What’s in my Wardrobe – Leather Culottes (Part One)

It’s a well-known fact that I’m partial to navy. Translate that truism into a pair of trusty trousers and watch me fan girl – hard. Exhibit A: I’ve been wearing these leather culottes for the guts of a year, so much so I’ve left a butt mark. I like to consider this ownership lest anyone get notions about ‘borrowing’ them. Try filling that crater, why don’t you! What can I say? I’m a territorial Taurean.

Such is my ardent love for these cropped beauties, I decided to dedicate two posts to their cost-per- wear ratio. Anyone who’s read The Happy Closet knows that I expect mileage from my clothing. Given that I can’t find my face before 8 am without an intravenous caffeine drip, I think making my wardrobe do the work is the smarter course of action.

Let’s break this bad boy down then, shall we? The key to this look is layering – a humble styling hack most people seem to detest. “It’s too much work!” I hear you cry. Allow me to offer some perspective:

  • Advanced Calculus on a hangover is too much work.
  • Filing tax returns while babysitting a 3-year old who’s just mainlined a metric tonne of sugar is too much work.

Layering is pretty simple provided you follow two simple rules.


Start with two similar shades and/or one accent – no more. Unless, of course, you’d prefer to look like your colour-blind arch nemesis dressed you in a fit of pique. The benefit of a unified front? You’ve got more leverage to be creative with shapes should you wish. If that scares the living bejaysus out of you, then you’re layering game will still look on point. Win, win.


Once you’ve nailed your colours to the mast, it’s time to look at length. Culottes are divisive devils with their abbreviated hems and A-line cut – not exactly the easiest thing to wear. This is where a bit of play time pays off. Try on pieces from your wardrobe that fit the colour brief and see what flies. Add in varying heel heights and you’ll soon get familiar with what suits your frame.

Exhibit B: I’m a little over 6 feet tall. With that, I’ve got a bit more wiggle room to wear a combination of unusual proportions which, paradoxically, make me appear more in proportion. Note: the varying hems and belt action all work with instead of against each other thanks to a simple navy and black combo. Add in some jewellery and the job’s a good’un.

Fancy a few more options? Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3. Coming soon….

Hair: Aviary Lane Photo: Hazel Coonagh Jacket, Maje; Polo, COS; Dress, Tara Jarmon; Culottes, COS; Shoes, 9 West; Bag, Zara; Sunglasses, Ray-Ban; Earrings, Loulerie; Ring, Pilgrim