The new length

Minis are out. Over the knees are in. That’s what Vogue told me. Not sure I’m entirely taking it on board, though.

I could live with the mid-length pencil skirt (Beyonce’s ample bummage made the concept acceptable for millions), but today’s new length involves an A-line *shudder*

I just love a short length (!) I love putting a sparkly mini on with a chunky knit in the winter months – it’s a warm and sexy win-win situation. I love wearing weeny skirts with thick, black tights; nothing untoward is on show but everything good is enhanced. And I adore sticking on a 60s-esque babydoll dress with my thigh-length boots and pretending I’m Jean Shrimpton.

I’m a fairly small woman, y’see, 5ft4 (on a good day) with a slight build (I occasionally wear my six year old’s jacket). Much as I’d love them, I do not possess particularly long legs, which is part of the deal when you’re a short arse, and a mini skirt is about the only way I get to convince the world that my thighs are any longer than a Cheese String (they are definitely wider than said processed fromage snack, but that’s another story).

Without a mini I’m like a resident of Munchkin City. Where maxi dresses afford the opportunity to cheat (it’s all about the sky-high wedges), a mid length dress leaves nothing to the imagination. Heels look frumpy unless they cost at least a grand, ankle boots look ridiculous unless you’ve got a mile of shin to show off, and knee-length boots make me think of a 1970s Kays catalogue – or the not-fit-one-out-of-Cagney-and-Lacey. There is no sex appeal going on there, ladies.

So, to hear that I have to work this new, challenging hem ain’t music to my ears. The very thought of trying to be glam with a skirt grazing my calf muscles fills me with dread. And I don’t think I’m the only one. This month SJP and Kylie – even more diminutive than me (just) – have defied the fashion police and got their thighs out on the red carpet. Good on them, I say.

If I do decide to brave the new length, I will need to work hard on the shoes (I reckon a 5″ platform is the only footwear that will do me any favours). And I’ll have to hide my minis from view, so I’m not even tempted. I will also add socks (a la Marc Jacobs to the right) which seems to help.

So far, only a few items have taken my fancy. Vivienne Westwood’s Londres bustle back skirt is undoubtedly flattering and will make your wardrobe look chic for the next 100 years.

I can also live with Oscar de la Renta’s wool wrap dress which has an understated sort of charm about it.

The midi-skirt at Warehouse will just about let you get away with ankle boots (unless you dip under 5ft2) and Karen Millen’s ruffle neck nude dress is uber-glam in spite of the length.

Finally, Mango prolly have some of the nicest mid-lengths on the market. Check their New York cowl dress, flared maxi skirt, folk dress, Blondy dress, and the lush paisley boho dress.

I will try, but come December, betcha I’m back to doing the school run in a cut that borders on the indecent.

Louis Vuitton does 50s mid-lengths:

Written by Johanna Payton