The Case of the Emerald Green Pencil Skirt

It was a grey November day ending in “y” and I was just a downtrodden dame on the qui vive for a chunky slab of upholstery-friendly goodness. After ducking into a cavernous fabric-filled warehouse I was wandering around with the other bedraggled nobodies when a bit of lightweight herringbone sashayed in front of me and demanded my help.

It was the last of a bolt, see, and feared for its life.

“Whatever you do, whatever you buy, make sure to get me out of here,” it pleaded. I gave it my thousand-yard stare. “Don’t leave me here to be turned into teddy bear pinafores!” it hissed, pressing its silky smooth weave against my hand.

I turned my back on its lustrous threads and looked over toward the polyester blends, thinking hard about reality, about bills and bank balances. Could I afford to turn it into a something that would do its magnificent drape justice? Not right now, not a chance.

But it was a deep dark cobalt-flecked green, a green that seemed like it would let me say sayonara to summer and hello to spring.

And me, well, I’m a sucker for a green that isn’t afraid to flaunt a moody blue undertone. It’s just how I’m wired, that’s all, and if anyone’s got a problem with that then I’ve got a bunch of fives I’d like them to meet.

So Emerald ended up in my fabric stash.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not copping to being one of those quilting or seamstress types—drop by my place and you’ll find closets full of towels, not textiles. But maybe I have a few things tucked away in a box, yeah. I keep it lithe and light, grab-n-go. Emerald was #2 in my stash, and I figured it could warm up a certain icy blue tropical wool til I knew what to do with one or the both of ’em.

Spring rolled around and I had other problems, other environments—other fabrics—on my mind. I knew I couldn’t two-time them with Emerald without putting us both at risk. But this fall things had changed again. They always do. After I craned my head pretty good around my closet and scrawled a few notes, I thought, “Why don’t I try to make a go of it with the devil and the deep green sea?”

A pencil skirt seemed just the ticket.

I got together some scratch and went to this doll I know, one who’s gotten me out of a few fabric jams in the past. I asked her what she thought about knocking off an old Theory skirt I had, one with curving seams and double vents in the back that made it easy to strut my stuff. She was into it.

I heard Emerald resisted my plans at first—I guess it’d dreamed big ballgown dreams inside that little closed-up box—but eventually it came to see the choice was easy: a pencil or nothing.

Lightweight, 100% wool herringbone skirt in (blue-flecked) green meets its lining

For all the drama, Emerald turns out to be game as hell: it’s raring to be part of less sedate pairings, but settles down to brown without much fuss.

While I have less sedate pairings in mind, who can resist the Gnome-y pairing of green + brown? (and the trippyness of this ancient print?)

A funny thing happened when I put it on, though—a bit of déjà vu:

I guess reading all the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories when I was 6 left a more lasting impression than I realized

Am I wearing a big ole dollar bill from waist to knee? Yes, but thanks to 2 vents vs 1 center vent, I can move super-freely in it

I have to cite Theory's "Golda" skirt as ye olde precedent for how the skirt's curved seams lead to a double-vented back

I admit I’m getting a kick out of dressing like one of my style icons. So much so I’m wondering if I should buy a purse that lets me channel her amateur-sleuth-fabulousness even more.

Am I kitschy enough to traipse around with a purse made from one of my childhood favorites? Hell ya. And Etsy.com seller Retrograndma tempts me....

I’ll ponder it a while longer, but anyone who’s seen my love of kitsch-smothered accessories knows there’s no need to hire a detective to figure out which way the wind is blowing.

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7 Responses

  1. That’s sweet.
    You’ll be wearing it with everything.

  2. Great pieces… Both skirt and writing! Is Ned getting a casserole for dinner?

  3. How could they let us read mystery at that age? I get the creeps just by looking at the cover.
    Did I get it right: you sew? You actually can to that?
    Wasn’t there at least a spark that whispered “the bear, let me become the bear”?
    btw: I like the word emerald. Also emerald cut as for diamonds. It sounds much nicer than Smaragd. Smaragd sounds like the name of a snake you don’t want to encounter. Whereas emerald always brings Dorothy to my mind. 🙂
    I would probably lack any creative insights and combine the skirt with a white blouse, tucked into the skirt and black boots. preferable with some crystallized loden. This is maybe because mostly any green textile in Austria would be Loden!

    of course, this is not emerald green!

    How is Mr Vix behaving and doing? What does he do while you are sewing the skirt?

  4. Ginger — Thank you!

    I really *will* be wearing it with a ton of what I have (some old like the blazer/print top shown, some new). I had a green cotton skirt for several years and am excited to have this one for cooler temps….

    Buff —

    Thanks! And honey, Nancy just swanned around solving cases and being envied for her brilliance and beauty while her mother-substitute/hired help cheerfully cooked/cleaned, her father gave her everything she wanted, and Ned doted.

    EXACTLY like my life then and now, of course.

  5. Paula —

    Oooooooh dear Ms Paula, you are always so right but now you are so very wrong! I am way too impatient to sew…choosing fabric and debating/collaborating over what to make is as close as I get to the process.

    [The “cheat sheet” of the results is here: https://buildingacolorfullife.wordpress.com/gallery-of-clothing-collabs ]

    Frankly I don’t know how the sewing bloggers have the time and energy to make, photograph, AND write about their projects!

    You and your Smaragd made me hoot. Yes, that word lacks something in the Department of Elegance. But of course English has many an awkward word as well!

    Speaking of cultural differences: Austria + green does have that loden baggage, doesn’t it? And poor green—it apparently gets a bad wrap as being “country” vs “town” in upper-class Europe. More for the plebes such as myself!

  6. You’ll be solving crimes in no time. That is a smart skirt. I do have to warn you that the Hardy Boys might be after you. You can’t look that lovely and not help but attract a clue-seeking boys who appreciate a good tweed. You go, Nancy!;-)

  7. LBR —

    Given my life lately, I think the skirt is smarter than me. Thanks for the compliment and the laugh!

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