Are Gauchos A No No? What About Chef-chos?

The Gaucho Tradition

I have a gap in my existing wardrobe.  I don’t have many clothes I can wear in public except nice work clothes.  I can “tone down” many work separates by mixing them with more relaxed clothing, but after a recent wardrobe cull I realized I need more casual pieces.  Most of my “not nice work clothes” have paint, bleach, worn out seams or are a weird half-wearable muslin from a failed design experiment.

That’s the point of my current wardrobe project– a collection of “nice casual” clothes with a few dressy pieces thrown in for fun.  Color, durability, and comfort trump any other considerations for this project.

Both of these fabrics sit on my cutting table, sliced to pieces and waiting for the needle.   I’m working with houndstooth, again!  This is a high-quality polyester and cotton blend, as far as I can tell from burn tests.  When my husband saw the fabric he said “Chef Pants.”

Not bad, but I had to think about the concept for a while: “Chef pants but not actually chef pants…”

Image from very useful style post on pants

I love wearing 1940’s style wide-leg trousers in the summer for a whole raft of reasons- so I decided to make 1930’s style gauchos.  The style works for me. I have a small child, which means I need to be able to get down on the ground without pulling my clothes out of shape or showing my rear.

I cut my new “chef-chos” and a red batik “Not-A-Tshirt” today.  The top is based on Burda 08-2009-117 without the ruffle- just a front and back.  No darts, no closure, no sleeves.  I thought the simple, comfortable cut would showcase the batik best.

I keep eyeing the two fabrics on my counter- I’m itching to sew them up.  First thing in the morning, I’m racing out to buy a new iron!

I’m interested to know if gauchos are currently “permitted,” and if anyone would like me to show how I drafted mine?  I used the width from some 30’s palazzo pants, and the hip-waist-crotch fit from my sloper.  Slanting front pockets, back zip, hip yoke.


  1. I seem to like gauchos on other people, but I’m not so keen on them for me. It doesn’t feel as flattering as a skirt for some reason. I can’t say I have tried many on, so it could just be I haven’t found ones with the right fit/proportions. Until I have a better idea of how I want the end product to look, I’m not likely to sew it for myself.

    That said, I can see why you are excited to get going on the project. I think the fabrics are fun choices. I love the batik.

    • I think you’re on to something…. I tend to work off the assumption that most people can “pull off” most cuts of clothing as long as it fits, is in proportion, well-made and comfortable. In colors appropriate for the person…

      The batik glows… I can’t stop looking at it..

  2. You know what? I’ve never really considered this, but I think that I am gaucho friendly. I like them with boots, maye a little ballet flat. Work that gaucho in good conscience- I think you are on to something.

  3. I love gauchos. They can be dressy or very casual and most tops work with them, boots, ballets, etc. I hope you’ll post more pics and ideas!

  4. Why not? It seems that a lot of fashions from the late 70’s (that were inspired by the 1930s) are being revived, so why not gauchos? All that matters is the fabric, the styling and your attitude, all of which you have in spades.

  5. As long as your gaucho pants are more comfortable than my chef’s pants I would love to know how to draft them. They only make chef’s pants for men so I have to buy a massive size for my hips and then the crotch comes up higher than an empire line dress. Thankfully they have a drawstring. so they don’t fall down too badly. AlI l of my female students hate them too! Your houndstooth gaucho pants should look gorgeous though!

  6. My brother is a chef. Where he works, they wear the wackiest pairs of pants, not just houndstooth. I made him a pair of onion pants last Christmas.
    I think you can definitely do gauchos. I’ve never tried them out, but I’ve seen people wearing them around with boots. I like the look.

    • I don’t know there is a difference… To me, “culottes” conjures up comfy frumpy skirt-like clothing from my childhood… What’s in a word?

  7. Ooh, I love those pants! I look forward to hearing what kind of iron you get. I did lots of research for my current one but am still unhappy with it. So glad to have rediscovered your blog, I think I got lost in the changeover (kept getting an error saying it no longer existed).

  8. I like gauchos, I just never wear them. Not sure why – other than the fact that you can’t buy them and I just don’t have the time to sew for myself! I did buy find a 1940s pattern for them, so maybe I should consider it.

    I’m looking forward to seeing these in action myself!

  9. I love gauchos! I have two pairs of knit gauchos that I wear for sleep/loungewear, but I’d definitely be interested in seeing how you drafted these for a woven fabric. Also, that batik is yummy.

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  13. The garment in the picture on the Simplicity pattern envelope is a Split Skirt AKA culottes. Gaucho pants are wide leg short pants… there is a difference.

    • Thank you for letting me know… I’m curious- what is the difference? Is it in the method they’re drafted? The fabric used? The way they’re worn? Spelling? :) Quite curious, I do feel it is important to use precise language wherever possible…

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