Are Culottes Tznius?
Some of you may be wondering if culottes, a flair-pants that reach to the knees or longer, are modest. Read more to find out what we think.
According to Wikipedia:
In English-speaking history culottes were originally the knee-breeches commonly worn by gentlemen of the European upper-classes from the late Middle Ages or Renaissance through the early nineteenth century.
Culottes is technically a pair of pants that is a man’s garb. No matter how it is designed, there will be a split below the crotch that is not modest for a woman to wear as an outside attire. It may be comfortable to wear, but it is not a desired article of clothing for modest women.
Culottes for women
Modern English use of the word culottes describes a split or bifurcatedskirt or any garment which “hangs like a skirt, but is actually pants.” During the Victorian Era (mid- to late-nineteenth century European culture) long split skirts were developed for horseback riding so that women could sit astride a horse with a man’s saddle rather than riding side-saddle. Horse-riding culottes for women were controversial because they were used to break a sexual-taboo against women riding horses when they were expected to hide their lower limbs at all times. Later, split skirts were developed to provide women more freedom to do other activities as well, such as gardening, cleaning, bike riding, etc. and still look like one is wearing a skirt.
According to Modesty, An Adornment for Life, Rabbi Falk discusses the implications of wearing culottes as follows.
Fashion trends come and go and it appears that now the culotte is back in fashion simply because the goyim dictate that it be so. Unfortunately, there are Jewish “tznius” stores selling this kind of apparel as well and just because they sell it, doesn’t mean that a Bas Yisrael has to wear it.