Fashion: For a little more flare

Palazzo pants and culottes are all around and their versatility makes them winners

Updated - March 29, 2016 05:36 pm IST

Published - August 26, 2015 06:00 pm IST - HYDERABAD:

Deepika Padukone in Piku

Deepika Padukone in Piku

The yardstick of a silhouette/garment being in vogue is when you don’t have to look too hard to find it in retail stores and it’s increasingly spotted in campuses, cafés, cultural venues and in short, everywhere. Palazzo pants and culottes have stepped off runaways, percolated to everyday wear and aren’t restricted to harsh summer months. Palazzo pants used to be considered tricky a few seasons ago. The fashion fraternity largely felt it would be ideal for tall, slim women and went best with a fitted top. Soon, there emerged different ways of making palazzos work.

On one hand, shimmering palazzos were showcased on ramps and at the other end, Deepika Padukone wore them with long kurtas giving a new spin to work wear in Piku . She’d sported palazzos before for a dressed down look in Cocktail and many off screen appearances, but the Piku look hit the mark. The popularity of the kurta-palazzo is such that e-commerce sites offer kurta-palazzo sets alongside salwar/churidar, kurta, dupatta sets. Give those leggings a break and try these relaxed fits.

Versatile is how the fashion fraternity terms palazzos and culottes. “Palazzo pants, popular in the 60s and 70s, have made a huge comeback. With the right styling, they can work for most body types,” says designer Aditi Bhoopal Pradipak.

It used to be a challenge when palazzos made a re-entry, observes designer Vyshnavi Reddy. “When people began wearing palazzos with kurtas, it drew ‘what’s going on?’ looks but it works well when one chooses the right pair. Taller women can carry off palazzos with less or more flare easily. For shorter women, those with less flare are better. Pants that stop just above the ankle also go well with long kurtas,” says Vyshnavi. To sport this relaxed silhouette at work, Aditi suggests teaming palazzo pants with a structured top or a jacket, worn with wedges or heels. “Choose solid colours. Tuck in a button down shirt and add a belt to clinch at the waist,” she says.

Puja Sahney of Navika has seen palazzo pants used smartly for both casual and work wear. “It all depends on the fall of the fabric, the colours and prints. Short women choose monochromatic palazzo pants and tops, say white, and accessorise them with silver jewellery and a bright bandhej dupatta. Some prefer to wear them with ganjis/waistcoats/blazers depending on the occasion,” she says.

The terms culottes and palazzos are at times used interchangeably since they are perceived as different takes on the divided skirt — fabric that’s cut and falls like a skirt but gives the comfort of a trouser. While most palazzos are voluminous and end at the ankle or feet, culottes are shorter and more structured. International fashion weeks have been showcasing knee-length culottes in denims, leather and blended fabrics.

“Culottes are flattering wide pants that appear like a skirt and usually end at the knees; a few extend a little beyond the calf. Culottes and heels go together like hot chai and samosas on a rainy day,” says Aditi. Culottes are a great way to show off toned calves. “Avoid culottes with or drawstrings and go for structured ones for formal wear,” she sums up.

History says : Culottes were worn by men in Europe, particularly France, from the 15th to 19th centuries. The knee-breeches were identified with the aristocratic sections and shunned during the French revolution.

Vyshnavi’s take : Wear long palazzos with fitted tops, accessorise with a long neckpiece for a bohemian look. When worn with a kurta, a pair of earrings suffice.

Aditi’s take : Wear high-waist palazzo pants with a crop top to show off your curves. Bright palazzos can be paired with block printed or tie and dyed long, straight kurtas with high slits. Wear them with mojris or kohlapuris. While on a holiday, add a straw hat and strappy sandals to palazzos worn with a plain t-shirt.

Puja’s take : This is an Indian take on ‘normcore’ fashion. Traditionally, we’ve had shararas with the relaxed silhouette.

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