Who doesn’t love a schoolgirl outfit? Runways and shop floors have been filled with plaid and checked garments. The trend has been around for a few seasons now, but if last year it was all about the boxy plaid pant suit, then this year we dove into a scene from 1995’s Clueless. Pleated checked skirts and matching blazers and knits have sparked many discussions in numerous publications, correlating the film and the current trend. The many different colors in which the skirt suit has been produced, whether with waistcoats or variations of gilets and blazers, big fashion houses have adopted the print for their F/W collections and the public is eating it right up. Immediately fast fashion brands have followed in their footsteps, and shop rails are bursting with options in brown, red, green, purple and yellow. It is all about the plaid mini. It is one of the easiest patterns to wear. The busy print instantly dresses itself and doesn’t ask for much accessorizing to present a polished look, which is why it is a favorite among fashion lovers. It is an easy but slippery slope.
I cannot complain being a fan of the print myself, you can rest assured I gave into consumerism with my head held high. I still remember the skirts I used to wear to school in 2002-2003 – I owned a checked mini in every color there is. My school had no uniform, so it was all fair game: I even wore one in pink – it was amazing. I was however a schoolgirl; this begs the question who is it really for? It is the cutest thing to see a young woman bear a resemblance to a Gossip Girl character, after all the actresses in those films aren’t 16 and they look great in their plaid skirts, crisp shirts and navy blazers, but is this a look one can get away with over 35? Let’s be truthful, nobody wants to see a 45-year-old schoolgirl, unless it’s Halloween. Besides there is no authoritative self-made woman that wants to look like a schoolgirl, it is just as bizarre as a 30-year-old virgin. It is not cute nor funky.
Fashion is an artform that can be very flattering and fun, but it can also be the demise of one’s sense of style if inappropriately executed. Given the high prices of the massive fashion houses creating these beautiful skirts, it is clear that ‘the family money student’ aside, only women of a certain stature can afford the given items, so of course the plaid mini can be suitable for accomplished women, as long as it is well presented via the supporting garments, such as the hosiery and knitwear. Dressing it down so to speak will most definitely prevent one from paying homage to Billy Madison. It is easily achievable if the skirt itself is an addition to the overall look and gives a glimpse of itself as opposed to being the central garment of the outfit. Amazing counterparts for ‘us’ checked skirt lovers that allow it to be styled in a traditional manner, are the variations of the style such as the asymmetrical midi skirts, with lace overlays and cinched fabric. These are perfectly styled with a corduroy blazer or layered under heavy knits. Another perfect plaid print garment a powerful fashion loving woman can appreciate without any damage to her formidable status is the mini dress: Alessandra Rich as well as Dior have produced a number of tartan pieces this season, among them exquisite dresses, and they do not resemble a high school uniform.
Perhaps it sounds outdated but in order for fashion to be beautiful it must be complementary and tasteful. I love style and I love beauty – these can only be linked if a woman is aware of what suits her. The most expensive garment in all its splendor will lose its appeal on the wrong person.