I I don’t want to wear very short skirts, but I don’t want to look like an old-fashioned interwar governess either. Is it too much to ask? You wouldn’t have thought that. It seems entirely reasonable to expect there’s an inch or two of sartorial middle ground somewhere between being a bare-thighed minx this season. Miu Miu Miniskirt and a mousey wallflower moon with droopy hemlines trailing in its wake. Doesn’t seem like too much to ask, does it? A skirt that looks modern, without being short.
I wish I was a short-skirted person. And I really tried, I promise. But I don’t like my knees, at least not in flats, and I can only rarely wake up in a pair of high heels these days. I realize this is a hopelessly old-fashioned lack of body positivity and I should probably shut up, but I’ve always been incapable of lying, so here we are. You can’t be trendy all the time.
It’s not that it’s hard to find a long skirt. On the contrary, they are everywhere. Miniskirts have made a comeback to the catwalks over the past two years, but for most of the decade hemlines have hovered around mid-calf level.
When the midi skirt became fashionable a few years ago, it was, for a time, an exciting and experimental new look. A longer skirt felt arty and alternative, after all those years of straight skirts just above the knee, or pleated A-line skirts, or knee-length pencil skirts. Longer skirts were romantic, free spirited and a bit mysterious. But after five years of you and every other woman in your office wearing a long, tiered skirt paired with sneakers and a sweatshirt adorned with random French words, it’s hard to keep the sense of romance and mystery alive. .
So I’m thrilled to announce that the next big thing in fashion is the pointy but not short skirt. The bohemian tiered maxi skirt is on the way out, and the sleek and chic maxi skirt is on its way. This look made its fashionable debut on the Paris catwalk earlier this year, for The Saint Laurent fall collection. Long, pristine ivory silk skirts were worn with stiletto boots or dazzling evening sandals. There were no spriggy floral prints to make skirt fabric accessible (or even practical, come to that), and no white sneakers for all the moms. The chic chignons and black sunglasses added to the feeling of new attitude but, more importantly, it was just a different skirt: plain rather than printed, with pointed corners rather than gathered rows.
A more angular silhouette helps give more energy to a long skirt. No tiers, no gathers, no ruffles or trim. That doesn’t mean you’ll be hobbling around in a cylinder of fabric: bias-cut fabric gives movement without looking messy. You can also look for wraparound shapes or side slits. If you like prints, try something graphic or animal print. No meadow flowers, no toile de jouy. Also consider the fabric. No crumpled cheesecloth, nothing sagging. Shiny satins or tough leathers are a better bet.
One of the joys of a maxi skirt is that heels are strictly optional – only for those who really fancy strutting around in a pair on a night out. But a heeled boot is a great partner for the pointier long skirt. Just that little lift can make a look sexier.
One day, I hope to be fashion-forward enough to wear a miniskirt and flats. But for now, the pointed, not short skirt definitely looks like progress.
Model: Mei Mei at Milk. Hair and makeup: Carol Morley at Carol Hayes Management. Black body: £85, iris and ink from the outline. Skirt: from a selection, Hayley Menzies.com. Boots, £230, Boden. Upcycled earrings, £195, Loveness Lee