I know most of you are eagerly anticipating spring, but for me down here in Johannesburg, the beginning of your spring signals the start of my autumn. Dull, dreary weather starts here, not to mention boring clothing. A lot of people love winter shopping, (coats! boots! layers!) but not me. Give me a little sundress over claustrophobia-inducing heavy clothing any day. I can’t with the bra, plus vest, plus shirt, plus jacket, plus scarf. Let me breathe!
I have been particularly excited by the spring 2014 trends even though I won't get to enjoy them for another six months. One of my favourites is the pleated skirt, as seen on the runways at Proenza Schouler, Givenchy and Chloé. When you hear the word "pleats," you might associate it with a schoolgirl skirt, (I had a navy blue one for my primary school uniform) but pleated skirts don’t necessarily have to be girlish, unless that's what you're going for. Try them in feminine, flowing fabrics, like chiffon and silk for a more grown-up twist.
As much as I like pleats, they can be a bit tricky to pull off. Pleats create volume, and if worn the wrong way, it can make you appear disproportionately bigger. Luckily, this is totally avoidable, using styling sorcery and choosing the right kind of pleat for you. Do I sound like an infomercial? I totally don’t mean to sound like an infomercial.
The most difficult kind of pleat to pull off (which is, of course, the pleat that dominated the runways) is the accordion pleat, which creates the most volume. A lot of the pleated skirts for spring are midi, which is also a difficult silhouette. We’re entering into double-trouble territory here. But you can do it!
When you're wearing accordion pleats, make sure to accentuate your waist. Wear your skirt where the slimmest part of your waist is and highlight the waistband with a belt. The most valuable tip when wearing a pleated skirt is to tuck your shirt in, no matter what your body shape is. If you don’t tuck it, you run the risk of looking boxy and shapeless. If you really don't want to tuck, a cropped top is a great alternative, so that your waist is still there for all to see. Unless having a waist is undesirable in your culture, in which case I’m sorry for trying to force it on you.
If you’d rather stay away from the accordion pleat, go with box pleats -- they're much more universally flattering. Nevertheless, you should still make sure to show off your waist with a belt or a tucked-in shirt.
I can't wait to really get in on this trend! I just need to get through the gloomy winter ahead. At least in South Africa, where it basically never snows, I won’t have polar vortex-scale climates to deal with. I hope.
I’ll bookmark these shoppables to keep me warm in the meantime: