I recently attended a party in the Hollywood Hills and was cornered by a pack of LA fashionistas who wanted to know what I thought was the most egregious fashion faux pas. Without hesitating, I replied that warm weather breeds all sorts of crimes against fashion, but – in my humble opinion – wearing gym clothes as fashion is the worst. I understand just stopping into the grocery still wearing what you wore to Pilates class. I’m talking about women who clearly dress for the day in workout clothes with no intention of working out at any point in their day – with full ‘After Six’ makeup, no less. Who decreed that smoky eyes go with a sports bra and tights? My audience was less than amused.
They were even less amused when I went on a tirade about the utter ignorance of LA women with regard to the “Courtesy Skirt”. In fact, their response was “a what skirt?” I mean – how does one even respond? I patiently explained that a courtesy skirt is a bit of fabric, as stylish as you like, that one wears over tights so as not to overexpose oneself or offend innocent bystanders. Granted my fashion sensibilities seem to grow more Edwardian with each new season of Downton Abbey, but there is something to be said for a degree of modesty, even here in the land of porn stars and third wives.
So, I got to thinking about early delivery spring skirts popping up like the first crocuses of spring breaking through the snow and ice. What would the best looking harbingers of spring be? Brightly pattered miniskirts over your toasty black cashmere footless tights from Fogal or Wolford, of course! I shouldn’t have to say this at this point but for my purposes a Mini is 4 inches or more above the knee – not at or above the equator!
Phillip Lim brings his high concept fashion to another stratosphere this season by blending art and architecture into high fashion. His asymmetrically tiered mini is art in motion with a deconstructed nod to the famed Cannage pattern of the House of Dior. Order yours before it’s too late!
Asymmetric skirts are huge this season and there is no shortage of options, but Ohne Titel’s printed mesh mini is one of my favorites. It melds a bit on Mondrian with the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party – literally turning strict symmetry on its ear. It also feels a bit like high fashion armor. You’ll be a knockout in this wherever you go.
If your taste is more MOMA (or MOCA) than Met (or LACMA), then Vince’s brushstroke print skirt is for you. The pleats add a bit of motion to the design bringing it to full life despite its spare color palate. Museum quality fashion at its finest!
Stella McCartney’s black mini with embroidered appliqués is the embodiment of this idea of spring flowers peeking through the snow. I love the simplicity of a few bright flowers crushing the tyranny of winter’s all black uniforms. Break out from the pack and embrace the coming season!
For anyone who has attended a Milly show and seen the clothes in motion, you know that her skirts are some of the best in the land. Her tropical print mesh mini is like a much needed vacation from winter – just like escaping the snow and ice and dashing off to Art Deco week in Miami. Who says that only the French can make a flirty feminine skirt? Oh wait – that was me… Carry on!
So, the moral here, dear fashion friends, is that a courtesy skirt doesn’t have to be just for other people. It can brighten your day, make you feel feminine, and even empower you. Why not add a layer to your fashion armor and fight fashion fatigue wherever you go?
FASHION TIP: Run a dryer sheet over your tights before you layer on your skirt to prevent static buildup and cling. The whole point of a Courtesy Skirt is to add a bit of modesty. It doesn’t work if your hem is stuck to your waistband!
– Joseph Ungoco
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Tags: 3.1 Phillip Lim, Asymmetric skirts, black cashmere, Courtesy Skirt, embroidered appliques, fashion faux pas, fashion tips, Fogal, footless tights, How to wear a Mini, Joseph Ungoco, male box, mesh mini, Milly, mini skirt, pleated skirt, Short Skirts, Skirts with Tights, Spring Skirts, static cling, Stella McCartney, tropical print, Vince, Woolford