gladiator heels or cage booties. It gives them an open, light feel but adds edge and height. Heels keep the look from being too matronly, which is critical.”

Don’t write them off as a one-note piece either. Jen helped me work through my worries over where they could be worn with some outfit suggestions for everywhere and anything.

On styling them for the office:
“Wear with a classic solid or striped collared shirt and an almond- or round-toe T-strap shoe. Add some pretty pearls or a beaded necklace and a day bag in a strong solid color.”

On styling them for sexy drinks:
First, consider a separate pair just for evening. “The come in lots of fabrics, so think about a more silky, billowy pair for a date or the weekend. Leave the crisp, tailored styles for work.” Up top, wear with a thin cami or blouse with a few buttons undone.

On styling them for the weekend:
Don’t overthink it. Jen’s suggestion was a simple tee and colored wedges.

Her final sage tip? It’s one I hear from everyone who’s experienced with styling and serious outfit construction: “All dry cleaners have a tailor that can do simple alterations, and they are well worth it!”

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