Full Skirts

There are many different aspects of this season's ladylike trend--from pointy pumps to demure dresses to polished ponytails--but today's topic feels freshest: the full skirt. After so many seasons of short and flirty skater skirts and slim body-con options, there's something so unexpectedly modern about this retro-inspired, shin-grazing style. Modest, yet still making a statement thanks to its voluminous silhouette, the full skirt is already gaining traction with tastemakers like Alexa Chung and Keira Knightley, which means this trend is really at its tipping point. Whether worn with a feminine top or styled with a slouchy cardi and ankle boots, this sweet skirt should be an essential component of your wardrobe right now!

There were scads of full skirts on the fall runways, and, much to our delight, each one showcased a different way to style this genteel piece. For example, we spotted head-to-toe fifties-inspired silhouettes at Louis Vuitton, layers of bohemian accents at Ralph Lauren, and a more modern minimalist approach at Chloe and Salvatore Ferragamo, where bold leather versions were shown. However, our favourite interpretation came from Fendi's F/W 10 collection, where designer Karl Lagerfeld used a harmonious mix of muted tones and textures to spotlight this swirly skirt. To accent his lovely combination of a navy Wool Full Skirt ($1990), Fur Patchwork Jacket ($20,000), silky olive Blouse ($990), Lagerfeld added a pair of chocolate brown Wellington-inspired high-heeled booties with rubber toecaps. It gives the ensemble an intriguing rustic spirit that is both unique and surprisingly wearable.

Off the runways, we've spotted some of our favourite celebrities experimenting with this trend, and the results are certainly noteworthy. For example, fashion frontrunners Keira Knightley and Camilla Belle both recently selected subtly detailed full skirts for recent events. Knightley did it first at the Rome Film Festival late last month, where the actress arrived at a dinner party wearing an incredibly delicate full skirt from Chanel's S/S 11 collection. Knightley wisely kept the focus on this stunning piece--which is comprised of two layers of tulle, a shimmery grey over black--by styling it with a black boatneck sweater and elegant pumps for a classic and clean look. Back in Los Angeles at the Freedom Awards, Camilla Belle also opted for intriguing simplicity with her selection of Derek Lam's black Chintz Satin Pleated Skirt ($1490, 212. 966.1616) from the S/S 11 collection. The tiny pleats add texture and nuance to this piece, but they're still subtle enough to pair perfectly with a embellished top, specifically Derek Lam's Cardboard Embroidered Voile Camisole ($1490, 212.966.1616), also from the S/S 11 collection, and strappy heels like Brian Atwood's Katie Lee Patent Leather Sandals ($179). All in all, the results are truly ravishing!

Of course choosing a detailed, dark-coloured full skirt isn't the only way to achieve a chic look. Paler versions are full of ladylike charm and often exude a romantic, whimsical spirit, like the darling skirt Imogen Poots wore to the private viewing of Richard Hambleton New York: The Godfather of Street Art exhibition in London a few weeks ago. The actress--who will star alongside Mia Wasikowska in Jane Eyre this March--selected an ankle-length skirt in the palest pink, which she paired with an electric blue top and heels for a sweet, yet eye-catching, outfit. However, one of the things we like best about the full skirt is the fact that it doesn't have to be styled in a super-fancy way. For example, Alexa Chung opted for a white full skirt while celebrating Fashion's Night Out at the Madewell store back in September, but she dressed it down and made it quite casual. We love the way she juxtaposed her white Alexa Chung for Madewell skirt with a few laidback pieces, like the Alexa Chung for Madewell Sketchbook Tee ($48) and a brown Madewell cardigan. Best of all, she gave her outfit a little edge via a pair of black Chanel ankle boots, a choice that perfectly punctuated her relaxed, comfortable, and cool look.

If you're smitten with our runway and celebrities examples, then you'll be excited to know we've found some amazing and affordable options for you to try. Keira Knightley fans should check out Lucca Couture's Tea Length Jacquered Dot Skirt ($59) or Parker's Pleated Skirt ($78); both are excellent semi-sheer options that would look amazing teamed with a knit sweater. If Camilla Belle and Alexa Chung's choices are your cup of tea, you might want to try Topshop's Premium Lurex Pleated Midi Skirt ($90), as it can be dressed up or down depending on your mood. In the market for some winter-appropriate options? We've got you covered there too! ASOS White's Wool Mix Mid Calf Full Skirt ($130), Zara's Long Checked Skirt ($80), and Mango's Full Midi Skirt ($68) are all smart selections that will surely keep your legs cosy through the chilly season. Just make sure to pair them with a silky blouse for an ultra-chic look. Finally, for those readers who are head-over-heels for the runway styles mentioned above, be sure pick up Marc Jacobs' Blanket Stripe Wool-Blend Skirt ($370) and Mango's Wool Mix Check Lady Full Skirt ($103). They're almost exact replicas of the skirts seen at Louis Vuitton!--Jessica Baker