If you're blissfully unaware of the trends unfurling for Spring 2015, the ignorance may be a boon to your wardrobe. This season's favored fads are challenging in the worst way, and none more so than the culottes trend. Voluminous, cropped, and often pleated, learning how to style culottes is perhaps the most difficult fashion feat you'll have to accomplish this summer. A billowing top paired with equally tentlike pants is a recipe for sartorial disaster, yet adding a barely-there bralet atop culottes feels a soupcon too juvenile.
Thus begins the culottes conundrum, wherein those who adore the idea of the trend are nevertheless forced to abandon all hope of mastering it due to the sheer impossibility of styling the piece correctly. However, culottes should be in your wardrobe wheelhouse for summer. The style looks beautifully streamlined on every height and build, is blissfully movement-friendly, and is far more conducive for staying cool in the summer heat than your average skinny jeans. If you're eager to dip a toe into the trend, scroll through for seven celebrity-inspired ways to style your culottes this summer — and don't be surprised if your pleated midi skirts and cigarette pants are in semi-permanent retirement this season.
1. Crop Your Top
Minkpink Garden Bed Picnic Crop Top, $39, shop.nordstrom.com
Loose-fitting pleated or flared culottes require a more fitted top to create a balanced ensemble, so why not reach for a crop top like Jennifer Lawrence's rose-hued Dior design? Ace the look by selecting a top with colors that mirror your culottes.
2. Suit Up
Blaque Label Noir Blazer, $132, shopbop.com
Take Zendaya's lead and sub in your culottes for tuxedo trousers to create an avant-garde suit. To prevent the look from appearing too convoluted, choose a jacket in the same fabric and shade as your culottes, and stick with polished, neutral accessories.
3. Pair Your Patterns
Keepsake Night After Night Strapless Top, $85, nastygal.com
In the manner of 2015's pattern-matched crop top and midi skirt trend, embrace a pop of pattern with a a fitted top that corresponds with your culottes. Maintaining a single pattern throughout your entire ensemble unifies the look and achieves a more sophisticated aesthetic than attempting to mix and match contrasting prints.
4. Jumpstart Your Look With A Jumpsuit
Tibi Agathe Strapless Jumpsuit, $695.00, tibi.com
If you dare to embrace two trends simultaneously, dive into a jumpsuit with a culotte cut this summer. Rendered in black, white, cream, or navy, the look is incredibly impactful and requires no extraneous styling. Add a neutral heel and a crisp blazer for more formal occasions.
5. Give Your Look A Twist
C/MEO Found Out Bustier, $130, revolveclothing.com
Culottes are nothing if not experimental, so shake up your look by pairing your pants with an equally visually intriguing twisted top. Choose a top in a bustier silhouette for after-hours carousing.
6. Win The Primaries
Everlane The Sleeveless, $45, everlane.com
When in doubt, look to classic pieces in primary colors for inspiration. Model Gigi Hadid colorblocks her cobalt silk culottes with a simple white blouse for a look as timeless as it is modern and fresh. For a similarly pleasing look, select culottes in a rich jewel tone hue and pair with a simple white button-down.
7. Treat Yourself To A Textured Tee
Versace Jeans Cropped Textured T-Shirt, $200, couture.zappos.com
Much like the average midi skirt or trouser shorts, culottes can be dressed up or down based on the occasion, and what better way to strike a balance between the two than with a textured t-shirt? Sport the look with simple multi-strap sandals and minimalist jewelry for a sultry date night ensemble, or add a pair of menswear-inspired brogues to take the look to work.
Images: Getty Images; Courtesy Brands