Do you hear the Clothing Sirens’ call?

Usually on Tuesdays I feature an item that I think that you should consider buying if you are interested in making chic updates to your work wardrobe. In today’s post however I’d like to have a little chat about those times when you LOVE something and WANT it so badly but know that logically you should stay away from it. In the context of this office style fashion blog, I’m referring to clothing and trends that don’t do you justice- even though it looks SO good on countless models and on fashion blogs, even on this very blog!


Now first off, some assumptions: for the most part I assume that readers of this blog (yes I mean you, dear BusiChic) are interested in creating their own business chic look. This means a sense of “professional style” that fits within the confines of your workplace dresscode but also showcases some of your fabulous personality because well – we are not drones. Heck with lots of people meeting future partners in the workplace (I’m one of them) or heck just making some great friends – why shouldn’t you be looking great at work? And getting back to the work-side of things – surely you want it to be effortlessly easy to throw on something that makes you feel great and confident to go forth and throw things down at work? And that for lots of us “feeling great” in something equates to looking in the mirror and thinking “damn, I look great” – so my final assumption, I assume that this means you want your clothes to fit you comfortably and flatteringly. To this end you need to stock your wardrobe with great pieces that you can rely upon to make you look and feel good.

What are Clothing Sirens?

The Sirens are mythical creatures- beautiful and dangerous; fatal to those who hear their luring song. I was reminded of this recently when watching Ice Age 4 (don’t judge me, I’ve been researching plenty a show on the box as I recover from a cold) where the animal characters are sailing through the ocean and hear the call of Sirens’ who take on the form of their greatest fantasies. In actual fact these Sirens are ugly hungry creatures who are luring in the animals so they can devour them… At the same time I was also browsing through the Autumn catalogues and realised I have “Clothing Sirens”. These are pieces of clothing that I feel will make me look amazing because they look great in the campaigns which makes me really want them even though I know they would make me look blergh and make me feel crap and so they would end up discarded on my bedroom floor as I rush through trying things on in the mad rush to get to work. Ultimately they would end up stashed at the back of my wardrobe, languishing for all eternity- meaning that a “fashion death” is inevitable; either for my confidence or the clothing siren itself.

My Clothing Siren

Veronika Maine

I love classic pinstripes cut into modern shapes but these Veronika Maine culottes manage to make even their own model look shorter than she really is. What hope do we non-models have?!

There is one key fashion trend that I thought would finish with the end of the warmer season but as we head into Autumn – I can confirm is still going strong – and has become my biggest siren of all: it is, the culotte.

Traditionally culottes are cut at the knee and have wide legs which can make them look a lot like skirts. These days, culottes are increasingly cut just past the knee or down further mid-shin and some of the best styles are high-waisted. However I know that a wide-leg pant that is cut mid-shin – would make me look even shorter which is something I’m not comfortable with! Still though they’re coming in so many great prints and increasingly, widths, that I keep thinking, “maybe… just maybe…”


In the famous Greek myth Odysseus wanted to hear the call of the Sirens so he had his crew tie him to the mast of the boat (while they paddled along with their ears full of beeswax) so that he couldn’t swim to them and die on their rocky shore. Similarly we have some work-arounds for culottes, namely the more they look like a skirt, the more they work. For the more trouser-like variety, it’s important to get the rest of the body looking in proportion so to create the illusion of height you could wear a longer jacket or use a higher heel or you could go the other way and do the crop top over a shirt trick – but as per the Veronika Maine image above, this has varying levels of success and is less friendly to those of us who like our cake and biscuits!

Creative office style with print culottes and coatigen

My Clothing Siren: Gorman culottes, Country Road top, Sirens “coatigen” (!) and Bul shoes.

All in all however I find that the line that the wide leg cuts across the shins is just so height-reducing that there is little that can be done for me such that this is one clothing siren that I will just have to continue to try and ignore.

Do you have any Clothing Sirens that you are trying to not hear?



  1. This is such a great post! I totally hear the siren call from some pieces, a couple of seasons back it was shoulder pads – there were a few high street stores doing very structured dresses and jackets with a shoulder pad which made the clothes look all fierce on the mannequin but sadly made me look and feel like I was channelling an American footballer.

  2. I definitely agree with this one. I just think it will make me look shorter and frumpier than I am already.. x
    Madeleine, The Daily Mark

  3. I love this post! It is so true… I see things and think I love that, but know as soon as I put on it does not look good. Turtle necks are it for me!! I can not wear them at all!
    x Kirsty

  4. I made a pair of culottes out of amazing silk suiting (with an open weave and quite like linen but softer) for my old boss. They were made from a vintage pattern and she’s quite ahead of the time for wanting them since I made them ages ago now! But the vintage ones DO look like skirts and I think that is the key. If they are full and hit at the right point, it will just look like a skirt. Except you can ride your bike in them!
    I am not sure I am convinced that these modern interpretations are actually culottes. To me, they are just wide leg shorts.

    For me – my siren is definitely those high waisted sailor style pants. All the vintage girls love them but the wide leg does not work with the shape of my legs at all as they are not very straight. I have horse-riding ancestry and despite having only been on a horse twice in my life, it seems I am still built for riding them hahah!
    I think I’ll stick to my skirts and dresses! Though I have been contemplating the idea of cigarette pants….

    • Esz, you are so clever! I love following the clothing projects of the gorgeous items that you make!

      “I am not sure I am convinced that these modern interpretations are actually culottes. To me, they are just wide leg shorts.”
      Interesting – you’ve got me thinking about this! I guess I think shorts usually end between the knee and buttock (!) whereas culottes are generally end between the knee and mid-shin. So it’s a spectrum. Shorts are at the shorter end, wide-leg culottes and peddle pushers are somewhere in the middle, cropped trousers (7/8 length) slip in next and trousers are the full-length… phew!

      You would look so chic in cigarette pants. Cute little blouse tucked in and your new Clarks Australia shoes 😉

  5. Oh for sure I fall for that! I think one thing that really sucked me in was “normcore” but I had to convince myself that oversized double denim only looks good because a stunning model is wearing it, and I will just look like the ‘norm’ schlub the look is based on.

    • Yes – NORMCORE!! I confess that I do like doing double denim in shapes that I feel great in but being swathed in the oversized variety would not be so good. Great one!

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