If you attended private school, you will forever associate pleats with short tartan skirts that made your bare legs itch like crazy once spring hit. It took a very long time for me to shake this memory and begin incorporating pleats into my adult wardrobe, but once I did, I found they can look magical!
If you're on the fence about trying this super fall trend -- which has popped up on major runways the last few seasons and still proved a hit this fall at Jason Wu, Chloe, and Stella McCartney -- here are a few hints on how to wear pleats and not look like a pig-tailed schoolgirl, along with fashion inspiration.
A pleated skirt can be very flattering to all body types because it glides with the body. If you choose to wear one, avoid pairing it with boots, unless you're going for an Empire Records-retro '90s look. You'll probably find that heels, rather than flats, really complement pleats. Make sure the hem is no more than one inch above the knee to avoid looking like a young Britney Spears. Or make your look really of-the-moment and go even longer with a midi skirt or pleated maxi.
Tuck a pretty blouse or tee into your pleated skirt so that you highlight the waistband, which avoids a frumpy look.
Remember that there are different kinds of pleats and each performs its own brand of body magic. If you're self-conscious about your bottom, stay away from voluminous pleats and stick with stitched-down pleats.
Look for pleated skirts in dresses made from grown-up materials like real or faux leather and classic wool. All the better if your skirt is a color that would have been banned at your school.
Don't limit yourself to just pleated skirts. There are so many sweet tops, formal dresses, and even shoes and coats with pleats that it's easy to dig into this trend even if you can't bring yourself to try an accordion-pleated skirt.
For more fashion inspiration, check out the slideshow.
Will you be wearing pleats this season?
Image via Asos.com
The real trick to making a pleated skirt work after age 17 is to drop the hemline, and choose one in a grown-up material like real or faux leather.
Mini Pleat Faux Leather Skirt ($46) by Miss Selfridge