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Pleats….no longer for church ladies

Updated: Aug 14, 2018

(Elizabeth Taylor Circa 1950)

As a little girl I fondly remember waking up each Sunday with great anticipation to get dressed for church, because at our church there was a certain “dress code” or expectation applied to our Sunday attire choices. Several sayings spring up in my mind such as, “dress to impress”, “putting on your Sunday best” and “dressed to the nines”. Each Sunday was a runway fashion show staring ME! I could put on my most fabulous dress shoes and jewelry and strut my stuff down the church aisle. The only thing missing was the paparazzi snapping my photo. I would often have my mum (my name for my mom) perform hair surgery giving me the latest hairdo I had lifted from the pages of Seventeen magazine. I never once doubted my mum's ability or skill set to accomplish my request, she was like the sensei of hair. My mum did them all, French braid, dual French braids, the upside down French braid (one of my own creations), French roll, fishtail and the list goes on and on. A little side note, my mum still does my hair for special occasions including my wedding last year to my adorable husband Chris. She also did the hair of my wedding party as well.

As a young girl one of my favorite outfits was a purple sweater and grey pleated skirt. I loved the delicate folds of the fabric and the way it swayed when I moved side to side. It was so feminine and lady-like just like me.

Did you know pleats actually date as far back as the 15th century! They were used on men and women’s skirts and sleeves. The type of pleating was referred to as cartridge and was styled in such a way to allow the fabric to “spring out” from the seam. According to Wikipedia there are twelve different types of pleats……who knew! However, box and knife pleats are most the commonly used pleats in today’s fashion.

What I love most about pleated skirts is that the design adds ‘fullness’ to the waist and hip area and creates a sense of freedom in its movement. At the same time pleats can also minimize our lower half, drawing attention away from areas that we might not be especially willing to celebrate about our bodies. Some of us women, like me, may have more ‘junk in the trunk’ than others, but the delicate folds of a pleated skirt neutralizes that. In my opinion pleated skirts work on most body types.

As a woman who loves to push fashion to its limits and places her own spin on everything, why not pleats. I like to pair my pleated skirt with a leather top, patent leather heels and a matching clutch. (My five-year-old self would high five me for my patent leather choice). I am still my feminine self though, but with a twist. Leather is no longer reserved for bikers and dominatrixes, it can also be for every day ladies like me. By blending pleats, leather and heels I elevate the look to a place that exudes the feminine quality I desire.

In fashion we don’t necessarily need to re-create an already great look but rather add some spice and other ingredients to bring it forward into the 21st century. I was

absolutely thrilled when in my thrifting adventures I stumbled onto a pleated leather dress created by J. Crew. By using ivory as the top color your attention is really drawn into those awesome pleats. I stand up and applaud the designer for stretching our church lady pleats into our every day ‘wearing it like a lady boss’ pleats!

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