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Skirting the trend

By Dominique Marie M. Tiu
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Last updated 22:53:00 10/16/2009

MANILA, Philippines--As a child, i've always been fascinated by my lola?s skirts, which came in an array of prints and patterns, and were really soft. It?s not that I?ve never worn skirts: I just thought hers were very much unlike mine, as I usually had pleated cotton ones that made my thighs itch. Hers were always pencil skirts?she said these are very trendy. So when she was out to whatever party, I would go up to her room and try them on, and I still do, only this time, they didn?t go past my shins anymore.

This is a universal fact: The skirt is an ephemeral fashion commodity. It comes in various forms and is reincarnated in diverse styles.

I wasn?t the most perceptive child of the bunch, but I was pretty much ?there? when the skirt fashion evolved. I was there when my lola traded her pencil skirts for knee-length denims. I was there when she stashed the denim skirts deep in her closet in exchange for floral A-line skirts. At some point in my early high school, I altogether stopped wearing skirts because I jumped into the bandwagon of ?elephant pants? every time I went out?circa 2001, I thought elephant pants were way cooler than skirts!

Stereotyping skirts

Falling in love with skirts again wasn?t instantaneous. This was mostly because I harbored two misconceptions about it:

First, I thought skirts were too plain and dull. There?s nothing much you can do in a skirt! It gave people the same impression?that you?re a prim and proper ?girly-girl.? In fact, I?m hardly that. A pretentious, feminist wannabe, I told myself never to succumb to petty patriarchal ideals, as quite obviously (I surmised), skirts were made precisely to project the glory of all womanly bits men can ogle, and if I could travel back in time, I?d definitely prove that men were the sole inventors of skirts.

Of course, my concern about being stereotyped as the ?girly-girl? dissipated the moment southern California fashion went mainstream and infiltrated the Philippines?you know, denim minis and tiered cotton skirts (either Hollister, Roxy and Von Dutch), paired with basic tees and tanks and flip-flops.

This was definitely the era I fell in love with skirts again. The ?SoCal? (So California!) approach was a great wardrobe compromise to my personality-style crises, as it retained a certain femininity and it is casual and laid-back.

Falling in love with skirts

Now that I?ve embraced the awesomeness of skirts in general, the next obstacle I had to overcome was the sparse availability of skirts. Sure, you could find a speckle in various boutiques but most of the time, they were ill-fitting and had wrong proportions; those that were perfect in every aspect were available only in top-of-the-line boutiques (Topshop, Zara, Mango and Promod). Being a student at that time, I couldn?t splurge.

Thankfully, with numerous online fashion stores, this season?s trendy skirts (and next season?s) are accessible. Online enterprises are almost always hassle-free (taking into account that the seller is legit and reliable). It is shopping without leaving the confines of your room, a very cathartic and promising process, if you ask me.

Online shopping

Take for example, Glitterati (www.shopglitterati.multiply.com), an online store my friends and I swear by for its good quality and designer-inspired pieces. The criteria I set for purchasing skirts are its sustainability and versatility as a fashion piece. It should make a statement, but should not be overwhelming so that I can still pair it off with a good top. It should take me from day to night.

Take for example the Petal Pusher tulip skirt from Glitterati?the tulip cut is almost always flattering for most body types as it gives the illusion of hips, in case you have narrow ones, given its roomy pockets. It also hides hips, given its shape. Another thing I love about this skirt is that depending on your ability to mix and match, it can look sweet or glamorous, dainty or edgy?definitely a fashion paradox!

Another skirt trend I?m crazy about is one that uses the tulle?let?s give it to Balmain for giving the tulle a new dimension, allowing it to morph from inner wear (as it?s mostly used to shape up a skirt or dress) to outer wear.

Another store to check out is Coexist (www.coexistonline.multiply.com). What attracted me (and by extension, my friends) to this shop is its sweet atmosphere?certainly unintentional. Yet, the pieces from Coexist are chic and flirty resort pieces. My pick is a floral circle skirt reminiscent of Chloé?s floral pieces?a brand that has the same feel?it?s a piece that makes you fit smack-dab in every possible pastoral setting.

There?s Poisonberry (www.poisonberrymanila.multiply.com), if you want a store with variety! It has sleek corporate wear, punk-rock pieces, and funky, quirky ensembles. People swear by its tiered watercolor ?Flip? skirt reminiscent of Luella?s piece.

Of course, if online shopping isn?t your style, other noteworthy shops to explore (apart from the usual Topshop, Zara and Mango) are Luca at Eastwood, The Ramp at Crossings, Tomato, Gingersnaps, Just G, U and Culte Femme at Rustan?s, Powerplant Archeology, and M)phosis.

My last advice?and I?d like to believe, the most important?there?s no sure formula for a winning ensemble. There?s no preferred fashion staple, no preferred trend?be it the quintessential skirt, the basic white tank and what-not. It?s a matter of expressing yourself and of having the confidence and flair to rock.

Knowing that and given this bounty of resources, I no longer find the need to nick my lola?s skirts from her closet? much.
Of course, the cheapest way to stay in fashion is to recycle your mother?s or lola?s or auntie?s pieces. So when you?re in a tight squeeze, take that road! After all, fashion is a cycle, it goes up, it goes down, and trends come back!

     


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