This spring, the easiest way to tap into the retro movement is by introducing a high-waist skirt to your wardrobe. It can be a formal piece with strict lining and mobility or one imitating the playful silhouette of the ‘50s. This trend has taken a plunge into the nostalgic ocean of the 1950s, while staying true and proud to the modern aesthetic of 2012 fashion trends.

The Gatsby buzz in the fashion industry brought with it an inundated basket of variations in the 1920s fashion, one of them being the drop waist. However, the high-waist skirts for spring 2012 create a notable contrast against the drop waist, giving you all the more reason to embrace the trend. The high-waist skirt has a decorous appeal to it, with its stiff silhouette and versatile fabrics. This piece of clothing will prove to be the most amending and adaptable piece of clothing in your wardrobe, this season, and you need to keep reading after the jump to understand why.

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How the high-waisted skirt makes you look great

“Why sweat at the gym when your waist can be defined, sculpted and shaped with a single piece of clothing?” an argument only a fashion girl would raise… And truly so, this spring trend is all about outright vanity; if you have it, you better flaunt it.

Acquiring an hourglass silhouette by the means of clothes seems to be a hit amongst women, much credited to the Marilyn Monroe phenomenon, and there are very few items of clothing that can help you achieve that. Women in the fifties used the high-waist skirt to parade their voluptuous assets, and women today are aiming to do the same.

high waisted full skirt
High waisted full skirt at Nina Ricci, S/S ’12

A high-waist skirt wraps your body in its province like a cocoon; whether it’s an A-line skirt or a straight-cut tailored pencil skirt. The concentration is diverted back to the waistline with ribbed fabric, elastic band or a belt-like appearance. In an instant, your legs appear longer, your waist looks tinnier and your posture gets a boost. What more could you ask for?

Complimentary trends

The high-waist skirt is not an independent fellow; he requires more support from his colleagues than you can imagine. As this is an outfit-focused trend, you can’t talk about it without mentioning the other key players in the game. We take a look at some of other spring 2012 trends which can be paired with the high-waist skirt, as seen on the runway.

High-waist skirt x 1950s revival

Miuccia Prada’s spring collection put the high-waist skirt under a rockabilly light. The entire runway show titled towards the 1950s, down to the hairstyle and makeup, but the deal-breaker were the skirts in the show. This Prada girl aptly epitomised ladylike elegance whether it was the A-line high-waist pleat skirts or sheath-like version.

high waisted pleat skirt
High waisted pleat skirt at Prada, S/S ’12

Sticking to a monochromatic colour palette, the pieces in Elie Saab’s spring / summer collection didn’t quite hum the ‘50s-revival lullaby, but they rocked to the tunes of hyper femininity. Despite the waistline remaining high and cinched-in for most pieces, skinny belts were used to outline the mid-section even further.

high waisted tailored skirt
High waisted pencil skirt at Elie Saab, S/S ’12

High-waist skirt x Crop top

Mark our words: this combination is going to create a sensation amongst street style leaders and your personal wardrobe, this spring. The crop top / tube top demands diligent diet disciplines, but if you team it with a high-waist skirt, you might be able to forgo the lower abdominal crunches, for now anyway.

Once again, this incredibly sensual and flirtatious combination was seen on the Prada runway. The elastic band around the waist augmented the structure of the vertical silhouette. If retro-bombshell is what you’re after for this season, follow the protocol of Prada’ spring / summer 2012. It is glam at the best of its abilities.

high waisted pencil skirt
High waisted straight-cut skirt at Prada, S/S ’12

Having lingerie on the mind, Nina Ricci’s spring collection also followed the high-waist skirt and crop top memo, but with an alluringly sensuous twist. Designer Peter Copping used visible bra tops as the chief component of the outfit, and styled them against the demure likings of a high-waist skirt. While the skirts concealed all sightings of a knee, the body-hugging lace and velvet fabric oozed all kinds of glam.

fish tail high waist skirt
High waisted fishtail skirt at Nina Ricci, S/S ’12

High-waist skirt x Androgyny

It’s highly ironical to mention skirts when talking about the androgyny trend for spring 2012, but Carven’s spring / summer 2012 collection helps us illustrate our point. This look has the key elements of androgyny – the oversized blazer and the detachable collar – but it’s the blown-up leather skirt that seals the deal with a strong stamp of femininity. This looks isn’t about defining the waist or enhancing the woman’s assets, which makes it even more fitting to the rules of androgyny.

The hindsight here is the replacement of pants with a high-waist skirt for this branch of androgyny.

high waisted leather skirt
High waisted leather skirt at Carven, S/S ’12

Thakoon’s multicultural androgyny also hits bull’s eye with the flouncy printed silk skirt suit and fedora hat. The silhouette is still as girly as ever, especially with peplum in sight, but the lapels, collared shirt and cuff links steer the wheel away.

full skirt androgynous
Full skirt and blazer at Thakoon, S/S ’12

High-waisted skirt: how to wear it?

With so many alterations to the trend, adapting it to your spring / summer wardrobe might prove to be more challenging than usual. This trend has more to it than a clear-cut direction to shop straight out of a collection catalogue. The high-waist skirt is about how to style pieces together and work with your individual body types.

Here are some of our tips on how to pick the best version for you.

  • To start with, pick another trend from the spring 2012 trend books that you’d like to style the high-waist skirt with. It can be summer layering, androgyny, sports couture or metallic (see Balmain SS12 for inspiration). A high-waist skirt doesn’t give solo performances; it needs assistance and this where you’d ideally start.

high waisted mini skirt
High waisted mini skirt at Balmain, S/S ’12

  • The length of the skirt is varied this season. It depends on the occasion you’re styling the look for. For a high tea or brunch affair, go for one centimeter above or just brushing the top of the knee; specifically if it’s a poodle chiffon skirt. Go bold and mini-length for a night out in town. There’s also an array of options before you when picking the shape of the high-waist skirt – sharp and tailored or voluminous and girly.
  • Unlike its earlier revival, you don’t have to tuck-in the blouse or top. This spring, leave the top out and belt it over the skirt for extra precision. Don’t be afraid to wear a blazer over a singlet and high-waist skirt – this trend renewal has broken all the previously established rules.
  • Pair cleverly; don’t mix sheer layering with a mini-skirt, for instance. Categorise the trends you prefer for the season and work with them.
  • If skirts aren’t your thing then go for high-waist tailored shorts. An example of this is seen on the Carven spring 2012 runway. If going for high-waist shorts, keep the length short (mid-thigh and well-fitted), otherwise it’ll look a confused version of shorts and pants.
  • Don’t be afraid to mix pattern on pattern or bold colours together. It’s a trend that deserves a whole lot of fun styling.
  • You can accessorise with a belt over the skirt and cinch the waist even more so.

For more inspiration on how to style the high waisted skirt trend, direct from the runways, visit the above gallery.

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