“I can’t wear pleats!” As much as I love the uber fem look of a pleated skirt, I’ve had that motto ever since I grew a pair of hips (at around 18). I like to call my shape upper-half-Twiggy-lower-half-Jennifer-Lopez. Since I avoid too-billowy-anything on my lower half, I’ve steered clear of pleats…until very recently.
With the old school pleated skirts, a more flattering style (which doesn’t add unwanted volume) has pleats stitched down at the waist. As a ladylike classic, I love the way the woman pictured below combines it with a relatively simple dark-colored tee and casual, stylish flatforms.
For those of slender thigh and hip, the traditional pleat never looked better, especially with a neutral or black somewhat-fitted top and understated footwear. The eye is immediately drawn to pleats. And so it is generally a good idea to stay away from too much detail in other parts of one’s ensemble unless you have the coordinating skills of Katy Atlas.
Many modern pleated garments have movement. Fabrics include silk, chiffon, and other wonderfully flowing things which treat curves in a more natural fashion. Sometimes, as in the example to the right (below), the pleats virtually disappear.
When it comes to coordinating with pleats, our next two Milanese muses demonstrate style to the nth degree. Notice on the left, a clever mix of contrasts. She combines evening (black sequined top) with her day-appropriate, pink pleated skirt. To the right, our paparazzo muse smartly combines opposites as well. Love the ladylike black pleated maxi skirt with an androgynous black tank and red Chucks!
And finally, I want to share a photo of a pleated dress I found in Milan which does not accentuate my hips – woohoo! – and which allows me that longed-after ladylike air. The pleats of the skirt softly follow my curves without bulking up my silhouette. Who would have known pleats would come this far?!
Have you given up on pleats? If you are very slender, you can definitely have fun with any kind of pleat. If you’re curvier on the bottom like me, you might be pleasantly surprised by trying a softer pleat. Enjoy!