Culottes: There are several defintions for culottes, but they are basically all the same. They are described as: women’s trousers, usually knee length or calf length. They have a full cut to resemble a skirt. Culottes are garment that hangs like a skirt, but is actually pants. Also described as a split or divided skirt or any garment which hangs like a skirt, but is actually pants. During the Victorian Era (mid-to late-19th century), long split skirts were developed for horseback riding. Later, to provide women more freedom to do activities such as gardening, cleaning, bike riding, etc. and still look like she was wearing a skirt.
Gauchos: A wide, calf-length trousers modeled after the trousers worn by South American gauchos (cowboys). They usually have a high waist cut and loosely tapers from the thigh until a few inches below the knee. These have been in fashion since the 1950s when women wanted a little more room for their legs while maintaining some sense of style.
So, I use both terms. I remember when I was a little girl, what we wore were called gauchos. I currently own both so when I post them, I may use the names interchangeably. I actually have several pairs that I would consider to be gauchos. Most are vintage since that was the time when they were so popular .They also were big in the early 2000′s to. I do have a pair Missoni culottes that I did a post on in the Summer (Sunday Best).. Sometimes it’s easy to classify one over the other, but sometimes not. Several images that I came across sometimes use the terms for either. Sometimes it’s hard to see the big difference and at other times it’s obvious, as seen in the image of the mustard color Asos culottes and then there are times when they resemble each other more. Also if you can see in the culottes pics, sometimes they just look like oversized, wide leg pants which sometimes are known as palazzo pants. Semantics! So in conclusion, culottes look more like a skirt, it’s only when you separate your legs that you realize they are not a skirt. Whereas gauchos, are more of a cropped pant, sometimes wide leg shorts, if they are the shorter version. All in all I think they are very versatile. They can be dressed up or down depending on the top you choose to wear with them and the footwear. I prefer to wear a heel of some type, preferably a wedge or chunkier shoe or boot to balance out the fullness of them, it just depends on the fit and length mostly. You just need to try out several shoes to see which ones work at that time. You also want to be aware that the fullness of both can make you appear heavier. You will also want to watch the length because the ones meant to hit mid calf or around the knee might not work if you’re vertically challenged. You could end up looking shorter and wider. So because of the fullness, you would want to keep your more on the fitted side to balance out the fullness. So there you have it! In case you were wondering about the difference between culottes and gauchos was, there it is! Or if you don’t really care, there it is anyway. You never know, you may need to know that if you are ever on Jeopardy or something! :)