Sunday 21 November 2010

In praise of straight skirts and my basic "leopard" fur skirt

An Italian silk manufacturer visiting Hong Kong once told me that to start a grown-up wardrobe, every woman should have a Black Skirt. Note, he didn't say a Little Black Dress. He then started to weave visions of all the things you could put on top of that black skirt. The variety was dazzling. Eugenia at World of Eugenia just posted about a great black Vogue skirt she made with a gathered insert at the back. Elegant and versatile. Everybody should have a favourite straight skirt pattern and start with a black skirt. That's the one you learn to sew on, you know you can do in a day, you even know you can do with your eyes closed.

I think the same is true of long black trousers. During my extended illness in 2009,  I pulled on the same Vogue basic black trousers (from an OOP Wardrobe pattern) every other day to go to the clinic, varying the tops with a very limited enthusiasm, but still the doctor said, "I appreciate it that you dress so nicely." I think that was his shorthand for "not jeans."
But once you have the black skirt, it's time to play.

My daughter's first try at sewing was a Chanel-buttoned knock-off in a lovely deep blue satin using this BurdaEasy pattern. I then made the same skirt in grey stretch cotton and then in brown pleather embossed with bronze roses shown in my original posting below about "What I've sewn." Using a Vogue so OOP, it's more like Out of the Universe,  I've made two daytime skirts in tobacco brown and a khaki, both in wool gabardine, and, now, my new favourite, the leopard fur, here on the right:

Would you believe that for me, this leopard fur skirt has become a Wardrobe Basic? You'd think that it's as un-basic as they come. Yet somehow, these days, whenever I'm facing a dark, grey day, have to pick up a loved one at the hospital, or get myself out of the hospital, which is alarmingly frequent of late!, this is a pick-me-up garment. Its so soft! It goes from day to night with a sort of Donatella panache and fits right in with this season's faux fur thing. Along with the black trousers, a black skirt, grey skirt etc., and a wardrobe of turtlenecks and matching tights, the daily "what to wear" for a home office is done for me, and I can concentrate on evening wear and fun-fashion projects.

Which reminds me... it might be time to replace my original black straight skirt....



  1. I love my 'little black skirt' I can dress it up or down. It is pefect for summer with a white T-shirt, sandals and scarf or winter with a blazer and my favorite boots either way it is a wardrobe favorite. Geez! Maybe I should make another one!

  2. Thank you. I have a yard of french faux low pile fur left over from a coat that sits idle. I am going to "copy" you and make the same skirt.

    Duh-why was this staring me in the face and I did not do it????

    Thank you and yours looks WONDERFUL!!!!!!!

  3. I forgot to add- it would lovely with a crisp white blouse OR a shabby chambray denim shirt.......the ideas are endless.....I need to get cutting!

  4. OMG, I made the exact same skirt in 1968! Well, it was a good 4" shorter, I must admit, and the quality of faux fur was not anything as lovely as yours, but I loved that skirt with a passion. It was the first thing I lined. Your outfit looks terrific; no wonder that skirt cheers you up.