Whenever a vintage style is made modern (that is, you can get away with it without looking like you have an identity crisis), that’s a big plus. Arguably all of fashion today has been influenced by something from a bygone era, and it’s only slightly painful that the 90s is officially considered vintage anyway… But that’s beside the point. Pleats come around every spring, but I’m still seeing them on the racks in ways that scream bridesmaid of the 90s. Just a small step away from full-on cap sleeve and rosette neckline 90s, really.
But then there are the modern fits. Yes, they require some digging (in this case through the spring lookbooks of excessive online shops), but there are plenty of ways to pull off the pleat with grace and tact, and without the ruffles that could swallow you whole. Shall we?
The Graphic Pleat
Wear ‘em like you mean ‘em. These bold pleated skirts COULD easily mirror some regrettable wedding photos if it weren’t for two things: structure and balance. I figured the whole oversized scuba skirt trend would go out of style just as quickly as it came, but it actually allows for a opportunity for a sculpted effect, given the weight of the fabric. And the balance? That comes in with the top and the shoe choice. Don’t go clunky with shoes – think delicate strappy heels or a modern pump, and maybe try just topping the whole ensemble off with a white tee, partially tucked.
The Romantic Pleat
Perhaps this is where it’s easiest to go wrong. There are plenty of occasions one would go for a feminine vibe (that aren’t her best friend’s wedding day), so you might want something soft and flowing. Here it’s all about the fit. If going for a pleated blouse, it’s a cinch (sorry) to end up with something you’d wear on a first day to an office job with an unclear dress code. Vintage style secretary blouses with those infamous pussy-bows can do that to ya. But when they fit right (and are preferably 100% silk), they’re your pencil skirt’s sophisticated best friend. As far as a dress like this, be conscious of the length and draping – these types of dresses can easily come off as anything but feminine.
The Not So Pleated Pleat
The pleat for the modern girl. Graphic, feminine, dressy – do all these pleated skirt options just look too frilly and dated still? Pleated folds can actually enhance the jumpsuit – the modern one, not the 80s one – to give it a little more movement. And lastly – the single pleat. As far as tailored pants and shorts (!), a single well-placed pleat takes the modernity factor up about ten notches, and is more than appropriate for a number of occasions, except maybe the bridal party of your less than stylish friend.
There you have it… Pleats without the cheese. Shop any of the pieces above by clicking on the photo.