I bought this top about two years ago, right before February fashion week. It felt like sort of an odd indulgence, since it was sleeveless and very spring-oriented and I was heading up to snow in NYC, but I just couldn’t resist. To make it appropriate for winter, I paired it with a leather jacket and earmuffs and boom, suddenly it was fit for freezing New York winter temps. I fell in love, then and there: it proved to me how versatile the right pleated pieces could be, no matter what the temperature or event.
Pleated pieces have been all over the runways for the last few seasons, and I’m curious: Have you worked them into your wardrobe? Pleats can be a little tricky, so I thought I’d post some tips to help you guys tackle this trend.
Mix Textures: You don’t have to limit your pleated pieces to the textures you’d expect, like airy chiffon or silk. Think about incorporating heavyweight fabrics for a totally different take on this trend: in the outfit I’m wearing above, the pleated skirt in this outfit is actually pale pink leather, while the top is an airy, lightweight fabric. Both have great movement and add a ton of visual detail to an otherwise simple outfit.
Simplify Without Bulk: Pleats add a lot of volume to an outfit, which is part of why they’re so fun. But if you’re nervous about pulling off a lot of fabric, pair a pleated skirt with a slim-fitting, simple top or bottom. The easiest way to dive into this trend is to limit it to about 1/3 of your outfit: try pairing a solid-color boat-neck top with a pleated maxi skirt or a pleated, mega-volume top with skinny jeans and flats.
Streamline Accessories: The biggest risk with pleats is that they end up looking a little schoolgirl-y when done wrong. (Won’t lie; this was a look I was very fond of in high school!) Combat that risk and keep your image grown-up by grabbing a ladylike purse and a bold pair of shoes to minimize the schoolgirl-chic vibe.
Or take the opposite approach: Embrace it! Grab your favorite pair of kitten heels and a white button-down shirt, and you’ve got a chic statement look that’s on trend and adorable.
What are your favorite tricks for wearing pleats this spring?
Photos by Kate Robinson.
For the first few years of my career, I worked at a huge law firm in New York, and it was a pretty incredible experience. I’d never had a full time job before (I went straight from college to law school), and for the first few weeks, I was so nervous and excited that I pretty much held my breath all day long. I was constantly working at a breakneck pace — it was ordinary for me to eat dinner at my desk almost every night, and pretty common for me to collapse into a car home at 2 or 3 a.m., only to get a few hours of sleep and head back to the office.
If that sounds awful… well, it sort of was, and it also sort of wasn’t. I was twenty five and didn’t have much in my life besides work, and Chad’s a lawyer too, so we were pretty much on the same insane schedule. I was excited about the work I was doing (many of those late nights were spent on an incredibly rewarding case, which I wrote about in January) and I really liked the people I worked with. The hours were tough, but those early pedal-to-the-metal years were also kind of fun. Everyone was as intense about their careers as I was, and we all committed to the work that had to get done.
And I also learned a lot.
A lot of what I learned is specific to being a lawyer: how to write a brief and pick a jury, how to prepare a client to be deposed and how to be courteous and professional even when the other side is being completely outrageous. They’re lessons I remember to this day.
But I also learned something else: how to appear confident and professional, even when I was twenty-five and completely terrified that I had no idea what I was doing.
As much as I learned from the work itself, I learned more from the people I worked with. And although I worked with a lot of wonderful male lawyers, truthfully, I paid more attention to the professionalism of the senior-level women I worked with. Law has traditionally been a very male-dominated field, but that’s changed dramatically in the past decade or so (like many industries, of course, it still has a long way to go). One of the tremendous upsides to this shift is that my law firm had a number of female lawyers who were five, ten, and twenty years ahead of me on their own career tracks, and often, they made a special effort to look out for female junior associates.
So I’m going to share one of the tips I got with you guys, one that isn’t specific to law at all. When I was a first year associate, I was sitting in the office of a junior partner, and she was talking about what it’s like to argue in a courtroom filled with men, when sometimes (if not often), you’re the only woman there.
And she filled us in on a little secret. “When I want a boost of confidence,” she told us. “I wear a red suit. I don’t know why, but there’s something about wearing red that always makes me feel strong.”
Wearing red is a small thing, but the small things really matter. When that partner told me about putting on her red suit, she wasn’t saying, “sometimes it’s intimidating to be the only woman in the room.” She was saying: Here’s what I do when I want to feel as good as I can. Here’s a small thing that, for me, makes a difference.
And, you know what? It’s good advice. When I’m getting ready for anything from a big meeting to an oral argument, I make an extra effort to dress in a way that boosts my confidence. So in honor of that piece of advice I got years ago, I’m sharing this Workweek Chic outfit today.
My own confidence-boosting red dress.
And, hey, if you’re on the fence about red in your industry, I have an easy workaround. There’s a reason Louboutins have a red sole!
Tags: style · work
You know one thing that I really miss about New York?
It wasn’t always the most glamorous way to get around, but man, the New York subway was a huge melting pot of people, schedules, sections of the city, and just about anything else you can imagine. Chad and I had about a half hour commute because we were going from the West Village to our law firms in Midtown, and when we first moved in together, we used to split the morning paper between the two of us. (I’d get Fashion & Style, Arts, Opinion, and Travel, and he’d get World News, Business and the Front Page section. I promise, our news is much less divided along gender stereotypes now.)
Our subway ride wasn’t a local train with lots of stops and law firms have slightly different hours than many businesses (a regular day often started at 10 a.m. but ended with emails at midnight or later), so our subway rides weren’t particularly crowded. And, you know what? It was a nice way to start the day. Even though commuting by car is a lot easier, sometimes I still miss the subway.
So, when my new photographer suggested a shoot on Houston’s Metro, I thought it was a great idea! Houston has a long way to go before public transportation is widely used, but it’s making some important early strides. The stop nearest to our house is in the Medical Center, so that’s where we ventured to for these photos — and I love them!
What’s your morning commute? Do you take a subway, car, train, or bus? (Buses get a bad rep, but I actually liked NYC buses a lot, too!)
Alice and Olivia dress, Nordstrom jacket, Stripes and Sequins x BaubleBar necklace, Rachel Leigh cuff bracelet, SHOEMINT heels.
Photos by Banks Farley.