Wardrobe EDIT: Roaring 20’s Knife Pleat Skirts

As we all well know, we have stepped into the 21st Century’s take on the Roaring 20’s, and while the first half of the year may have thrown our emotions into a bit of a great depression of sorts, I just so happened to have found us a little retail therapy rainbow to lift our spirits (and it won’t cost a pot of gold at the end)!

Trend chasing and building outfits have always been favorite pass-times of mine, and lately I have noticed that some of our current fashion trends have in fact been inspired by the 100-year-old fashion mavens of the 1920’s. Are you a little curious as to just how closely our 21st Century 20’s style mirrors the O.G.’s of the 1920’s? Below are some of my favorite vintage looks from the era, courtesy of Vintage Dancer, which is a serious wealth of fashion history knowledge, I must say!

I can definitely see a correlation between the two eras in the color stories, the knife pleat skirt styles & hem lengths, tie-closure details and even some of the bell sleeve silhouettes! In February my sister, our mom and I shopped around Mayfaire Town Center during my parents’ visit, pre-COVID shutdown, and made the rounds to our favorite stores. One such favorite is the local Altar’d State, for several reasons really. When you first step foot into one, the stylish boutique atmosphere and trendy merchandise catch your attention, but it is the positivity radiating throughout the store that is an instant mood-lifter — from the music and home décor with inspirational quotes to the hospitality of the staff in the fitting rooms. And as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, their mission to “stand out for good” is a great motivating factor for our shopping there. BTW – Florida hometown friends, there is one at International Plaza in Tampa. And for friends everywhere, Altar’d State’s Semi-Annual Sale is GOING ON RIGHT NOW!

So anyway, when I saw the displays from Altar’d State with the items above, I thought to myself, “Katy, you can totally recreate these looks with pieces you already have in your wardrobe (and Justin will certainly appreciate you sparing the expense)!” Suddenly, I began seeing the pleated skirt trend EVERYWHERE, especially in my social feed, so I knew it was time to get to work on my renditions!

Believe it or not, I’ve had two very cute pleated skirts sitting in my closet (er… clothing rack these days) for an inordinate amount of time. The first is an ivory DKNY number from HSN that I’ve worn a handful of times (and as recently as about 5 years ago), and the other is a beautiful soft yellow hi-low silhouette, tags still on, purchased a little over a year ago from Belk. I’ve held on to the ivory one so long because it’s a classic, and I haven’t worn the yellow one because, well… I guess I felt like I needed a special occasion to wear it. Truth be told, the yellow hue is pretty specific to the spring and summer months, and can also be a bit of a gamble given the ghostlike nature of my fair skin tone. (#porcelainproblems)

But now that it’s summertime and prime pleated skirt season, I’m ready to style up a storm with my closet finds! First up, I created a “casual” look that utilized two of my most classic pieces: the ivory pleated skirt and a basic chambray top from H&M, which I tied in front for an element of fun while keeping with the casual theme and current trends. Then — my favorite part — I had some fun with the accessories!

For shoes, I’d recommend a simple, scarlet-red ballet flat to create a balanced head-to-toe incorporation of the red hues we pulled from the scarf. I selected the scarlet red headband (out of the set of 10 it came in) in order to bring the richness of the red in the scarf up to the face. Pair that with a pop of crimson-red lipstick and similarly colored shoes and you’ve got yourself some serious street style while casually out to coffee with friends or perusing your favorite shops. The rest of the accessories I kept more neutral, which tied back to the ivory skirt in more subtle ways, because believe it or not, it IS possible to over-accessorize an outfit!

That said, I don’t recommend incorporating any additional colors here since we have already branched out with the blue and red color families, which I like to do for added dimension. For example, the blues of the crossbody, the chambray top and the slate-blue stripe in the scarf — they are not actually meant to match; rather, they subtly offer depth in cool tones to the ensemble without creating an overly-colorful distraction from the overall look. The real “pops” of color actually come from the scarlet accessories!

Next up: a more elevated, summery “daytime to date night” look, which may or may not have been my favorite one to style! Playing up the bright nature of the yellow skirt, I paired it with a white sleeveless high-neck top with ruffled collar, AND an emerald-green blazer to turn heads in the workplace!

You will notice that I went a more minimal route with the accessories this time. I used the same crossbody+scarf combo as the previous look, but this time I focused more on color and texture in the primary clothing pieces instead of the distribution of accessories. I played up the emerald green with just a pair of statement earrings and tied in the chocolate striping in the scarf with the chocolate strappy heel sandal. This look is perfect for someone who is not much of a jewelry wearer, given the vibrant color and textural details (i.e. – pleats, ruffles) of this ensemble. As I mentioned above, you do not want to over-accessorize an outfit — you could quickly go from “she looks so put together” to “did she get dressed in the dark this morning?” if you add in one too many color, texture and/or accessory elements to your look.

Below are the different items I used to create this outfit — just bear in mind that these are closet finds, so items pictured may have sold out or been discontinued from the time I purchased them. I did, however, include links to similar alternative items that I felt were reasonably priced!

Photo Credit: Altar’d State

Even if you haven’t been keeping pleated skirts on standby in your closet, they are so en vogue right now that you can scoop up your own from a rainbow of options at a large number of retailers, and at insanely reasonable prices, no less! Here are a few links to get you started:

So… have you gotten the itch to go closet-shopping for fun new looks? This creative little exercise was so much fun that I ended up putting together several different outfit inspo. photos from my closet (er… clothing rack) finds and will be posting them over the next week or so! Let me know your favorites in the comments. 🙂

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