I know what you’re thinking. You just read the word “culottes,” and if you’re about my age or older you’re getting ready to run away as fast as you can. But this is not the culottes of your youth. Or your mother’s youth, if you’re younger than I am. Stick with me for a minute while I introduce you to our new Girl Friday Culottes pattern. I think you’ll be glad you did.
See what I mean? These culottes are more like a full skirt. And a very elegant full skirt, at that. And they’re surprisingly versatile. They’ve actually become a staple in my wardrobe, crazy as that may sound. They have hidden side pockets (not your typical on-seam pockets–much cooler than that), a very hidden (and surprisingly easy-to-sew) zipper inside the left pocket, pleats that hide the rise and make the culottes look more like a skirt, and flattering back darts to give you a smooth look from behind. And by the way, did you know that culottes are surprisingly flattering to your back end? It’s true!
If you’re a classic sort of girl, you can wear these in a New Look sort of way. You know what I mean when I say New Look, right? Christian Dior, 1947? Here’s the iconic image to spark your visual memory. You’ve seen this photo before, right?
Obviously the Girl Friday Culottes aren’t the New Look, but they can be worn in that same narrow waist, full-skirt, classic/vintage sort of manner. (Some of Dior’s dress designs even had a culottes feel.) Tuck in your blouse or T-shirt and slip on some pumps and you have a timeless, feminine look. The fact that they’re culottes just adds to the appeal here. You can ride your bike (really), run after the school bus (like we did yesterday when it arrived ten minutes early), or dance (see the influence of that inspiration I mentioned?) and still look feminine and stunning. Classic heels and red lips? Done.
Or you can give the culottes a more contemporary look with a boxy top like the one I’m wearing in the photo above (Interested in sewing your own? Stay tuned.) or even a long, oversized tunic or sweater if you’re daring and want to channel that It Girl look. This look is more about emphasizing a lot of volume and will take a little more confidence than the classic look I described above. It’s much more fashion-week ready.
Personally, I just like that they’re so versatile and truly wearable.
Still not convinced? As I was working on this pattern I collected a ridiculous number of tear sheets and images to show you. Culottes are everywhere right now. Here are some images with more classic styling to inspire you.
And here are a bunch of images with contemporary styling. You can see many, many more examples, including lots of images with contemporary styling, in my Liesl + Co Styling Ideas Pinterest board.
But now do you see what I mean? I’ve been wearing these culottes in linen all summer and have gotten so many compliments, particularly from my New York friends who are much cooler than I am and who have sort of freaked out over this style. What else? Oh yes, this pattern goes up to size 20 as well! All our new patterns are sizes 0-20.
The fabric possibilities for this pattern are almost endless. Use a lightweight, drapey fabric for a sleek look, like the dark red version which was made from Robert Kaufman’s silk/cotton Radiance, which is very lightweight, has a lovely drape and a gentle shine, and is washable. (Our model fell in love with them, so I gave them to her.)
I posted a couple of previews of this pattern on Instagram last spring and they got a very positive response. The black linen version in my Instagram photos was made from handkerchief linen I got at Gray Lines Linen, and the clay-colored version in the photos below is made from heavyweight washed silk I found at Mood. Here is the side view. I like how the skirt gently flares.
And here is the back with those darts for shaping:
You can also use a heavier fabric for a fuller-looking skirt. This navy pair is made from a heavy cotton/wool blend (also from Mood) and will be fantastic for cold weather. These might even be warm enough to wear on New York’s coldest days.
And believe it or not, this shorter gray version is made from classic Kona cotton. I shortened these a bit for a casual look. (See the Pinterest board for more styling inspiration and a variety of lengths.)
I still really want to make a pair from a silk faille for a really dressy look, too. Wouldn’t they be great in navy or a pale pink? And they could be worn with a casual T-shirt for everyday, so you don’t need to save them for fancy occasions.
So there you have it. I really wasn’t kidding when I said culottes! You can see all the information about them here. I can’t wait to see what you do with yours.