It’s often the way with fashion that us plebs can’t afford to buy into the trends that we like straight away, and so eye up what we want for a season or so. Pleated waist skirts were big last year, and I lusted after the emerald green shade in Whistles, hoping it would go in the sale. After finally getting my own electric blue version from Pret A Portobello for Christmas, I was very glad to see that pleats – and maxi skirts – have carried through into the new season, with the Art Deco draping featuring in the Givenchy Spring/Summer ’12 collection and pleats playing their part in the Chanel couture show. When money is tight, trends with longevity are just what we need.
The maxi skirt is a way of life. It immediately makes you feel like you’re wearing something from the dressing up box (in the most fun sense, not in an embarrassing way), as if you’re from any era except your own. It makes you feel feminine, queenly even – although tripping up the escalator in the London Underground is not particularly conducive to lady-like thoughts, it must be said. Once you start, maxis can become addictive. (And I’ve always thought it was a total lie that only tall girls can wear them. Short girls look wonderful in long skirts too.)
This particular style is a revival of a late 1930s/early 1940s model, brought back in the 1970s for the Annie Hall, bluestocking type girls. Katharine Hepburn wore a skirt like this in the film, The Philadelphia Story in 1940. There’s something very can-do, a kind of elegant feminism about the style, and I think this is a large part of its enduring popularity. I’ve now got my sights set on this lovely pleated dress from ASOS. This is definitely a new obsession.