On trend with Meleana Estes

The boyish influence on women’s clothing has been a recurring theme in fashion in recent years. Oversize box-shaped blouses, menswear-inspired blazers, varsity jackets and silk dress shirts accented with sleek collars have all had their day on the runways. The androgynous theme has continued to evolve season after season. However, and thankfully, last fall, a new-or should I say, reinvented-expression took the reigns … culottes are back!

The very history of culottes was ground-breaking. During the Victorian era, culottes were developed for women to sit astride a saddle, rather than sidesaddle, while horseback riding. It was one of the first steps womenswear took toward function and masculinity.

These split skirts, better known by the French word “culottes,” then became popular for bike riding and gardening because of the freedom they provided.

And think how freeing it could be to add a piece to your wardrobe that brings a completely new fresh a look! The longer silhouettes of today’s culottes convey chic sophistication.

Whether your style is tailored or relaxed, all have an understated elegance.

At her spring fashion show, perfectly sleek Victoria Beckham thanked her audience wearing a tailored, black pair of culottes from her collection. Proenza Schouler took a more feminine approach with silk chiffon culottes in shades of cream. And Christophe Lemaire of Hermès wowed us with a fantastic pair fashioned in a forest green crocodile!

But, if crocodile is too much for your taste, the bold silhouette of culottes is a statement on its own. Whether smartly paired with a relaxed silk blouse and ankle strap heels, or with a snazzy crop top and a pair of loafers, the impact and allure of your new trouser style will be unforgotten!

Punahou grad and Fashion Institute of Technology alumna Meleana Estes gives us her take on the hottest runway trends. A trendsetter in her own right, her designs for her eponymous handbag line and modern take on resort attire for aloha wear purveyor Manuheali’i have garnered rave reviews.

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