26 October 2012

Style Dilemma: The Black Maxi Skirt

Oh, about 2 years ago, long time reader, follower, twitter and blogger friend, and musician Scarlet emailed for help. She’s a clarinetist in a regional orchestra, and plays in formal concerts. She needed (needs? Scarlet? Am I too late?) a long black skirt. It’s that musicians’ uniform.

When she asked me, I had immediate images of Sharon Stone’s now (in)famous high-low Oscars ensemble. I was also convinced that Isaac Mizrahi had done a ballgown + buttondown look that would be perfect.

I had ballgown in my head. I searched and searched, to no avail. I couldn’t find the images I was looking for. What I did find, though, was that it was most likely a Carolina Herrerra look I remembered (who is, after all, the One with The Shirts). Sorry Isaac.

So time passes (crap. this might even have been before Bean No. 2), and the blog post never materialized. I checked with Scarlet, and she hadn’t resolved her Black Skirt Issue. She’d essentially resigned herself to buying a pattern and making one herself. There were no Long Skirts to be found.

But then, oila! the maxi skirt was on every page of every magazine, much to my confusion and chagrin. I still (true confessions) am not entirely sure what to do with them. I see others, but I Don’t Get It. I’ve tweeted the same. Lord (and the twitterverse) knows.

So it looks like it’ll take Scarlet’s style dilemma to get me over the hump. I scoured Pinterest and blogs, checked online catalogs and those “look book” things people keep talking about. And here’s what I found: a Black Maxi Skirt, as we’ll now call it, is probably a wardrobe item that is much more versatile than you’d think. I almost couldn't stop making combinations from what I found.

Thomas Pink Jessie shirt for ruffles made by one of the ultimate shirtmakers, or go local with The Signature Shirt with Leather Trim (I'm also in love with the blue and black one) from The Shirt by Rochelle Behrens
Patterson J. Kincaid maxi skirt with pleats instead of fullness, for a little more forgiving, and probably cooler (stage lights, people) take on the ballgown Scarlet and I had in our heads
Carolina Herrera inspiration via (nope, not planned that she got the FGI Superstar award last night!)

Mossimo Ponte Blazer in their version of oxblood, The Color right now (or, you know, the Chanel-inspired bouclé one I might have bought last night and might be wearing today)
Mossimo Long & Lean tank (best. tank. ever.)
Scully Cantina 3 Tiered Skirt, dialing it down from the inspirational image, with tiers for the fullness, but cotton for the ease
Blogger inspiration via

Old Navy Rock the Vote T (thank you, Liz, for the inspiration!), because, well, it's nearly November 6th and I live in Washington OR use that tank (told you it was the best) with a splash of color from Stella & Dot's Bryant Park scarf take on "animal print"
Adrianna Papell taffeta skirt, the most formal of the skirts on here, which I used very purposefully in this ensemble. Yes, it has The Bow, but I also personally love the juxtaposition of super casual with formal
Blogger inspiration via

ModCloth's Cute to the Core skirt, in layers of filmy sheer, will balance any weight you might get from a Big Sweater.
Or you could go sleeker on the skirt and bigger on the sweater, for a full-on wintery look.
Sharon Stone inspiration via

Folks, let's just say that this is only the beginning of all of the looks I wanted to build with what is clearly (yes, I'm now a maxi skirt convert, only 2 years too late) a solid wardrobe staple. For me, and I'd venture to say that for most professional women out there, I'd say the maxi needs to be relegated to non-office activities, but I can absolutely see it on a playground, at a happy hour, a brunch, or, you know, an orchestra concert. Then, of course, you can take it and dress that baby up (sequined top, anyone?) for an elegant dinner or show. Seriously, endless possibilities.

Check out other pieces I considered here, but didn't make the ensembles in this post, on my Blog Possibilities board. Who knows? You might even get a preview of upcoming posts!

1 comment:

Alison (Wardrobe Oxygen) said...

What a fun board! Sharon Stone wore it with more of a mermaid-like skirt http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-YHN0JeAh5jc/T_SWJ29pnDI/AAAAAAAAAVw/GhXRlxyHUtU/s640/white+shirt+sharon.jpg and it always inspires me. A black maxi skirt IS a pretty versatile wardrobe piece, I love it with a crisp white shirt and a wide belt!