Portrait of June Christy, 1947 or 1948 (LOC)

Many of this fall’s trends may seem to conflict with each other. But, when combined, many of these fall staples work together and complement one another beautifully to create a strong look. You may think that combining a long, structured balloon-style coat with snakeskin accents and thigh-high snakeskin boots will make you look like a crazy dominatrix. But, just look at this Gucci look: classy, powerful, and still so effortless. So, it’s no surprise that fall’s posh, classic and simple skirts are teaming up with fall’s oversized knits and statement jackets to create runway styles like this Rochas look.

In 2011, the earliest form of a skirt was found in an Armenian cave, dating back to 39 B.C. The designer was obviously very fashion forward and innovative, ensuring that the brightly coloured and decorated straw skirt was well preserved. Internationally, skirts have been worn by men and women for hundreds of centuries. In Scotland, men have worn kilts for almost 300 years, and in Bhutan, boys commonly wear a gho to formal events. The first miniskirts were worn in ancient China by the women of the Miao tribe. These skirts were so short that they often shocked European travelers.

In the eighteen hundreds, skirt hemlines raised and lowered more than at any other time in fashion. Waistlines and silhouettes did the same, with waists going as high as an empire waist and skirts expanding into a hoop skirt. By 1920, hemlines rose once again, inventing many new skirt designs (such as balloon skirts and the “new look” skirts). Until the late sixties, styles came and went until the miniskirt entered fashion with fury. However, hemlines that were short enough to reveal undergarments were still taboo.

Since the seventies, skirt lengths have changed with the seasons, and pants became a more common option for every day. When Raf Simons presented his Fall/Winter 2012 line with Dior last year, he dug into Dior’s archives and modernized the “new look” skirts from the 1940s. These below-the-knee A-line skirts caught on, and were featured on many other runways in Spring 2013 (such as Kate Spade’s). This fall, fashion’s skirt-love has continued, expanding with many new trends.  Full skirts (like this one from Honor) are capturing a lot of attention and will keep you warm as the temperature drops. Slits and zippers can also add a sexy twist to a plain skirt (see Christian Dior and Michael Kors’s fall lines), as can animal prints, another big trend for fall, as proven by J. Crew. It’s been a while since we’ve seen skirt-suits fill collections, but they are one of the largest trends this fall, with designs by Prada and Oscar de la Renta. The most polished skirt trend this season, though, is curvaceous, contoured skirts, like the ones showcased on the Céline runway. Paired with a cozy sweater, leather jacket or fur, this casual and clean look can easily go from day to night.

If you’re looking to update a plain, fall wardrobe, a classic and trendy skirt is definitely a good option. All it takes is one staple piece to take a cardigan to a fashionable look. To maintain an easy, clean style, pair these looks with classic and polished accessories, like a structured bag or classic, trendy pumps. This look is all about dressing like a classy lady, so show off your mature, feminine side and experiment with the fabulous skirts fall has to offer before it’s too cold!


This piece was written by Rebecca MacDonald, Fashion Columnist at Rhetoric Magazine. Come back for more every Thursday!