I am pretty sure I had a pair of denim culottes or gauchos when I was in my 20s. I wasn’t much of a hippie back then, but nothing could keep me from a culotte trend. Here I am again lusting after denim culottes once again. I actually think that denim culottes represent a fresher and cooler way to wear denim in warmer weather; skinny jeans and boyfriend jeans can get pretty hot even if they are cropped. But culottes are looser and much cooler as I see it.
I’ve been scoping out denim culottes for a while now and I discern a couple of style options:
Light or dark denim – I think I prefer the darker denim since it is more slimming and looks more sophisticated. Lighter denim just looks like “Coachella” style to me.
Wide or Narrow Leg – I vote for wide leg; otherwise the culottes just look like longer jeans that have been cut to the culotte length. The wide leg also makes one’s waist and hips look smaller – always good in my book. And, by the way, virtually all the denim culottes I’ve seen are high-waisted!
Finished hem or distressed hem – Here I haven’t yet decided but I might lean towards the distressed because it’s a little more trendy and looks so chic with sandal heels!
Jumpsuit or Pants – I have seen some very cute denim culotte jumpsuits – sort of a grown up version of denim overalls. Throw on a tee under the jumpsuit and one looks together but not like they are trying too hard. However the right culotte denim jumpsuits are hard to find!
Long or Short – No discussion here. Culottes that end just below the knee look dated no matter what they’re made off.
Anyway, want to join me on the denim culotte bandwagon? Here are some of my favorites!
I really hate to go out of the house lacking confidence about my clothing choices, but occasionally it happens. Imagine my surprise when I actually got compliments on this ensemble! The lesson here: sometimes it is good to take a “flyer” and try something new – rather than simply going back to the same old combinations.
Shop my picks:
See another way I’ve worn these cropped flared jeans:
I am a walking Zara Sale ad today! These culottes were SO cheap – why didn’t anyone want them? Same for the belt. I KNEW Zara would bring out a frayed denim shirt if I were just patient – and here it is!
I am a real culottes fan, even in the years when they weren’t in style. What’s the difference between a culotte and wide leg cropped pants, I ask you?
Back to Zara – you may think Zara is too hip/young/whatever for you. I say check them out. It’s a great spot for buying into a trend without a huge investment.
I wore this outfit to fly back East a few weeks ago. I was very wary about the “denim on denim” look – too trendy? Too young for moi? But at the same time, I loved the look on others. I was waiting for Zara to do a knock-off of the Marques’ Almeida frayed edge denim look at a reasonable price. Finally eureka! But the top was out of stock as soon as I found it. A week later the top was back and I grapped it.
I love it with distressed boyfriend jeans as you see here. It actually creates one simple line as an ensemble which is, according to authorities about such things, more flattering. Not sure what else I will do with it!
Kate says: Now that the temperatures are warming up, I’m thinking about my summer wardrobe — weeding things out, replacing beloved but worn items, looking for gaps.
One beloved item from last summer was my sleeveless chambray shirt. It got a LOT of wear, but has some discoloration so needs to be replaced. I love a summery twist on chambray, whether a sleeveless button down or a blousey tee.
So here are a few options I’m looking at. My fallback will be sticking with a replacement, but I might try one of this other tops to switch things up.
Jeanne says: I love the concept of What We Want Wednesday, but the process is not working well for me so far. I’ve given up on the hunt for the white shirtdress – nothing I tried has worked – too sheer, too short, too ugly. Then the hunt for the white shoes was also a bust – too clunky, too pointy, not white enough.
I’m starting over today looking for economical, flattering white flare jeans. Back in DC, Kate has dropped whatever she is carrying since she never thought I’d go for white flares. Here are three chic looks:
I really don’t want a high waist and I definitely don’t want to pay alot since I already did this fashion trend once many years ago. And they do need to look age-appropriate (no elaborate bellbottoms). Here are a few I’ve been looking at.
I’m going for the Kut From The Kloth version based on the reviews I’ve read. I’ll let you know how they work out.
Jeanne says: Oh, the versatility of denim/chambray. Kate is really the champion of chambray; she always finds a new way to wear her chambray shirt. My Old Navy shirt is a little heavier, making it ideal for transitional weather. I found this skirt on sale at Anthropologie and its gray/blue stripe really makes the denim shirt “pop”. Add in my cheap Forever 21 belt and my on-sale booties and I’m ready to go!
Kate scored this wonderful dress at Target; I even tracked it down for myself on eBay because I loved it so much. But, alas, by that point it was too expensive for my taste and I cannot copy Kate ALL the time. Anyway, the chambray with this little dress is “adorbs”, although she needs to try the “Jenna Lyons” style for rolling up her sleeves like I did!
Kate says: This dress has provided a fun challenge to my layering abilities. I actually think it looks better layered over a collared shirt or turtleneck than on its own, so I’m constantly looking for new ways to layer it! I particularly love how my chambray shirt picks up the blue in this dress — it makes it look like these pieces were made to be worn together!
I’ve been seeing more and more dark chambray shirts around, and they really are a completely different look from my lighter style. I love Mom’s version combined with rich brown accessories and a striped skirt that, let’s be honest, only she can wear! I probably would have looked for a punch of color — maybe bright earrings? — but I love this outfit.
Jeanne says: This dress is about four years old — back when Talbots (in my opinion) still had some great apparel items. I never saw it on anyone else and, with its fit and flare design, it is still stylish today! And it is certainly not a typical denim dress — most are styled as shirtdresses! The belt is a perfect match and I’ll wear it with with other navy items in my closet.
Kate’s little skirt is another great chambray item — versatile enough to wear in warm weather just as she has styled it, but also potentially darling with black tights and a turtleneck in winter. And I could go on about the picture of her below; doesn’t she look great? Fabulous haircut, stylin’ wardrobe, and great necklace.
Kate says: I’m excited to be sharing some of my items from mid-summer to early fall. This chambray skirt was one of the things at the Loft this summer that I had my eye one — and a great reminder to always try on couple different sizes. This is an XS (which I never wear), and I almost gave up in my hunt because they didn’t have my usual size! I love it paired with my new embroidered top from Golden Tote, a fun new subscription-box type service where you can pick a few items and they send you a few surprises as well.
I LOVE this dress on Mom. Such a classic, flattering shape, but the denim material adds some personality. But it’s also not like so many other denim dresses which are either shirtdresses (as Mom points out) or in a country-western style. And what a great belt! I would have loved to see some bright color worked in there — I’ll keep my eye out for that next time 😉
Never heard of it? Well, neither had we until recently. Basically it is the art or style where one deliberately embraces an average — plain — sometimes out of date — way of dressing. Think acid-washed mom jeans, plain t-shirts or flannel tucked into plain skirts, fleece vests and gray sweatpants. Or as Jeanne says, think of the people one sees at a cultural event in Seattle.
Here are two great articles where you can learn the normcore basics.
Some pundits think the concept of normcore is a massive joke being played on some in the fashion industry, causing some fashionistas to follow the trend — plain, buttoned-up apparel, little make-up, Birkenstocks etc. Others see it as a hipster plot designed to make the rest of us look vain, shallow and overdressed.
Most of us fashionistas would never think of adopting this look — except maybe the trend of wearing bright athletic shoes with everything (which we personally believe is because everyone has sore feet from wearing stilettos!). We say: if you are tempted to try this look, go to the nearest big airport or to Times Square and look at how many tourists are dressed. We guarantee that this will renew your resolve to be truly stylish every day.
If you are casually thinking the normcore look might be cute, here are a few acceptable pieces of apparel you might consider that will still be stylish when combined with other chic items:
Kate says: This fall I am focusing on trends more so than I have in the past. Some are newer trends that I’m using to push myself outside my comfort zone; some are holdovers from last fall that I finally feel are here to stay.
1) Faux Leather Skirt: I’m loving the A-line and/or pleated leather skirt that are making the rounds these days. I can see this style of leather skirt (as opposed to a pencil skirt or mini) being very versatile in my wardrobe. Long enough to wear to work, with tights in the winter, but trendy enough to also wear out. I picked up this faux version at Target and I’m pretty excited about it!
2) Quirky Denim Jacket: I love that denim jackets are back in, but the standard version just looks way too preppy on me. I’d like to find one with a twist – either some leather accents, or an unusual quilted treatment. I think going this route will help keep me excited about what is inevitably an investment piece, and add a little edge to my wardrobe.
3) Oxfords: You guys already know that I’m a fan of the oxfords trend, and I’ve already worn my pair a ton these past few weeks. I love them with skinny or boyfriend jeans, and also plan to wear them with dresses and skirts in the fall. I returned the Target pair when I fell in love with this cognac Steve Madden pair. When I saw them in the store, the laces were removed – and I love this look!
4) Peter Pan Collar: I was hesitant to hop on this trend at first, worried that it would make me look schoolgirl-ish and too preppy (see #2 above). But after seeing Peter Pan collars make the rounds for several seasons, I’m ready to work it into my wardrobe. I love this simple white blouse, which will very versatile on its own or under sweaters or dresses.
5) Skinny Cords: This last item is not super trendy, but definitely is a new staple that I was unable to work in last year. Skinny cords are just the winter version of skinny jeans! I found a cute pair of gray cords from J.Crew Factory that are flattering and perfectly cut at the ankle. A maroon pair would be adorable too!
Somehow whenever most of us think about denim shorts, we think about distressed, faded VERY short shorts with frayed edges – sort of like what we might have seen on Jessica Simpson in the old days. But Jeanne and Kate know better. Denim shorts can flatter many different body shapes and be very appropriate for young and middle-aged fashionistas if they are chosen with care. Interestingly, in this case, Jeanne owns more pairs of denim shorts than Kate does. Let’s hear what we have to say on the subject.
Kate says: As with my other styles of shorts, I really prefer a dark wash, clean cut pair of denim shorts. This pair I found at the Loft Outlet last summer – they are the perfect trouser style short that can be dressed up or dressed down. Below I’ve styled them for a day running errands or picnicking; and also with heels for a night out. Dark wash denim shorts are so versatile – definitely a worthwhile addition to any wardrobe!
Jeanne says: I didn’t have denim shorts for many years because I simply could not find a pair that were both flattering and age-appropriate. Then I found two great pairs in one season and I’m wearing them both here. I use them as casual alternatives to dressier long shorts. They can be worn with t-shirts or fancier options, with heels or flats. They’re also great for beach cover ups. My denim shorts probably work better in the cooler Pacific Northwest since heavier, longer denim shorts would be too hot in a different climate.