culotte pants & other frenemies

In ALL, PREENING by Stephanie Klein11 Comments

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“Say Hello to the Culotte.” It was a subject line that bubbled to the top of my inbox this morning. Saks Fifth Avenue wanted me to “Shop Pants,” in particular the Culotte. “Spring’s superstar cut mixes menswear ease with a feminine sensibility.” Why yes, menswear ease (a boxy gray sweatshirt) can be mixed with feminine sensibility, that is, if white lace culotte pants priced at $1095.00 are sensible given your budget. I’m not knocking it, certainly. I’m sure my cellulite would make quick friends with lace, an instant antique camouflage for sure. Though let’s face it, wide legged cropped pants, no matter what you call them, are doing nothing for elongating the figure. You may be on trend, but you look like a dead end.
Lace Culotte Pants
Yesterday I went to the mall (perhaps my first mistake), and it was abominable. I’m about to add a new complaint. I used to only carp about the lighting in those dressing rooms making you look like a Star Wars creature, with that third plank of mirror meant to tilt and offer a friendly rear view. Oh, the horror. But now, it seems, just in the nick of time, they also manage to make you look partly bald, which is kind when you think about it. A free service, no purchase necessary.

I abused the fitting rooms of Bloomingdale’s, J.Crew, Banana Republic, and Zara, then I stepped inside Nordstrom and walked out because why?! Enough. This was going nowhere. I actually pulled out some earbuds and started to play ABBA, hoping for an improved mood. I was desperate. I’d go anywhere. Soon, I found myself on the phone with my mother–who was advising me to look for a turquoise top, and a neutral shoe that had a turquoise buckle like the one she just bought at Marshall’s in Florida. And this helps me how?–as I walked through The Charter Club of Macy’s. What am I doing here?! Listen, I have no ego when it comes to fashion. That is, I will gladly shop at Forever 21, The Limited, Bergdorf’s, or Bebe (Okay, I haven’t shopped here since college, but there was a woman in Boca who always looked great whenever we got together at night, and her tops were always from Bebe, and I was always shocked). My self-esteem is intact enough to not care what label or what store makes my clothes. I just want them to fit nicely, to be tailored, to feel comfortable, to feel beautiful in the colors and fabrics, from wherever it is they are discovered. I was hoping to purchase something uplifting for spring. Tonight Alexandra is coming to town, and 12 of us ladies (including Dulce and Smelly) are heading out to an early dinner at La Esquina. So, I wanted to wear something fun. Women dress for women, and some very heavy things have been happening lately, and I was hoping to just uplift the whole mood, elevate where I can, even if it is just a very small superficial change of shopping therapy.

Tomorrow Phil and I are headed to Caesars Atlantic City with another couple for a sexy fun weekend away to gamble and sex it up (decidedly, not with the other couple), celebrating Phil’s birthday. It is our friend’s birthday, too, so it was the perfect quick escape for the four of us, an adults weekend away, filled with gambling, eating, drinking, lots of storytelling, and most likely karaoke. So, I was hoping to find an outfit that could pull double duty, something I could wear tonight with the girls and then basically wear again tomorrow night. Another benefit of an intact self-esteem, you don’t care so much how gross that might seem. Any suggestions? I don’t want to wear black.


  1. New shoes! That is the only answer to this problem. Also really digging all the peach and orange sorbet colors right now. Perhaps a flowy shirt in a super spring color, favorite jeans and great new shoes.

  2. OMG. Are you kidding? You look so great in anything! Any color or style! Your body, your hair! So amazing!!! Srsly, take photos!!

  3. Confused – are you looking for something for tonight? Anyway, H and M always works for me in a pinch. Hope to see some photos!

  4. I’ve decided my signature color is navy. It’s easily brightened with red or turquoise, it’s classic and crisp, and it’s not draining to my complexion like black. Everytime I’m tempted to start with black I force myself to start with navy instead and I haven’t yet regretted it. The shoes to go with took me a little while, but I’ve sussed it out and feel confident in my choices now.

    I found stupid cute stuff at JCPenney’s of all places. They have a line called ANA and another called Joe that aren’t too young for me nor too staid. And they cover all my puffy zones flatteringly.

    That said I am in my early forties, so you might look at the items and be like, “Oh, hi, Granny.”

    1. I found a really cute ANA top at JC Penny— I went in to the store just to buy some running shorts and found some cute stuff.

  5. This won’t help you in the short term, but maybe try Stitch Fix. You can a box of clothes each month to try on at home and can return anything you don’t like. You fill out a survey going over your style/sizes and then the stylists at StitchFix also review your social media sites to get a sense.

    It’s at least gets you to try on things you never would in the store and is something to look forward to each month.

  6. I am too late to the party, but you know what always works for sexy weekends away and for things that can go day to night?

    Leather trousers. 100%. I have done this trick many times and while they aren’t easy to find = the perfect pair = they are an awesome investement. I even have one pair that is fabric on the back and leather on the front…ha, a bit more forgiving if you know what I mean and I can wear them with a white t-shirt and a jean jacket and a nice handbag during the day and glam them up big time at night :)

    Hope you had a great time!

  7. I’m a bit late, but maybe for next time…
    Howabout a jumpsuit (with black/white print), a blazer (black), high heels (black, red, silver, gold or maybe pink?), a statement necklace (matching the color of the heels) and of course bright (red or pink) lipstick for an evening out?
    And you can dress this down with flat strappy sandals, jean jacket and a colored scarf for daytime. That’s my favorite style for this spring and summer. It’ll work for almost every occasion: girls night, date night, work, birthday partys, …

    Many Greetings from Germany

  8. Ugh, I hear you. I’m 33, and I feel like it’s that in-between age where I’m not young enough for a crop top, and I’m not old enough to sport Chico’s. But I still want a fun/flattering outfit for a night out or the occasional trip to Vegas. I’m covered on my weekday basics (can’t get enough of the Gap and Madewell lately), but for trendy evening attire I’ve been struggling!

    Here are the brands I’ve had some success with – Parker (cute dresses and tops to wear with jeans/heels), Rag & Bone jeans with a waxy finish (still feel like jeans, but look a bit cooler/dressier), Sole Society for shoes that are on-trend and not expensive, Lace tops from Jcrew paired with a tight black pant and, in-a-pinch, I do overnight shipping after scouring Piperlime for anything I feel could possibly work. During the summer, my go-to evening outfit tends to be my white jeans, gold strappy heels and some sort variation of a solid top with bold gold jewelry.

    I totally feel your pain, and best of luck!

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