If you’ve worked in an office through a British summer, it’s 99.9% certain you’ll have worn culottes — but with the pleasingly swishy ankle flashers comes a whole world of footwear problems.

What shoes can you wear with culottes? Sandals aren’t always possible (unless with socks, except for about two weeks a year), loafers look a bit square, flat ankle boots are an obvious no, most trainers will make you look like you’ve got different person’s body and feet… It’s probably the trickiest shoe scenario of the lot.

Sometimes it’s on a case-by-case basis, like that time kale-pusher Gwyneth Paltrow wore skater shoes and denim culottes… As so often happens, it was o-k (but not quite right).

So, now we’ve established what to avoid, here’s what you CAN wear…

Backless Loafers

A real favourite of the Instagram elite right now, on the back of the Gucci Princetown slippers (the furry ones, yeh), the backless loafer is the culotte’s cool best friend. They don’t cut off anywhere near the ankle and they’re usually quite lengthy or pointed which keeps the leg looking long and lean.

White Trainers

The un-savvy sneakerists among you may question why the colour should be the deciding factor but there’s something about a white trainer that just makes it a whole lot smarter than its multi-coloured brethrens. Maybe it’s the element of Valentino lookalike a monochromatic Stan Smith or Superstar has, but they’re a winner in outfits where others would most certainly not be. (Warning: It goes without saying this isn’t just any old white trainer.)

Strappy Heels

If you aren’t totally opposed to a heel occasionally, the strappy sandal could be your safest bet — they’re classically leg-lengthening (in case you haven’t heard) and they’ll keep the look office-and-out more appropriate than a pair of sneaks.


It’s the throw-on-and-go option in the summer. Again with the flattering lack of anything cutting off the calf and the shoe width slims them too. Avoid sporty slides, just a simple (meaning: probably black) pair is easiest, though go for Marni-style embellishment for something more jazzy.

Heeled Boots

This isn’t a combination you should enter into lightly — the leg window can go very wrong when not trialed before the get-ready-rush. A long ankle boot (heeled, it goes without saying) with a slightly shorter culotte or play it safer with a leg length which covers the top of your boot.

Chunky Brogues

Not just any old brogue, it needs a chunky shape and sole, and all-over edge — preferably in silver. The heftiness balances the volume of the culotte and leaves your leg looking positively waif-like in the middle. Ankle socks optional.

Mid Heels

They're the Insta-crowd's fav new footwear and they're the perfect heel for people who don't like heels. Casj enough that you won't feel all done up, tried-and-tested cool and elegant without being try-hard.

Continued below...

Close to 5"? Here are the culottes for short women... You CAN wear them!