You don’t have to limit your warm-weather wardrobe to skirts and shorts if you have these breathable beauties in your roster.
Once the mercury creeps above 80 degrees, the idea of pulling on thigh-encasing, sweat-inducing, heat-creating trousers sounds like the least appealing sartorial proposition ever, especially when a breezy midi skirt or casual cotton shorts are just one hanger over.
There are, however, certain circumstances—work, for one—that sometimes call for a pair of pants, even in the dog days of summer.
Thankfully, the fashion world has offered up a solution to this uncomfortable conundrum: Enter the culotte. While the term may call to mind youthful skirt-fronted shorts (or worse—boxy, awkwardly hemmed khaki pairs), we invite you to take a look at the new, more modern, flattering, and—perhaps most importantly—comfortable take on the style.
The definition of “culotte” has shifted over the past few years to reflect a fashion-forward style of pant that has a wide cut and hits at mid-calf or a little below. They are essentially the pant version of a midi skirt, falling at that universally flattering part of the leg. And thanks to the roomy silhouette, they’re equally as blissfully breezy in hot and humid temps.
Scroll through for some of our favorite options.
Zara Linen Culottes with Bow
One of summer's most merciful fabrics is linen. Its natural fibers and lightweight construction give it ultimate breathability in even the most suffocating climates. These green culottes match comfort with effortless style, and just might be the most fun and versatile thing in your closet this season.
To buy: $50, zara.com.
Anthropologie Pommed Linen Wide-Leg Pants
A pair of white pants is a summer wardrobe staple, but your white jeans are not going to cut it in the dead of August. That's where these lightweight linen culottes come into play. They go with basically everything and are machine-washable—and who can resist a pom-pom detail?
To buy: $98, anthropologie.com.
Mango Linen High-Waisted Trousers
If full-length is more your speed, this pair of high-waisted, bow-front linen pants in classic black needs a spot in your summer rotation. Rear and side pockets make them perfect for running Saturday errands, and machine-washability makes them easy like Sunday mornings. Also available in off white.
To buy: $80, mango.com.
J. Crew Wide-Leg Cropped Chambray Pant
You know the way bed sheets with high thread counts are soft, lightweight, and breathable. The same logic applies to denim's summer twin, chambray. These wide-legged, cropped babies sit just above the hip and look great when balanced out with a fitted top and streamlined sandals.
To buy: $85. jcrew.com.
Urban Outfitters Safari Wide-Leg Cropped Pant
Is it a midi skirt or a cropped pant? It's the latter, but this pink pair of ultra-wide-leg culottes could pass for either. Its relaxed cotton construction and drawstring waistline help it feel a lot more casual than it looks. This pretty pair is a great summer office staple.
To buy: $64, urbanoutfitters.com.