Spotting the recurring themes in high-street pieces that achieve the elusive "expensive-looking" status is a favourite pastime of mine (niche, but useful for my job). What strange alchemy has to occur to ensure that something affordable appears high-end? I wondered. What shapes, colours and fits have to combine to create an item that rivals big-name designers?
Well, as you can imagine, the answer isn't straight forward. It's almost impossible to apply a universal rule, however, each season, there tend to be particular motifs—be it a silhouette or fabric—that particularly stand out to me. This season, it has to be pleated fabric.
Sometimes referred to as "plissé" (French for "pleated"), this isn't necessarily a trend that would stand out in a lineup of fashion trends as opposed to say, big collars or platform shoes. Rather, it's a far more quiet, but by no means any less transformative, style. Take a long-sleeve cotton top (so far so basic) but create it in a finely pleated fabric, and voilà—it suddenly looks 10 times more premium.
With nods to Issey Miyake's iconic Pleats Please line, plissé possesses a timeless elegance that can be applied to anything from shirts and skirts to dresses and trousers. I particularly love sustainable brand Esthe's green plissé blouse, which will look so chic when styled with a pair of beige-coloured trousers. This is also a style that you can easily buy secondhand, and I've included a few pieces below to get you started. Keep an eye out for '80s blouses and '90s midi dresses, in particular. Scroll down to see and shop my full edit of pleated summer buys.
Shop My Plissé Fabric Edit
Topshop Blue Plisse Shirred Wrap Dress (£15)
Esthe Green Plisse Blouse (£105)
John Lewis & Partners Mini Plisse Pleat Midi Dress in Black (£69)
Na-Kd Plisse Top With Leopard Print in Brown Co-Ord (£10)
& Other Stories Plisse Wide Leg Trousers in Black (£30)
Mango Pleated Midi Dress (£20)
Mango Pleated Culotte Trousers (£26)
Weekday Priscilla Top (£30)
Weekday Izar Plisse Midi Dress in Light Green (£25)
ASOS Design Plisse Tie Front Jumpsuit in Spot Print (£35)
Vintage 70s Lilac Plisse Pleat Bell Sleeve Kaftan Dress (£59)
Vintage 90's Vivienne Tam Plissé Pleated Maxi Dress S-M (£135)
Dorothy Perkins Tall Black Plisse Palazzo Trousers (£17)
ASOS Design Plisse Maxi Dress With Long Sleeves in Green Floral (£25)
Nasty Gal Plissé Yourself Wrap Tie Blouse (£7)
Vince Belted Crinkled-Satin Midi Dress (£170)
ASOS Design Plisse Mini Dress Wrap Belted in Green Abstract Print (£35)
Up next, the biggest spring/summer 2020 fashion trends to know.
This article originally appeared on Who What Wear
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