Several years ago, when culottes started to come out from major workwear brands like Theory and Ann Taylor, I’ll admit my first reaction was HELL NO… followed by “my eyes, my eyes!” In short: not a fan. Several years later, brands are still trying to make culottes happen, and what’s worse: my eyes have started to become accustomed to them as an option for casual offices or casual days at conservative offices. So, ladies, it’s time to discuss: CAN you wear culottes to a conservative workplace? What are your best tips for HOW to wear culottes to work? What styling tips make culottes more professional vs more weekend?
The answer here is going to vary by office, I think — so know yours! For my $.02, I think these factors make a world of difference if you’re wondering how to wear culottes to work:
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What shoes to wear with culottes: Wear heels or other shoes that might be described as “sleek.” The clunkier the shoe, the more the look says “weekend.” (I particularly love them with heels like tie-on styles.) This isn’t to say you have to wear heels — I think some oxfords with low treads and cutouts can look OK, or perhaps a sleek baby wedge like this one could also be nice. For colder days of spring and warmer days of fall, I do like the look of mid-calf boots with culottes (like in our picture at top with red boots).
What top to wear with culottes: Again, here you want to go for structure — the slinkier the look or the more slouchy the top, the more it says “weekend.” (Note that spaghetti straps are almost never appropriate for work!) Some of the peplum tops or wrap tops we’ve seen lately could be nice, like this or this.
Accessorize like you mean it: Add a watch, a long pendant necklace or other work-appropriate jewelry — skip anything that says weekend like dangly earrings that move, hoops (although I must admit I am almost always anti-hoops), an arm full of bracelets, etc, etc.
What say you, readers — are you for or against culottes for work? Can you wear culottes to your office? What styling tips help to “dress culottes up” — and which styling tricks put culottes solidly in “weekend” territory?