Monday, November 30, 2015

What the heck is the difference between Culottes & Gauchos?


Today I have a little history lesson for ya'll. I pulled out pattern to make a pair of Culottes. I then started thinking back when I was a young girl I had a pair of denim Gauchos with a matching denim vest. Then I started thinking to myself "what is the difference between the two? So a Google search it would be.

Culottes are an item of clothing, 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. 

Another use of the word culottes describes a split or divided skirt or any garment which hangs like a skirt, but is actually pants. During the Victorian Era, long split skirts were used for horseback riding so that women could sit on a man's saddle rather than riding side-saddle. The term "culottes" was co-opted from the original French definition of the word to describe these split riding skirts. Later, split skirts were developed to provide women more freedom to do things like gardening, cleaning, bike riding, etc. and still look like she was wearing a skirt. 

.......and   Gaucho is an equivalent of the North American "cowboy" (vaquero, in Spanish) The Gaucho is a nationalistic symbol in both Argentina and Uruguay. The Gauchos became greatly admired and renowned in legends, folklore and in literature and became an important part of their regional cultural tradition. Beginning late in the 19th century, after the heyday of the gauchos, they were celebrated by South American writers. 

Gaucho: noun, plural gauchos  [gou-chohz; Spanish gou-chaws]
1. a native cowboy of the South American pampas, usually of mixed Spanish and Indian ancestry.
2. gauchos, Also called gaucho pants. wide, calf-length trousers for men or women modeled after the trousers worn by South American gauchos.

So what is the difference? The answer to that question is that there is no damn difference, it just depends on what you want to call them, Culottes or Gauchos! Some people separate the difference by the length or the width of the legs. Anywhooo you don't really hear people using the word Gauchos now-a-days[unless they are over 45 years old]. I'm pretty sure my 27 year old daughter would not know what I was talking about if I told her I was going to make her a pair of Gauchos. So it's a matter of "you say tomato, I say tomahto", well not exactly but you get where I'm going with this.
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14 comments

  1. hahaha you are right she won't I wore Gauchos back in the day and I love love love them I just made a pair I need to him them..

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    1. I am making a her a pair of faux leather ones as soon as I finish a few other projects.

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  2. This is funny. I too had a matching gaucho/vest set I wore miniature golfing on my birthday (maybe I was 7?). I went to retrieve my golf ball and fell in the water, head first! Do you think that's why I'm still nervous about wearing gauchos?

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    1. Ummmm I gonna go with a yes, remind me never to wear gauchos while golfing!

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  3. And in French culotte is just a pair of shorts. Women or me wear culottes. English has kinda made it a specific thing.

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    1. Ohhhh that's great info, I can just hear you saying that with your native tongue, it sounds really cool in my head!

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  4. Finally! I have often wondered about the difference - now I officially know there is none. I once owned a pair of camel colored wool gaucho that I purchased for a high end $ from a high end store that were unlined. Things use to eat me up until I discovered (whattt) the gaucho slip! I've actually been thinking about making a pair in denim or corduroy to pair with boots.

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    1. The only reason I questioned it was because I knew when I was younger we called them gauchos and I could not figure out what the different was or if culottes was just a new name. I am making a few pairs in follow up to this post. I am making a denim and leather patchwork pair. I saw an inspiration pair that I want to recreate with my own twist.

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  5. Culottes as I remember them were always knee length and sometimes called a split skirt. Gauchos were calf length and had wide legs. I also remember wearing knickers. I've worn all three in the seventies. My mom told us new styles really aren't new--they just change the name. As usual, mom was right.

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    1. Yo Momma was right! You know what I was going to mention Knickers because I owned a pair of those with a matching hat and more recently I bought a Burda Pattern for a pair of knockers! The funny thing is if you do a search and review patterns they list culottes for all different lengths above the knee at the knee and below the knee and all different leg widths but all are listed as culottes.

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  6. Yeah...can't really tell the difference! Love them either way!!!!! i need those KNIT gauchos with the fringe! Great poste

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  7. Thanks for sharing that with us. I could never tell the difference, either!

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    1. The jury is still out for some people! lol!!

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