A love let­ter to… the skirt suit

Look ’s Max­ine Eggen­berger charts the pair­ing that’s been em­pow­er­ing women for over a cen­tury…

Look (UK) - - FIRST LOOK -

There are a hand­ful of mo­ments in a young girl’s life dur­ing which some­thing or some­one res­onates with her on such a pro­found level that it can change her des­tiny. And that’s what hap­pened when I first laid eyes on, ar­guably, the fiercest and most in­de­pen­dent lady I’d ever seen. Ob­vi­ously, I’m talk­ing about Miss Piggy. Her pen­chant for karate-chop­ping Ker­mit aside, she was a strong role model who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. Nat­u­rally, she had the closet of my dreams, too, packed with feather boas and se­quins. It was, how­ever, her sharp skirt suits that in­spired me to dress up in my grandma’s twin­sets and strut around like I owned the place. As I went on to whet my sar­to­rial ap­petite in the years that fol­lowed, I came to re­alise my ob­ses­sion with the two­piece is deeper rooted in so­ci­ety than The Mup­pets would have had me be­lieve. I now know that it was Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel who, in 1914, was cred­ited with cre­at­ing the first fe­male suit. Chanel repack­aged the menswear sil­hou­ette, for­go­ing trousers in favour of a skirt, and sub­se­quently opened doors for women, who likely didn’t think they’d ever be able to open them. Soon, Jackie Kennedy adopted the com­bi­na­tion as her style sig­na­ture. Later, came 1980s power dress­ing, where women wore trousers as well as skirts: in­deed, it proved to be a time when work­place out­fits be­came less op­pres­sive. Me­lanie Griffith wore them in Work­ing Girl and, of course, I can’t over­look the yel­low check co-ord worn by Ali­cia Sil­ver­stone as Cher in Clue­less, which has be­come one of the most iconic cos­tumes in cin­ema his­tory. To­day, Amal Clooney, Ri­hanna, Naomie Har­ris and a whole host of other girl bosses have made the look their own, and I think – as a toast to wom­ankind – we should all fol­low suit with the high street homages…

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1 Jacket, £39 2 Skirt, £25 Both Miss Sel­fridge 3 Jacket, £55 4 Skirt, £36 Both Top­shop

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