En Brogue In Full: culottes

Welcome to another edition of En Brogue In Full, the feature where I show you how I style my full outfit with flat shoes. This time, I’ve decided to tackle something that I thought for years I couldn’t wear: culottes. I’m using the term culottes here to loosely to describe wide legged, cropped trousers. (I also thought I would tackle photographing it on one of the coldest days of the year, so excuse the traces of snow and ice on the pavements and icy wind in my hair!)

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Corduroy jacket, £155 (cosstores.com); shirt, Finery London (old); culottes, £36 (topshop.com); shoes, £49.99 (mango.com). PHOTOGRAPHY ZAC FRACKELTON

At 5ft3″ tall, culottes can be tricky before I even throw in the added complication of limiting myself to flat shoes. There’s no denying that they do look fab with chunky block heels to even out the volume, but there are a few tricks that you can employ to make it work. In terms of the culottes themselves, I look for styles that look pretty short on the models – as you can see, my culottes just skim my ankle bone, but if you click on the link they hang around mid-calf on the model – any longer on me and it just wouldn’t be flattering at all. Of course, you can always take your trousers to a tailor to be altered or do it yourself if you’re a dab hand with a sewing machine, but I’m too lazy to do either of those things so I like to get it right first time!

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As there’s so much material going on on the bottom half, I’ve chosen a short, fitted jacket on top. That said, I have experimented with longer coats when it’s colder and I find that really long ones, just slightly shorter than the trousers, look really good too. Between waist and knee-length though, and I think my body would start getting rather lost, so this corduroy jacket is ideal for spring (it’s one of my favourite ever purchases, in fact!).

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Shoes-wise, I’ve gone for a smart shoe with this particular look. You might have heard me banging on about how flattering these Mango shoes are before, but the reason they work in this instance is the shape of the top of the shoe. It exposes a lot of my foot and also finishes in a neat point, which gives the impression of elongation on the legs. I wouldn’t personally wear brogues with these trousers as I’d feel a bit frumpy, nor would I choose loafers that sit high up on the foot.

1.Me + Em crop palazzo pant, £59 (meandem.com); 2. Monki flowy trousers, £25 (monki.com)

Of course I realise that not all of you reading this are the same height as me! So I’ve included these other culottes options not just because I like the trousers, but also because I think the styling is great. Me + Em should be on your radar as a destination for really great trousers (they shift more trousers than anything else because customers just keep coming back for more) – many styles are really long so I’ve ruled them out for me, but if you’re taller than I am they are really worth checking out. I love these white ankle boots with the trousers, though I don’t think I could pull it off myself. Meanwhile, Monki has a brilliant selection of wide leg trousers at the moment, and I love that this pair has a matching top (the Vans look great too).

1.& Other Stories pointy ballet flats, £69 (stories.com); 2. COS ballerinas, £89 (cosstores.com); 3. Mango leather flats (these are the grey version of my white ones), £49.99 (mango.com); 4. Massimo Dutti red leather flats, £69.95 (massimodutti.com); 5. Miista E8 denim flats, £75 (miista.com); Zara braided mules, £29.99 (zara.com)

While I think these shoes are a great fit with the culottes – and there are loads of this style to choose from on the high street at the moment – I wouldn’t advise wearing most of them if you’re planning to walk a long way as shoes this flat don’t offer a lot of support. So for days when you’re going to be on your feet a lot, perhaps experiment with trainers – I like Puma Suedes and adidas Superstars with cropped wide leg trousers, but most white trainers look good. Just be sure to have plenty of ankle showing to keep the proportions flattering.

As usual I’d love to know what you think! Do you wear culottes with flat shoes? Any tips of your own? Leave comments below!

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