See that pleated skirt I’m wearing? It’s by Anthropologie but when I look at it all I can think about is Mariano Fortuny, a Spanish-born designer who came onto the fashion scene after World War I with his exquisite and romantic pleated fabrics. Fashion writer Suzy Menkes has this great article that tells you a fair amount about his legacy and shows you examples of his work. I’m not including photos as I don’t know which ones I can use and which ones will land me in jail for infringing on copyright laws. Just think of all the outfits I wouldn’t be writing about if I was in jail!
Any hoo, at that time Fortuny’s pleated fashions were quite the revolution. Guess who was the experienced dressmaker who helped him create his sensations? His wife, Henriette Negrin. I’m thinking she’d been bugging him about making fashion that would look good on any sized woman. With his unique fabrics and simple designs, his drop-dead gorgeous gowns did look great on women of all shapes and sizes. Here’s a history of his life.
So that’s why when I saw the romantic fabric in this skirt, Fortuny was flashing before my eyes.
It’s a fluke that I even saw it at all. I was online researching the latest in jean styles, washes, and other jean details. I went to Anthropologie; I could count on them to have examples of the latest jean trends. I’m generally not an online shopper but one thing led to another and I came across this skirt on sale. I’ve been yearning for a fine pleated skirt for a long while. I had one countless years ago. It was black and below my knee and so incredibly romantic looking. I wanted to ask myself out on a date whenever I wore it.
One day I was wearing that skirt to work. The fabric in it made me glide into rooms. I glided into my client’s closet to make new outfits from what she had. She commented on my skirt immediately. She expressed a need for a skirt as elegant as mine for an upcoming event so I gave it to her. I thought for sure I could just go back to the store and pick up another one but when I did, it was sold out. SOLD OUT!
I was crushed. I felt like Cinderella at 12:05 a.m.
My heart swelled as I looked at this Fortuny-like skirt online. I viewed the views of it. I had some guessing to do. I couldn’t touch it or tell for sure what the true in-person color would be. The only size left was a large. I wasn’t sure how their sizes ran. But everything in me pushed me toward the Buy Now button. I pressed it.
Once purchased and delivered, it’s time for styling
When I played around with it the other day, I decided to wear this high/low super comfortable cotton blouse by Brunelli Cucinelli from way back. It gave me that easy breezy look that went well with this light-colored skirt. This outfit felt June 21st to me like summer is here, let’s dine outside, drink wine, have dessert and watch the stars come out. Do I hear Julie Andrews serenading our table? “I feel pretty, oh so pretty. I feel pretty and witty and bright.”
Accessorizing my pretty skirt outfit
Since I’m wearing two-pieces, I decided to pump up the accessories. I’ve had these rosy-blush shimmery beads for the last umpteen years. I felt a need to start with them as my accessory first course. They feel like an anchor. The color is darker than the skirt color, but they’re in that same blush family.
The next course was my heart necklace. It suits nearly any outfit but I like using it to punctuate the romance of the skirt. Next course was my crystal necklace. I like the light feel it brings to this triple deck of necklaces. The crystal has design weight to it without feeling heavy.
When you look at the three necklaces together, starting at the top, they’re each a different scale: small to medium to nearly large. The interest is building.
I added my wide Calleen Cordero blond leather and sliver cuff and my arty ring to one wrist. I’m wearing my white Tag Heuer watch, a summer month staple, and my Jennifer Moore ring that never leaves my finger on the other wrist.
I LOVE adding my woven leather bag by Caterina Lucchi in these light colors. This bag that I love and never once wore last year is one I’m wearing ALL THE TIME now. What’s terrific is that this year I’ve added the Camper sandals to my shoe wardrobe. That caramel color relates so well to the bag. That’s a big part of why it’s so easy to use this handbag this year.
If you’re interested in this sandal style and color, I just found this exact pair online at Nordstrom for 20% off. It’s a great color shoe to wear with jeans that have that same colored top-stitching.
I wasn’t sure if I would wear my red glasses from Uber Optics with this outfit but I figured I needed a little somethin’-somethin’ to bring attention to my face.
As if this skirt isn’t dreamy enough, I get a kick out of the fact that I could roll it, fold it, or crumple it up and stuff it into my bag. It still comes out looking exactly as it is on my body. No wrinkles at all. So maybe I wear rolled up jeans for the day and then pull my skirt out of my handbag and go to that romantic dinner in the evening. Oh yes, I’m planning it now!
My dear friends! I have a bunch of questions! Do you wear skirts? Do you have some romantic dinners planned and where? Do you have fashion in your closet that reminds you of designers in our fashion history books? I want to know it all!
DianeJune 11, 2018 at 4:45 pm
Yes yes yes to skirts. You look fabulous Brenda. Another great look with your jewels as the third piece. I like the way you have layered them. If it was to be any looks taken from history, it would have to be a 40’s inspiration but I do take a lot of inspiration from your ideas and a couple other (over 60s) blogs. I am glad you found a beauty to replace your black one and hope you love it as much. As for romantic outings, I wear skirts to even go grocery shopping in the summer so it would be affirmative for most outings.
Nicole KJune 11, 2018 at 6:03 pm
I usually do not wear skirts, but like you had one drop waist, ivory knife pleat skirt that made me feel special. I was loving all of the new pleated skirts, but having trouble finding one until I glanced at a rack in the Nordstrom Rack and saw an interesting lightweight black drop waist pleated skirt. They had a Small and Medium. I didn’t have time to try it on, but was certain I was a M. Excitedly paid for the item without trying it on (no time) and when I got home, found I had mistakenly purchased the size small! (Yikes). I decided to try it on anyway and it is perfect! I didn’t even notice it had pockets!!!! Knife pleats and pockets. Oh my!
It’s not quite as romantic as your lovely blush ensemble, but I could immediately come up with 3 looks (per your advice) and then went on to create 4 more! I’ll be forcing my husband to go to lunch/brunch soon. 😉
Love your writing Brenda. Always so cheeky and positive.
BecciJune 11, 2018 at 6:15 pm
A size large? Well, the camera certainly hides that little tidbit of info. You look fabulous and I would have guessed a size large would fall from your frame. I love skirts!! Mostly tailored and close fitting but I do have a vintage inspired full skirt I bought from Anthropologie many years ago. I love to style it with a crisp button down for a 50s/60s look. Skirts to work, out with my girls, on dates, to church! Good for anywhere and everywhere (well, maybe not hiking. But then, there are skorts…
spagsJune 12, 2018 at 1:23 am
As Diane says, yes yes yes to skirts. Today I’m wearing a long white linen skirt with a floral print in black and tan, some of the flowers are solid and some are line drawings. It’s more romantic looking than my usual clothes. On top I have a black Biba Tshirt with gold fish and lions (like a Chinese embroidery) and a long black cardigan because it’s colder than I thought it would be. Yellow suede brogues complete the picture. I love those pleated skirts like yours and have one in a dark silvery grey. I find long skirts especially useful in summer when it’s too hot for trousers but I still want to look professional and not wear hosiery.
JodieJune 12, 2018 at 5:33 am
I think summer is the perfect time for wearing skirts. They are much cooler than pants in the hot weather, and I love that it’s okay to be feminine again!!
The funny thing is how much I like Anthropologie now. I never used to be able to find any clothes in that store. But I’m sure it’s because I was looking through my “work eyes”, and it seems like most things there are creative instead. Which is exactly why I love it now!!
LindaJune 12, 2018 at 7:30 am
I agree with Jodie. I love Anthro now…their clothes express my creative side and don’t seem to be run-of-the-mill. I do love skirts, but don’t wear them often. I would love to wear them out shopping, or to dinner, etc., but can’t seem to find ones that flatter. And then there’s the challenge of trying to find a top to go with.
Karin BeamerJune 12, 2018 at 8:33 am
I am 5feet 3 ” and I prefer dresses to skirts for summer in the heat. I live in Florida so we need cool, in any way possible. I loved the skirt you had on and immediately went to the site but alas and alak it was only available in small. You were lucky to get one. Keep up the good ideas and help all of us stay on point of fashion and not look dowdy and old. I hate the sneakers and crop pants here in Florida and lots of tight pants on many who should definitely NOT be wearing them.
LA CONTESSAJune 12, 2018 at 4:20 pm
I have a FORTUNY SCARF in GOLD I bought on my last trip to VENICE!It’s TOO SHORT to really do anything with which makes me MAD….maybe if you ever come to visit we can play with it!It is a BEAUTIFUL GOLD VELVET……………….
You are like me I actually gave a woman in line a t-shirt off my back in line at the GROCERY STORE one day as SHE LOVED IT!I had a bathing suit on underneath…….so I said “FOLLOW ME!”
BrendaJune 26, 2018 at 7:25 pm
Oh, my gosh! I can just see you doing that! You’re a doll. I am definitely going to visit you! We need to set a date. Love you! Can’t wait to see the Fortuny scarf up close!
PJJune 13, 2018 at 5:07 am
where did you find your shoes? LOVE flatform sandals!
BrendaJune 26, 2018 at 7:26 pm
They’re from Camper. Found them online at their website. I love them too!
AngieJune 13, 2018 at 12:48 pm
I love skirts, but I gravitate toward jeans as more usable. Skirts are gorgeous and jeans are every day. I’m always tempted by more beautiful skirts. I like how you shared information about Fortuny in this post. I never liked pleated skirts, but the Fortuny pleats are a different animal. Love it!
Trinnie qJune 14, 2018 at 11:08 pm
Oh you look whimsical and beautiful! I own only one skirt, which I hardly ever wear, though I always get compliments when I do. A bit of a hang up there I am sure! Never mind, I do love other people’s bravery in this area. As always, sending love from Oz .x
BrendaJune 15, 2018 at 6:35 pm
It’s always fun to hear about people’s preferences. Maybe not a hang up but just a preference? Sometimes I just forget about a certain item of clothing. I keep doing what I’m doing. But this skirt, well, it demands being out and about!
All my love from Sonoma, BK
BeverlyJune 21, 2018 at 6:48 pm
I like skirts, too. Most of mine are casual cotton pencil style skirts that hit just at the knee. I live in Georgia, south of Atlanta. Today our temp was 88 degrees with 54% humidity, giving us a heat index of 97 degrees! My workplace is smart business casual, so I’m very glad I can wear my skirts paired with a sleeveless cotton shell. I usually wear a very light cotton blend cardigan over the top for two reasons: first, the AC is set at 74 degrees, which believe it or not feels chilly inside, and secondly, my upper arms are just not as shapely as they used to be!
Thanks for all the inspiration you provide, Brenda. Your writing is lovely and your style to die for!
Your fan in GA
BrendaJune 26, 2018 at 7:06 pm
Thanks, Beverly! And thanks for sharing your formula for being in that kind of heat. Yikes! I know what you mean about the air conditioning in buildings though. I can be almost as bothered by those temps as the high ones outdoors!
Tgchi13June 21, 2018 at 7:16 pm
Forgive me if I missed it (just insert link) but what is the actual difference between Fortuny style pleats and tiny knife pleats?
BrendaJune 26, 2018 at 7:04 pm
I feel like knife pleats aren’t as feminine looking as the Fortuny style print. I know, when I was writing this I was asking myself the same question! We need an answer from someone above my pay grade.
Donna E.June 27, 2018 at 6:45 am
Thank you for the description of your thought-process as you put this terrific outfit together – that definitely helps ME, so probably helps others, too! And I will now look for bringing a little “street style” into my daily clothing choices. Now I gotta go check out my closet to see if I have any skirts I still love. BTW, your posts always add some sunshine to my day.
BrendaJuly 2, 2018 at 11:28 am
Hi Donna! I hope you found some skirts in your closet. Reading your comment reminds me to wear mine more and more. We probably all have a leaning to one item or the other — skirts/dresses or pants. I’m probably in pants 80% of the time, skirts 20% of the time. And I’d like to inch those skirt days up to at least 35%. Thanks for reminding me! So glad you’re here.