The confusing thing about SKIRTS this year, is that there are no rules about length and many mixed messages about volume too; Tight and shiny? Sheer and floaty? Short and flirty? But this is actually great news, because it means we can pick almost any shape we like, to suit our body shape and we’ll still be in style! So whether it’s mini, midi, maxi, tight… denim, tulle, silk… or whatever, we just have to get the styling right to nail the trends. For instance, TULLE is BIG (in more ways than one, of course) and the ballerina skirt will be fabulous for winter with ankle boots, or an outrageous pair of shoes, flashy jewels and a crew neck sweater, and then pretty in spring next year too, paired with sporty trimmings like a pair of sneaks, a logoed t-shirt and denim jacket. But today I’m looking at PLEATS – mainly because I have ‘pleat envy’ from browsing instagram and seeing my friend’s stunning pleated silver trousers and also because I want to wear my pleated rainbow hippy skirt today, without looking like a fairy on acid. Above: The silver trousers in question….
The luxury brands including Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel, Givenchy , Gucci and Christopher Kane have all featured pleats in their collections – and the pleat and origami masters did not disappoint their fans either; Issey Miyake, with kaleidoscopic, bright colour blocks and layers of geometric zigzags, checker boards, stripes and artistic prints and Azzedine Alaia, with metallics, stripes, knits, lurex – and Naomi Campbell!
Naomi Cambell walking for her ‘Papa’ Azzedine Alaia
So, during a morning well spent, drinking coffee, eating toast and searching the net for inspiration and ebay for vintage Miyake and Gucci, I’ve come across some gems on the high street too, including a Gold lurex midi from Zara and Topshop’s ‘Awkward Length Trousers’ that come in versatile black, silver (like my friend’s pair) and pink crushed velvet folds; Freepeople is having a pleat-fest with dresses, skirts, trousers, blouses and scrunchies and more; and Mango’s elegant and voluminous extra long chiffon pleated pants are just screaming out for a chunky sweater and silver slippers for Christmas day! And I have posted a few of my favourite Instagram and Pinterest finds here too.
With so much metallic, shimmery goodies on offer, it would be a shame to ‘save it for best’ and anyway, mixing sportswear like a sweatshirt or a varsity jacket (bomber or baseball jacket) and trainers with typically feminine shapes and evening wear is a far cooler look right now.
From @tallulah_mae_sa ; @liketoknowit and Cythia Pastor @sin60style
Warning: These sporty combinations work equally well with both pleated trousers and skirts, but go careful with short pleated skirts paired with a loose varsity jacket or sweatshirt as they both have a knicker-revealing capacity for catching the fabric at the back while you walk! A better jacket option now would be a blazer, which you can length match with your mini skirt, or a short leather biker instead.
Keep sharp pleats businesslike with a crisp white shirt, smart brogues (and socks) and a matching belt to bring it together, then stick on your trusty blazer, channel Victoria Beckham and get down to some serious work. Keep it classy San Diego.
Victoria Beckham leather pleat skirt (swoon)
A midi length looks fresh, feminine and funky and is a great way to showcase your legs and pretty new shoes and socks, but it can be a bit ‘stunting’, so if you want to add some length, go high waisted and match it with either a cropped, or neatly tucked top and a short jacket (have a look at the Freepeople ‘Sundown Set’ below) and unless you have gazelle like legs, go for a heel, or neat tennis shoe like a Stan Smith rather than an ankle boot. Or if (for the sake of fashion) you really want to wear a midi, but it cuts your leg off at it’s chunkiest point – look for a midi which buttons through, then you can unbutton up to above the knee, to reveal a bit more leg.
Sundown Skirt Set from Freepeople – comes in tonnes of colours and prints too!
Gold Midi Skirt from Zara
TEXTURES AND LAYERS
Autumn and Winter fashion is all about textures and luxurious fabrics and ‘oversized’ is by far one of the biggest trends, so I’m on the hunt for a beautiful and big, soft knit like the one in Maria Bernad’s insta pic below, to layer over everything. It works especially well with a delicate skirt like hers for a romantic, feminine daytime look and will be great with jeans and slouchy boots or a PVC leggings too.
Pictures from left to right; glossy lurex and a toned-down knit from Topshop; Perfect balance of sweater texture and length to accentuate lovely curves on Pinterest; and Maria Bernad styling up a romantic daydream of an outfit on Instagram.
The easiest way to wear a pleated skirt, (for most figures) is to go for a soft and flared shape, in a delicate fabric like chiffon or silk; This shape is also the most flattering for a pear shaped body, as the chiffon layers skim gently over the hips and bum, rather than clinging and by making the most of your waist and shoulders, you can create a nice hourglass silhouette by going shorter with your sweater or by slipping a belt over the top of a long knit.
I have a fantastic black vintage Ungaro razor pleat skirt; it’s long, lightweight and incredibly chic, but because of the stretchy weave and slim fit it really accentuates my curves (I call it the mermaid skirt) so I only wear it when I’m feeling extra confident, but I’m looking forward to styling it with that big soft jumper when I find it and some big, sculptural earrings.
And for EVENING?
Les Pleats, C’est Chic!
Les Pleats, C’est Chic!
From Instagram accounts @ladysoswag (check out her account for myriad colours, bold and super styling, scarf and headwrap inspiration and general fashion joy to the eyeballs) and divine movement in dusky pink and shimmer from the @modaoperandi feed