Thursday, 31 March 2011

Slowly Converting to Granny Chic - Send Help

[Image credits: All image composition and collaging by me. Original photos: American Apparel sheer chiffon skirts; Topshop midi skirt; Jil Sander SS/11 catwalk shot from; original brick wall photograph taken from].

When I heard last year that longer skirt lengths were going to be everywhere, I will freely admit that I was worried. Maxi skirts conjour up horrendous mental images of 'boho chic', 'hippy weirdo', 'Victorian schoolmarm' or 'hiding shit legs and potential varicose veins'. I also like to go against the grain a bit and deliberately avoid the things that others are opting for, so I was pretty convinced that my ever-growing stash of mini-skirts would be as well used as in previous seasons.

Then came the bombshell: Jil Sander's catwalk display of brightly coloured fabric with a slash at the thigh, teamed not with a frumpy ribbed vest top or beads that purport to be from a Thai beach resort, but with a simple white t-shirt. There was peony or a sort of sickly faded lime that somehow worked, and I was gripped. When Tilda Swinton took the ensemble to the red carpet, critics and fashionistas had one of those Marmite moments, either proclaiming Tilda to be a genius dresser or a raving loon. I prefer the former. It takes guts to wear something like this. Unable to find anything resembling a Sander skirt on the high street, I moved into a sheer black petticoat sourced from the Traid shop in Camden for £3. It looks like something you'd find at a Goth wedding, and I am completely in love, teaming it with leggings, a dress or another underskirt and some chunky black boots. But somehow I still yearn for that screaming blast of colour, which is a craving that black just cannot satisfy.

The alternatives are seen above:

American Apparel's sheer skirts are available in both single or double layers, though they will set you back an extortionate £46-£52. To its advantage, the colour palette is varied, and you can strut around in bottle green, mustard, navy or wine, amongst other hues. If you're a crafty person, I'd advise making your own from some cheap chiffon or sarong fabric, elastic and thread (I might have a go, if I can brave a sewing machine again). I paired two different shades in the image above, and it would look pretty cool to do this in real life, though it would be quite fiddly.

Topshop has released a fantastic pink and blue skirt, but sadly in only a mid-knee length, which is out of bounds to anyone who is petite or in possession of thick calves. I'm 5'7 and skirts of this stature make me look about 3'4, so I tend to avoid them. This beauty will cost you £32, so it isn't exactly an ideal price for such a tricky overall silhouette, and it wouldn't look as edgy if it was converted to sit on the knees. Despite the drawbacks, it would be a great look to pull off with a baggy t-shirt or a Fred Perry-esque polo.

So am I converted? I'm getting there. I didn't want to like the longer length and I didn't expect to, but Jil Sander showed that there's certainly more than one way to wear a garment. And no hippies in sight...

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