An ode to the midi skirt: history + how to rock it

Image via Dust Jacket

Image via Dust Jacket

While I was a personal shopper I got more questions about midi skirts than any other trend, ever. How do you walk in them? What shoes are you supposed to wear? Don't I look like a grandma? It's funny, because to me midi skirts are a total no-brainer: they're comfortable, timeless, and unexpectedly sexy. I do think there are a few handy guidelines, though - so here you go, world. A few notes on midis. 

First, let's nail the definition. A midi skirt hits about halfway between your knees and your ankles. People get this wrong all the time. For example, while I am super proud of Abercrombie for starting to offer skirts that are longer than 4 inches, this is not a midi. I can see that model's knee, guys. A midi is halfway between a pencil and a maxi. Got it? Good. 

Now, a little history (sourced from College Fashion and The Atlantic). The midi was major in the conservative, graceful 40s, but quickly disappeared as the abandon of the 60s rolled through and everyone's hems shot up. The miniskirt crossed the Atlantic and hit the states in the mid 60s, and it completely took over the market. Minis ruled the airwaves for years, despite a concerted effort by some of the fashion establishment, including Women's Wear Daily, to try to bring midis back in the early 70s. WWD even banned miniskirts in it's offices in 1968. Diana Vreeland countered back from the Vogue camp, proclaiming that "...the miniskirt looks delicious in the summer with the right legs and the right girl." A characteristically pointed and qualifying endorsement from one of the queens of fashion? Yep. That aside, the battle was brewing. People wanted to be free & wild in minis, but stores and the establishment wanted midis in everyone's closets. 

Image via Go Fug Yourself

Image via Go Fug Yourself

It was the beginning of a battle between consumers, designers, and the fashion camp that would last for years. San Francisco feminist magazine Rags vocalized what many shoppers were thinking when they went to buy minis and were confronted with racks full of full-length skirts: "...the industry needed new economic life... so Paris created le midi...the Midi has built in obsolescence... [it is] cumbersome and matronly." [Source: the Reading Eagle] Many people saw the midi as fashion oppression, which I get and respect. Midis have always been polarizing, but I personally find them more comfortable and freeing than almost any other garment. You can do anything in them, and wear them everywhere. A skin-tight column midi could help you channel Beyonce. A flowy floral one could make you feel like DVF. 

I love em so much that I wore a midi skirt every day last week, and I want to tell you how to rock it too!

Dress: Banana Republic | Sunglasses: Forever21 | Sandals: GAP | Tote: Cuyana | Jacket: Anthropologie (similar here)

Dress: Banana Republic | Sunglasses: Forever21 | Sandals: GAP | Tote: Cuyana | Jacket: Anthropologie (similar here)

How many outfits can you wear from the office directly to the beach?! Super casual sandals look unexpectedly great with a dramatic midi, as long as they are in mint condition. 

Dress: Anthropologie | Button down: Old Navy | Shoes: GAP | Tote: Cuyana | Headscarf: Forever 21

Dress: Anthropologie | Button down: Old Navy | Shoes: GAP | Tote: Cuyana | Headscarf: Forever 21

This midi dress is four years old and I still can't get enough. See it here in a post from 2013. I tied a chambray top over it to keep the chill away, and it also accents the waist. This is a great trick if you feel like a midi won't give you enough shape.

Dress: Pretty Penny vintage | Slip: H&M | Shoes: Dr Scholl's Shoes | Belt: vintage | Tote: Cuyana 

Dress: Pretty Penny vintage | Slip: H&M | Shoes: Dr Scholl's Shoes | Belt: vintage | Tote: Cuyana 

Many of the best midis I've ever found are vintage - this purple one takes the cake. It's a gorgeous sheer silk, but didn't come with a slip or button closure - so I had to improvise. If you find a great vintage gem that doesn't have a slip, check the back of your closet for a simple tank dress you can repurpose. Or, be totally bold and wear it sheer - get it, girl. (Who needs a mini to look sexy?)

In case you need a little more inspiration, here's some images from my Pinterest

xoxo,

-Marie 

Plaid clad in Los Angeles

Denim jacket: Anthropologie (similar here) | Blouse and shorts: Old Navy (shorts available here) | Tote: Cuyana (available here) | Sandals: Lucky (similar here)

Denim jacket: Anthropologie (similar here) | Blouse and shorts: Old Navy (shorts available here) | Tote: Cuyana (available here) | Sandals: Lucky (similar here)

This weekend I went to LA to visit my sister & her husband, and had a total blast. I have never felt particularly comfortable in LA before, but this past weekend showed me a side of the town I'd never seen. We explored downtown LA and stopped at Grand Central Market, did BBQ and karaoke in Koreatown, and strolled the beaches and canals of Venice - all in addition to goofing around in the hot tub in their backyard and cooking dinner on their grill. I could not have asked for a more perfect weekend. 

I wore this plaid combo on a walk to Paper or Plastik Cafe. (Where I had the most DELICIOUS lavender chai latte - - seriously, go try it.)

Plaid is the easiest pattern to mix and match, in my opinion. Any color palette or size ratio you choose is going to work as long as you're spunky enough to pull it off. Normally I'd have done my hair and worn a bright red lip, but this was the morning after, so....messy hair and no makeup won out.

Here are a few more plaid pieces I'm loving - perfect for picnics, road trips, and lounging in hammocks. 

xoxo, 

-Marie 

7 DIY projects I'd tackle this weekend (if I had a single crafty bone in my body)

I'll be up front: I am NOT crafty. You'd think that the combo of my passion for vintage, my love of art, and my deep respect for up/recycling would lead to crafting prowess...but alas. I have zero attention span or follow-through when it comes to at-home craft projects. (Who has time to walk to the craft store and buy all this shit? Who has 6 hours to set aside on a weekend for total solitude and creative serenity? Who manages to keep calm when your beautiful art projects inevitably turn into strange, malformed Pinterest fails?? If you do please immediately share your secrets with the class.) That doesn't mean I don't like to ogle cool craft projects online and imagine that one day I could find the focus needed to complete one.....

Here are 7 gorgeous DIYs that I've pinned that I may someday have the dedication to actually make happen. 

DIY Hanging copper hat rack, via A Pair & A Spare
I love how simple & functional this is. Right now my hats sit on the corner of a floor mirror, which means they sometimes get squashed and misshapen against the wall. As a former visual merchandiser I love the idea of clothes/hats as display. 

DIY Tassel Embellishments, via CommonThread
These tassels would be great in a million ways: key chains, backpack charms, napkin rings...honestly I would even turn them into earrings. So cool.

DIY Jeweled Heels, via HonestlyWTF
I'd feel like a queen clomping around in these beauties - they could compliment a midi skirt or elevate my faded Levi's. And I have plenty of vintage clip-ons that could be repurposed as shoe embellishments. 

DIY Braided camera strap, via Almost Makes Perfect
I would love to attach something so beautiful to the DSLR I bought last fall. A strap this pretty could even make my camera less cumbersome to carry (sometimes the strap it came with scratches my neck if I carry it too long.)

Woven Necklace DIY, via A Beautiful Mess
This necklace could be executed a million ways depending on the vibe you wanted - I'd make it with polymer clay in muted brights (oranges, teals, light pinks....). Or possibly thick, clear glass beads for a minimalist effect. 

Glamorous Gilded Mug, via Apartment Therapy
(originally from Garland of Grace, which seems to now be out of commission) 
Though the original source on how to make these mugs seems to be offline, I think it's done with painter's tape, gold sharpies, and as much precision as one can muster. Humble materials but they look so luxe! I'd love to fill my kitchen cabinets with these. 

DIY Wooden centerpiece boxes, via Tell Love and Party
I'd make 6-7 of these in different sizes and line my windowsills with them - they'd also be beautiful as herb boxes. 

All of these images & projects were found on Pinterest - come through and see what else I'm pinning!

xoxo,

-Marie