K/R/Hem: Have I found my winter-worthy culottes?

I've been interested in trying culottes ever since they first appeared, but didn't have a lot of luck in finding any. Either the fabrication or the colour was wrong or something about the cut didn't work. Admittedly, my search has been more desultory than focused; I haven't ordered from places where returns would cost me money and I've only been able to try a few in bricks and mortar shops. 

Recently I ordered a couple of pairs from Zara. The second pair in Finds (with my new sweater) I didn't care for -- the material feels cheap and the fit was awful on me. 

But these high waisted houndstooth ones might be possibilities. 

Note: these are sized very generously for Zara. Even in the XS they are technically "too big" for me around the waist area but I don't think I would need to alter; it sort of depends how/ where on me I wear them. (If I push them down a bit they fit better; they are still high-waisted, just not quite as high.) But trying them on reminded me of all the fit problems I used to have with higher waist pants back in the 80s. It seems more important than ever to find the right rise (not easy for me), the pants can be badly fitting in more places (waist and stomach as well as hip, bum, and thighs) and in general, it's tough to get things perfect! 

Having said that -- these feel like they fit acceptably well for the (extremely reasonable) price, and the fabric is terrific -- excellent quality, nice drape and heft, and warm. These would work in winter for me with tights, long undies, or hose underneath for extra insulation if required. 

They are a nice fine houndstooth. (I LOVE houndstooth pattern; total sugar eye for that.) 

But...are they the right cut/ shape? The summer culottes Shevia sent me are more flowy and loose -- like a skirt. These are more cropped pant-like, more tailored. 

Please note, I haven't styled these at all. I'm just showing them with a few different cropped sweater options and different footwear. In pics 1 and 2, I have the burgundy boots; in pics 3 and 4 I'm showing an old pair of round-square-toed Franco Sarto knee high boots and my Zara ink booties; in pics 5-6 I have on my La Canadienne tall black boots (I don't care for these with the pants) and my tall grey boots (maybe better?) 

Also, I believe I would need to alter if I keep. The question is, how much to hem?  I have them rolled up to different levels -- more or less one roll and more or less two rolls. Which do you like better? 

Or should I just return them and keep trying? 


This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Peri replied 7 years ago

    Something is strange about the zipper...at least in the pictures it looks like it doesn't run straight. Like it is possibly defective. Do you see that IRL?

    I think you can make anything work and look good. But...do you love them enough for all those altering issues? Seems like a lot of negatives to me. Any time I try to force something to work it has ended up being something I don't really love. 

  • Angie replied 7 years ago

    I think they have great potential, Suz. (I'm assuming you want a NON-denim pair of culottes?)

    Photos can create all sorts of weird shadows so make sure you're happy with the fit on the crotch point. I like the length you have them in #3 - just above the shaft of those booties. It's a great look on you. 

  • catgirl replied 7 years ago

    I see what Peri is seeing - what is going on with the zipper looking like it's skewed?  I think the overall idea here is good with tweaking.  I prefer 3 here for you. 

    Did you consider my WHBM culottes at all?  They are warm, lined, and well-made.

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Hmm. I think maybe the zipper problem is related to the fit issue I mentioned and to my slightly crooked body. I have to pull them down a wee bit to make them not too big in the tummy and maybe the rise is still a tiny bit short for me? Hard to say. I will fiddle a bit and see. 

    Actually, I think what it is, is that the zipper closure is sort of to one side. It's not centred with my crotch. It's not a defect -- that's the way they seem to be made -- i.e. the zipper isn't lined up with the crotch seam. 

    Una, we don't have WHBM to order from here, I don't believe. And I never get to the city to try. Also, are they black? If black, forget it. 

  • Elle replied 7 years ago

    I like the shorter length on you.  Would you wear them with a tucked in shirt?  If not, the zipper (which I didn't notice) doesn't matter as much.

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    I would always wear them with a tucked or cropped top, I think, since otherwise they will be too leg-shortening on me. 

    Hey, if you look at the model photo you can see what I mean -- it's the same on her (just not as noticeable with her tall legginess, LOL). 

  • catgirl replied 7 years ago

    They are a mid-grey/charcoal.  Sorry about not being able to order from there!

  • Sara L. replied 7 years ago

    I didn't notice anything with the zipper, so that doesn't seem like a big deal to me.  I like the fit and the more tailored silhouette of these culottes.  I think you just need to figure out where to hem them to.  I prefer #3 for a hem length.

  • approprio replied 7 years ago

    It's a good look. Agree with Angie et al that they have potential and #3 is the sweet spot. I've found that most pants can be made to fit with a tuck to the back seam if they're a bit loose around the waist. YMMV. 

  • Elizabeth P replied 7 years ago

    I think these look good, esp at the length in #3. 

    I think I'd prefer a top that comes to maybe half way between your crotch and waist with them. Maybe it's my poison eye for high waists, but to my eye I see a lot of tummy.  Not sticking out :)  Just the area from from crotch to waist.  This would solve any zipper issues as well, which I see now it's been pointed out, but hadn't noticed until then.

  • Isabel replied 7 years ago

    Suze, I don't know if this is helpful :  I have been looking at the pics and they the culottes just seem off. I can't put my finger on it.  I also see the zipper thing.   The last pic comes really close - but the zipper is skewed.  It's weird, I feel as if you are sooooo freakin' close.   

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Yeah...maybe i need to start over, folks. 

    Thank you for the input!! Super helpful. Back to the drawing board. It won't kill me to try again. 

    Angie, if you read this -- my hesitations about denim culottes are twofold.

    1. They won't be warm enough for me in winter (wind gets up them, grrrrr, and I do not like to wear long undies under denim because it sticks, even silk).

    2. They don't really drape -- they are quite crisp, no? Maybe unless made from tencel which would help with the underwear also...hmmm...that is a thought. 

  • unfrumped replied 7 years ago

    There is something about the fit of these that seems off. But the overall concept would work great for you.
    I'm comparing them somehow to the fit of your long shorts and some other items that fit better in waist and hip and looked very sporty and flattering.
    I would try some others to find "yours".

  • Beth Ann replied 7 years ago

    You are such a trooper!  I love the color and the general look.  I'm with the others that the zipper seaming is odd.  From a sewist's perspective, it's an unusual choice.

    The right pair will appear!

  • Marilyn replied 7 years ago

    Suz......WHBM does ship to Canada now.  They use Borderfree....don't know what the associated costs are.  If you get to Ottawa we have a new store at Bayshore Shopping Centre.

  • Suz replied 7 years ago

    Oh, Borderfree is awful, Marilyn. But thank you! 

    Well, back they all go! Onwards!!! :) 

  • Janet replied 7 years ago

    I know I'm late to this, but I'm not loving them either. I definitely see something wonky going on in the zipper region, and it's making it look like you have a puffy belly, which I know you most certainly do not. I don't think these are the ones. Onward and upward!

  • lyn67 replied 7 years ago

    Findig the right rise is difficult for me, too, so I can relate. I find them a bit too big in the crotch area, otherwise would be a great thing if you wanted esp a light grey pair-they can be very elegant in this color for winter! Can they be altered to all you said, or it's just too much fuss....sorry to be a mare:-(. 

  • Angie replied 7 years ago

    Makes sense, Suz. Although these DO drape: 

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