If you've found yourself in a Zara, Topshop, or H&M within the past year, chances are you've seen garments made out of this swishy, lightweight, micro-pleated material. Often appearing in the form of sheath dresses and tunics, it also shows up in tops, pajama pants, and skirts. The fabric style was made famous by Issey Miyake in the early '90s with his Pleats Please collection (find mesmerizing footage of how pleats like that are created here
). Since then, pleats have been the uniform of Miyake fanatics and art obsessives alike — but they've earned a reputation for being more for Palm Springs retirees than young people. But the "kids" have finally caught on, and you can now find micro-pleats on every rack in every store, sold at every price point.
A few things to note before you wear micro-pleats: Despite being textured, the fabric shows every crease, lump, and bump, so you'll have to pay extra attention to what you're wearing underneath. Additionally, depending on the quality of the pleat, you're going to have to avoid both hot-water washes and machine-drying (if you don't want to end up with a pair of flat pants that are 100x the size you bought). Finally, micro-pleats beg for simple, but exaggerated, silhouettes. Click ahead to see some of their variations, plus examples of pleated outfits that a few street style stars have put together.