Last Friday night brought with it an impromptu blue-plate special date night in my household. We were starving at 5:30pm, which is a blessing because at that hour tables are readily available nearly everywhere. We decided to go to one of the nicer restaurants in the neighborhood, so we trekked to our closets to change out of our casual clothes.
My husband is a bit of a dandy when it comes to his wardrobe, so when he announced that he was “probably going to get a little fancy,” I took the hint.
After popping the sale tags off, I shimmied into a red, pleated leather skirt that I’ve been dying to test drive. Pleats are yuuuuuuge right now. Leather has been huge for a while. And red is…well, red! I opted to go sans tights since I noticed some of the stems from my spring bulbs starting to poke out of the ground last week, and I figure that’s a solid sign that it is officially appropriate to rock bare legs. I like to think I’m tougher than a flower. And what goes better with red leather and winter white legs than a silk, leopard-print Equipment blouse? Nothing. I completed the ensemble with a vintage cashmere midi-coat and a pair of Louboutin pumps that I adore.
It all sounds pretty lavish, and for me, being a jeans and heels kind of gal, it felt that way, too. It felt even more swanky when the hostess told me and my dandy that we looked great, and two women in the bathroom obsessed over my skirt to the point of mild awkwardness (I told them that Net-A-Porter carries a similar Gucci version…for $4500).
Alas, I must confess…
My leather skirt is pleather, although a nearly indistinguishable imposter. It cost me a whopping $7 at Marshalls. Marshalls is my secret fashion weapon. When I’m bored and uninspired I often venture to the off-price stores. I head directly to the clearance rack because there exist the biggest challenges, and I love a challenge. Often times I find nothing and leave empty handed, but every once in a while I land on something amazing; something that may have been hanging on the rack so long that it came back into style, or that is too avant-garde for the average off-price department store customer. Pleather pleats, anyone? Many times ten dollars and a bit of imagination have provided an absolutely marvelous augmentation to my wardrobe.
I don’t buy everything at Marshalls (ask my husband). But the point is that mixing high and low can be just as stylish as purchasing an entire wardrobe designed by Hedi Slimane. Strategically throwing a plastic skirt or a pair of mom-inspired Levi’s (possibly from the actual nineties!) into the mix feels a little bit like a juicy secret, and it definitely has a hell of a lot more soul.
I know Marshall’s isn’t for everyone, but leather and pleats probably are.
Shop the budget friendly, guilt-free, one-season-only, spill-safe, waterproof, hose-off-able, vegan version: