One of the more unique pieces in my summer wardrobe, these black and white pleated culottes are almost always mistaken for a skirt. “Oh, I like your skirt,” somebody will compliment, to which I will kick up my leg, while fanning the pants like feathers of a peacock. “Surprise!” This pair of skirt-like pants has been with me since 2017, which makes it one of my closet elders according to my wardrobe stats, yet I’m still very much in love with it.
Black and White Printed Culottes
Purchased from: Value Village, 2017
Wears counted: 42 (since 2018)
The piece is made of some kind of polyester-y material with a bold, semi-abstract pattern that looks like the lacing on a dragon fly’s wing interwoven with an assortment of florals. The fabric isn’t great quality, but because of the loose and flowy fit, it doesn’t feel too bad. I really like the accordion pleats around the hips which open up to clownishly wide legs; it has great movement and makes me want to swirl spontaneously, while seeking out grates to recreate my own Marilyn Monroe moment. The length of the piece is very flattering, although it sometimes gets caught on my bike pedals so it is, admittedly, not the most commuter-friendly piece. But for days when I’m just walking around, running errands, or employing other modes of transportation, it works just fine.
Sadly, the beauty of this piece is slightly marred by the questionable quality and construction, specifically, the use of staples to finish segments of the hems. Now, I’m no sewing expert, but I would think that this is unconventional at best, and likely just lazy work. In the places that are stitched, like the waistband, I’ve noticed a lot of the threads coming loose. In fact, the elastic band is pretty much exposed on the inside of the garment. Fortunately, the pleating and busy pattern are good at concealing most of this, but I know that I can’t just keep pulling off threads and tucking unpinned edges into place. Eventually, I’ll have to do some work on it.
These pants regularly grace my body and are among my most-worn summer items. Despite the vibrant pattern, the black and white colours make it very wearable with the solid tops in my wardrobe, unlike some of the other printed bottoms I’d been drawn to, but had no clue what to do with. It’s also a piece that deceptively passes for “fancy”, while being super comfortable and generous in the waist area. I’ve dressed it up with a nice top and heels to go to concerts, swing dance events, and even wedding dinners. Just as easily, it is one of my go-to’s for lazy days, like today, when I only want to put on a muscle tank with no bra, but still look cute.
One style goal I have is to get more year-round wear out of this piece. Currently, I wear it heavily in the summer, and occasionally on the edge months with a long sleeve shirt, but I do think it has potential to work in winter outfits. I’m thinking a big cashmere sweater, booties, and several layers of tights. I know I will eat my words, but this heat is melting me: winter canno’t come soon enough!