What: Cropped, wide-legged pants designed to hang like a skirt.
What's With The Name?: The original culottes were designed for aristocratic Frenchmen and looked quite a bit different from the roomy trousers we've been seeing on the runways lately (and have heralded as a trend worth trying). They were tight breeches that fastened just below the knee, and became (probably) the most politically-charged pants in history during the French Revolution, when the name "sans-culottes" was given to antimonarchists who rejected the stuffy style. While the king was beheaded, the garment lived on elsewhere in Europe and North America, and a swingier, "split-skirt" style was adopted by women in the Victorian Age for the purpose of horseback riding. They had a moment in the '80s, as part of a new take on the skirt suit, but still had their fair share of haters (fashion critic Robin Givhan, for one, called them "the fashion equivalent of processed cheese"—ouch).