Wednesday, 12 October 2011

FW11 trends | Length & leather

Stella McCartney's layered-slit skirt (Photo:

After pants and denim, it's time to talk about skirts. In the past few years, while the world of denim has been taken over by the skinny cut, it has been the reign of the pencil skirt. Perhaps due to the return to a ladylike elegance (which continues strong this season not just for skirt, but as a more general style philosophy) or to the fact that it is difficult to get a pencil skirt wrong, here we are still talking about the latest update to this trend.

As far as length is concerned, a couple of inches above or below the knee are the most common styles even this season. Yet, continuing with SS11, longer skirts that hit at the ankle or a bit above have been popping up here and there, especially at ChloƩ. Here are my two cents about this trend: unless you are tall or you wear high heels, longer skirts will make you look like a dwarf. Rather, if you do not have a pencil skirt, go out and get one! It is practical, elegant, fashionable, you name it.

The newest style you may want to consider if you do is the layered-slit skirt. I have tried a version of the one by Stella McCartney pictured above (which had two lateral slits rather than a central one) and it did not fit me well, since the layered fabric is a bit thick and the slits were opening in an unnatural way. I am still looking for the one in the picture, but if I were back in Canada I would probably try to hunt down this one by Elie Tahari, which seems made of a thinner material and is much cheaper!

If you want to make a good investment, I would privilege an old classic: leather. Leather is always in fashion for the fall and the spring because it is one of the best transitional materials. Leather is not cheap though. A designer leather skirt will cost at least 1500 USD (Neiman Marcus is selling  a Ralph Lauren one for almost 2500 USD), and there is no limit for the cost of a leather jacket or, worse, a dress or a trench. Besides the price, I would also feel uncomfortable wearing "too much" leather. Even if I have been obsessed with a leather dress since Angelina Jolie wore her Michael Kors sheath at the Inglorious Basterds premiere in 2009, I would not see myself dropping my son off at school or showing up at the office in such an outfit.

I find that a skirt maybe the best choice to embrace the leather trend, followed closely by a jacket. From my experience, research is key. What you need to look for is leather that is thin and soft, and that does not fall much differently than regular fabric. Cheap leather will look just, well, cheap. I went on this expedition precisely a couple of years ago and it took me a while to find something I actually liked. The price tag attached to this Elie Tahari's find, 600$, made me think about it for at least two weeks. Then, taking advantage of a sale event, I got it and never regretted it. I have worn it countless times, and it is still perfectly. It makes me feel sassy but it is still appropriate for taking my son to school, and I can wear it in any season!

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