Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Plaid skirts

As usual, I'm behind the times in keeping up with fashion. I know from the fashion magazines that plaid is (was?) in for fall/winter. I spied this Jean Paul Gautier plaid trenchcoat in the windows in Paris in September.

I have some plaid fabric and I want to make some skirts and I'm wondering what the best placement of the plaid would be. I see a lot of a-line skirts with the plaid on the diagonal and that seems relatively easy to do. Of course since simple is not in my vocabulary, I think of more interesting ways to use plaid. I am thinking of a skirt using this Vogue pattern (click for larger):

I like the version without the pleats (version A or B, if you look at the pattern on the Vogue web site) and would put the plaid on the diagonal either on the sides or on the front/back. But which to do? What do they do in RTW? I did some research to find out.

I didn't find much in the way of mixing the directions of the plaid in the style that I want to do, but I did find this one that shows the diagonal plaid on the sides (Nanette Lepore skirt in a photo from Saks Fifth Avenue website).

It seems that plain pencil skirts, without the panels, can look good with the plaid going either direction:

Diagonal ( from Ann Taylor Loft web site):

Horizontal/vertical (from Ralph Lauren web site):

However, I would think that for my body type, which is a bit ample in the hips and thighs, the plaid on the diagonal might look better. But the skirt shown below, with plaid on the diagonal, just doesn't look very appealing to me. What's wrong with it? Is it just really badly photographed? Is it the visual look of black and white plaid with black tights and black top? Is it badly made? Is it badly designed? Maybe it needs a waistband. I especially don't like the way the skirt appears to draw in below the hips and then hang in little drapes. Something is just wrong here and this is a look I do not want to create.

(Anne Klein skirt from Dillards web site)

Edited to add: Thank you Kathleen C. for your comments regarding the drape of fabric on the bias. It makes sense and I will keep it in mind when I attempt to make my plaid skirt!


  1. oooooooooooooooooooo fabulous!!!

  2. Hi! When you cut fabric on the bias it tends to cling inward a bit. That's what's happpening in the black and white plaid skirt. The combination of slim cut silhouette, bias side panels and gores for lower fullness creates an in and out silhouette.
    The other two skirts are cut differently.
    The first one is an A-line; it continues the flare past the hips and so doesn't hg in as much.
    The second doesn't have the lower flare to emphasize the fitted hips; so it's straighter looking as well. But if you look closely at it you can kind of see the way it snugs in below the hips.
    Plus I'll bet the black and white is either a lighter weight fabric or the other two are interlined in some way to give them more body. The right fabric will help to decrease the hug in effect.

    Hope this helped some!