History of the A-line skirt

History of the A-line skirt

With a silhouette that flares gradually from the hips to the hemline – however low it may fall — the A-line skirt is a modest fashion choice that flatters almost every figure.  With such obvious advantages, you might think that the A-line has been around forever.  But while maxi-length flared skirts were standard Edwardian era and made a comeback in the midi- and knee-length skirts of the 1930s and 40s, you may be interested to know that the A-line owes its name to the famous French fashion designer Christian Dior, who made it the centerpiece of his Spring Collection in 1955.

Dior’s A-line was a very specific: a flaring skirt topped by a smooth waistline and leading up to narrow shoulders. Dior was famous for dressing his models in chic little jackets, and his signature A-line outfit followed along these lines, with a small-shouldered jacket which flared slightly at the hip, and covered an even-more-widely flaring skirt.

In 1958 Yves Saint Laurent introduced a variation on the Dior A-line look, which he called his “Trapeze” line.  Maintaining Dior’s wide shoulder-to-hemline flare, this collection skimmed past the waist without defining it, creating dresses that – looked at with a modern eye – seem like a comical meeting point between high fashion and maternity wear!

Yves Saint Laurent’s dramatic “Trapese” dresses did not have much impact on the popular market, but soon, less extreme A-line skirts and dresses were everywhere – an on everyone.

1958-trapese-2-yves-saint-laurent

A-line skirts are still a popular choice for modern women looking for modest, yet fashionable wardrobe staples – no matter what their body type. With a waist defined by darts or seams, the A-line skirt falls gently over the hips, making it flattering for large-hipped women whose contours are balanced out by the wide hemline.  Women who have top-heavy figures like how A-line designs de-emphasize their upper body, suggesting more of an hourglass shape.   Finally, slim, small-hipped women also benefit from the A-line look, which adds a touch of curvaceous definition, without giving up on modesty.

Denim Skirts – Because Basic is Beautiful

Denim Skirts – Because Basic is Beautiful

Classic, casual and oh-so comfortable. For me, denim skirts are a wardrobe staple. Not only do they get me out of the house in the morning – looking good – denim skirts get me through the day with style that can be dialed up or down, depending on the occasion.

Button-Front Knee Length Jean Skirt for Women

1805-Stonewashed Blue

Notice that I said denim “skirts”, meaning more than one. While some people might dismiss denim skirts as just Levis without the legs, there’s actually a wide range of denim skirt styles out there.

So don’t settle. Instead of choosing just a “generic” denim skirt, make the most of this fashion essential by shopping for designs that look best on your body, and fit your individual fashion style.

Classic Details – Or Not

The classic blue denim work pants created by Levi Strauss have become a symbol of America, and also create a classic template from which to launch your own fashion statement. Pair it with anything from a t-shirt to a cashmere turtleneck, choose an eye-catching belt or let your top skim over the waistband, and you’re in business.

Some women prefer a smooth, pocket-free look, and in this department, denim skirts can also fit the bill. A hidden zipper on the side or in the center of the back make this type of denim skirt the basis of a casual, yet elegant silhouette.

Beyond Blue, Beyond Denim

Denim skirt materials vary, and you can make the most of your outfit by choosing the one that works for you. Heavy denim can be “doctored” with a touch of spandex, or replaced altogether with a stretch twill that provides the denim skirt look, without the bulk. You can also find denim skirts with full spandex waistbands, designed to be hidden under an un-tucked top.

From light to dark blue, to black, to every color of the rainbow – you can find denim skirt styles that “push the fashion envelope” while still giving you the classic, casual look you adore.

1492-Stonewashed Black Jean Skirt

1492-Stonewashed Black

Special Style Options

If you – or your daughter – want a kicky alternative to classic, try a ruffle denim skirt, or a tiered cut that takes denim to a new and interesting level.

Denim skirts can also be distinctive on the long and short ends of the scale. Some floor-length denim skirts are built from vertical panels that add style, while flattering fuller figures. If you feel comfortable with a higher hemline, a denim skirt’s everyday appeal allows you the option of pairing it with leggings, colorful tights or – especially in winter – a fabulous pair of boots.

In short (or in long) – denim skirts help you make the most out of what’s already in your closet, by giving you a flexible jumping-off point for fashion, creativity and fun. Enjoy!

Waist Watchers for Modest Dressers

Waist Watchers for Modest Dressers

As a modest dresser, I insist on sensible coverage. But I also insist on a look that is feminine, not frumpy. My favorite way to approach this challenge is to accentuate the positive – that is, the naturally attractive curve of the female waist.

Let’s be clear here: I’m not talking about waist-whittling undergarments, or fabrics that cling so tight that they leave nothing to the imagination. Whether you’re choosing a skirt, dress or top, a tailored, waist-skimming treatment of your midriff can add dignity, and even a touch of glamour.

Let’s look at some of the options.

ruched waist skirt 1464 with text1

Ruched Waistbands: The Vintage Advantage

Remember those glamorous gals in the Hollywood movies of the 40s and 50s? You don’t have to look like Rita Hayworth to benefit from the way that gently gathered material at the waist creates an instant hourglass shape, while drawing attention away from both the bosom and the hips.

This type of waistband adds a touch of elegance and interest in everything from a full-length dress to a casual skirt or top.

 

 

spandex waist skirt 1490 with text

Spandex is a Girl’s Best Friend

Forget full-body spandex – skin-tight leotards and tights are just not my style. But a little spandex goes a long way, especially when it’s hidden at the waistline.

I love the comfort that comes from a spandex waistband. Not only does it allow me to adjust the length of a skirt with just a little tug, it’s designed to be tucked away under a hip-skimming or tailored top. This gives me a look that’s curvaceous… not flirtatious!

 

 

high waisted mid-calf pencil skirt 1470 with text

High Waisted Comfort

They say that a waist is a terrible thing to mind. Still, I admit: some days, I’d rather dress in a way that leaves my curves to the imagination. For an easy, flowing feeling, try a high-waisted skirt that adds a little swing to your step. This high waisted, mid-calf pencil skirt is ultra-feminine and helps me step out in confidence.

 

Five Gift-Giving Strategies for the Girl On Your List

Five Gift-Giving Strategies for the Girl On Your List

The holiday season is a bonanza for business, with the media making darned sure that everyone feels a guilty responsibility: To buy gifts and to make ‘em good.

Face it: gift buying success is not an exact science. What’s more, when the female target of your gift purchases – whether it’s a family member, a friend, or a colleague from work – is a difficult “fit”, we can find ourselves roaming the aisles, either empty handed, or worse, with our hands full of gifts that are sure to go right to the back of the closet. Or back to the store.

Here are some thoughts to guide you on your girl-oriented gift-giving adventures.

(1) It’s winter. Think cozy.

You don’t have to be headed for a ski resort to appreciate the warmth that’s expressed by seasonal dressing. In the winter months, everybody loves an extra layer, and outerwear is a risk-free choice; whether it’s a casual sweatshirt or a camel’s wool coat, it doesn’t have to match any particular outfit. For a low-budget option, remember: winter scarves, hats and gloves are a colorful, girl-friendly gift, and a classic expression of seasonal affection.

Women's Loose Fitting, Raglan Style Shirt - Perfect 'Basic' for your Wardrobe

Women’s Loose Fitting, Raglan Style Shirt – Perfect ‘Basic’ for your Wardrobe

(2) Basics rock!

Did you know that the girl who has everything has something in common with the fussiest recipient on your list? It’s true: both have limited bandwidth for appreciating your creative shopping efforts. So why fight it? A sure-fire way to please both these categories is to concentrate on blue-chip, tried-and-true basics. Complement the wardrobe these women already have by choosing high-quality tops, bottoms and layering pieces in easy-to-match colors.

(3) You can never own too much…

…jewelry. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but if the real stuff is out of your price range, try browsing your local department store racks for fun – and fake – pieces that can liven up any look.

Kosher Casual's Little Black Dress

Kosher Casual’s Little Black Dress

(4) Dare to buy a dress

Yes, it can be done. Keep your eyes out for classic styles that are not too fussy in the details, yet say “holiday” all the way to the hem. For example, imagine an unstructured dress in a solid-color… that’s the kind of foolproof, one-size-fits-all gift dress that is sure to be appreciated, because it can be dressed up and accessorized, creating a starting point for a personal fashion statement.

(5) And if you despair…

Don’t. Gift certificates may sound like a cop-out, but allowing the girl on your gift list to do her own shopping might be the greatest gift of all!

A Modest Proposal – Skirts that Fit YOUR Body

A Modest Proposal – Skirts that Fit YOUR Body

If you dress modestly, you know that modest skirts are the workhorses of your everyday wardrobe. But do you really know how to shop for skirts? By paying attention to just a few basic principles, you’ll have an easier time when you next go skirt shopping at the mall. You’ll also have an easier time finding the look that matches your body – and your lifestyle.

The Hips Have It

Skater_Skirt_1472_TealThe drape of a skirt begins at your hips. That’s why – when it comes to skirts – your particular hip-shape is crucial to making the right fashion choice.

Fuller-hipped, curvy women should look for A-line skirts that flare out toward the hemline. This de-emphasizes the mid-section, and creates a more streamlined, elegant line.

Straight-hipped women who wish to emphasize their curves are better served by pencil skirts. Gently hugging the hips and becoming narrower toward the hemline, pencil skirts define an hourglass silhouette that – if it’s not taken to an extreme – can be elegant, tasteful and 100% modest. If you want to further accentuate the pencil skirt’s hourglass effect, try tucking in your top, or wearing a cinch belt at the natural waist.

Hemline – How to Decide?
maxi_skirt_animal_print_1478_giraffe

Skirts that fall just below the knee are universally flattering. But if you choose to go lower – to a midi or maxi length – here are some things to keep in mind.

While undeniably modest, for some women, midi skirts can be a fashion failure. That’s because they tend to fall right on the widest part of the calves. If your legs are thick rather than lean, or if you’re of below-average height, midi-length skirts may not be the best choice for you.

How about shopping for long skirts? Again, short women – as well as Petites – should be extra careful, because maxis can make you look even smaller than you are – to the point of even looking “stumpy” (and nobody wants that!). To avoid this pitfall when shopping for maxi skirts, choose one that fits snugly around your hips and thighs. This makes it more likely that you’ll achieve a look that is both modest and elegant.

When shopping for long skirts, remember: your goal is to dress modestly, not to disappear! Rather than choosing skirts that fall to the floor, try a hemline that reaches to the thinnest part of your ankles. This creates the flattering illusion of slim legs in the context of a modest outfit.

Fab Skirts for Fuller Figures

Fab Skirts for Fuller Figures

Modest dressing looks good on every body type, but it has some distinct advantage for those of us with fuller figures.  This is not because we want to cover up and “hide” – heaven forbid.  Rather, modest cuts give us the freedom we need to make a beautiful fashion statement that embraces our size… and our lifestyle.

Tight Doesn’t Make Right

Plus-size women have natural presence, and the right skirt choices can help them make the most of it.  While it’s certainly true that “real women have curves”, it’s also true that when women’s curves are the focus of attention, modesty tends to go out the window.  In other words, if your mid-section is encased in tight, slinky material, it doesn’t matter if your elbows and knees are well covered – the total effect is eye-catching, and not in a good way.

Let’s look at some of the fashion secrets that allow plus-sized women to choose a skirt that shows them off to their fullest advantage.

Maxi flowing skirt with four panels Flowing and Fashionable Skirts

Maxi, midi or to-the-knee, every skirt length can compliment the more generous figure.

Skirts that go to the ankle or even the floor are not just for formal wear.  Long skirts can add elegance to everyday dressing, creating a line that draws attention away from the hips and tummy.  Ramp up this “camouflage” effect by choosing a skirt with flowing detail in the lower leg area – or dramatic pleats that begin at the knee.

Mid-length flared skirts can also create an elegant line. A generous cut that includes lots of extra material creates a flowing, attractive drape that moves with you.  Alternatively, you can look for a “tiered” skirt that offers a wider silhouette, while providing visual interest all the way down.

Classic, to-the-knee skirts come in a variety of styles that can work for plus-size women.  Whether you’re looking for a stretchy pencil-skirt, or a more structured design, your skirt should make you feel confident about the leg you choose to show.  Don’t forget to “test drive” your choice by sitting down – even in front of a mirror – and verifying the knee-coverage before you make your purchase!

Waist Not Want Not?

Women of generous proportions tend to pair their skirts with tops designed to de-emphasize the waist, by hiding it altogether.  But remember: a waist is a terrible thing to mind!   So keep an open mind while shopping for your next skirt, and consider waist-conscious designs that dare to define your shape.  Who knows – you may decide to tuck in that tee shirt after all!

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