‘All the cool girls are wearing Culottes!’ Or are they wearing Gauchos? When I started teaching Fashion Elements, it was one of the first things I needed to clarify. ‘What IS the difference between Gauchos and Culottes?!’
This style of cropped wide legged pant can be found in many stores right now. Often mislabelled, I set out to find a clear definition and history of these garments. Turns out, it’s very simple:
Most of the loose fitting, ankle baring pants we’re seeing this season (like the pair I’m wearing) are Gauchos. Gauchos are wide, cropped pants, and are a key fashion trend for Spring 2016. Originating from the South America, Gauchos were worn by cowboy in Argentina, which is were they get their name.
Culottes are known as a ‘Split Skirt’ and are French in origin. Culottes have a flat panel on the inside of the leg, giving them more volume than Gauchos. If you were wearing a pair of Culottes, and standing with your feet together, it looks like you’re wearing a skirt. They’re consider more of a skirt, than pants.
Here is a link to a Vogue Patterns that illustrates this perfectly.
I hadn’t worn a pair of Gauchos in years, but as soon as I tried on this pair from Aritzia I was in love. They’re so comfy, and easy to wear. When I wore them to school, I had so many students and colleagues compliment my outfit, and ask where I got them from. This particular style is really full and actually almost looks like a pair of Culottes. Needless to say, I would highly recommend embracing this trend, and encourage you to go try on a pair of Gauchos, or Culottes!