Sunday, January 19

In the Fold

Jill Stuart

Pleats are a huge trend this season as they have moved far beyond the realm of schoolgirl uniforms to more sophisticated staples.  Pleated skirts and dresses have traditionally had a bad reputation for being unflattering on many body types, making the wearer look dowdy or frumpy.  But the truth is, anyone can pull off this style -- all you need to do is play a little dress up and find the length that best suits your body.  Not only do these pieces nod to the season's feminine trend, there’s a pleat to please everyone, ranging from precise knife pleats for a preppy vibe to petite folds for those with more ladylike sensibilities.  Ready to pick your pleat? 

How to Wear Pleats in the Winter vs. Spring/Summer

The main difference for winter is how you style your pleats. Here are some tips for colder weather dressing:
  • Pair a vibrant pleat maxi-dress with socks or tights and heels, and some cozy layers on top. Having your soft, pleated gown flowing out from under a coat or jacket is simple yet effective.
  • Play it down in a rock-chic pair of boots instead of heels.
  • Mix styles for contrasts, like the dreamiest of pleated skirts with a bohemian fur or a tough biker jacket.
  • Pleats act as a spotlight on your figure, drawing attention wherever they are.  So it's best to avoid wearing them over areas you don't want to accentuate. Note: If hips are your problem area, accordion pleats in a flowy fabric glide over hips without adding bulk.

Swing into winter with pretty pleated skirts and dresses, and fun flippy minis.  Paired with booties and bright white bags, these pieces will help you beat those winter doldrums.  Opt for a pleated leather skirt.  Leather ensures the style is more sophisticated than school girl and can be paired with sweaters, blazers and shirts.



Knife pleats are single pleats that all go in the same direction; sunray or sunburst pleats are knife pleats that are cut to start smaller and get wider towards the bottom, creating a flared-out effect. Long, flowing knife-pleated dresses in light fabrics dominated the fall/winter runways. This easy trend is definitely worth adopting as the dresses are universally flattering, timeless and versatile. Plus, they're way easier to walk in than non-pleated long dresses, which can be annoyingly restricting.

When looking for a statement, pleated item I tip my hat towards dresses. In particular, the maxi dress and the very-on-trend sheer maxi dress. If a pleated maxi dress isn’t your thing, look then to midi and knee-length dresses.

Bouchra Jarrar

Barbara Casasola
Tory Burch


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