I never actually thought long skirts would come back into fashion. I thought they were over in the way pounds, shillings and pence are over and knowing friends’ landline numbers off by heart is over. Over like side-saddle dresses, and bustles. But I was wrong. (It happens.) The long skirt – not just a smidge below the knee, which has always been a thing, but almost to the floor – is vying with Twin Peaks to be to 2015 what Kate Bush was to last year.
In very specific scenarios, long skirts have always been doable. For evenings on holiday, for instance, especially for those of us who are mosquito catnip, they are agreeably loungy. But then the whole point of evenings on holiday is that you just sit outside in a fabulously slothful way, lounging around the table for hours after you’ve finished eating, without having to jump up to pack PE bags or deal with work emails, so you don’t have to worry about whether you’re going to trip over on the stairs. Plus, you’ve got a tan and had loads of sleep, so you look amazing in pyjamas.
But long skirts for real life, for daytime? That’s different. There’s the fear of tripping over, and of looking like an illustration from The Country Diary Of An Edwardian Lady. Health and safety issues first. There are two strategies: either you wear slightly platformed shoes, which give the illusion that the ground is higher than it is and mean you can wear a skirt that doesn’t reach the ground but looks as if it does. If you see what I mean. Or you can look for a skirt such as the one I’m wearing here. It’s the front section of the hem on which you are in danger of stepping – I am assuming you mostly walk forwards – so raising that section up slightly makes striding out a breeze.
The Edwardian Lady issue is trickier. What doesn’t work, for example, is a jacket, or the whole thing becomes a bit suffragette. The ambitious fashion week street style types wear long skirts with almost-as-long floaty coats on top, and it can look awesome. But, like I say, ambitious. Easier is to go soft and T-shirty on top, which heads off the stout-matron effect you get with a jacket and makes you look relaxed in an “Oh, I wear surprising trends all the time” kind of way. The long skirt is back. But, this time, it won’t trip us up.
Photograph: David Newby for the Guardian. Styling: Melanie Wilkinson. Hair and makeup: Sharon Ive at Carol Hayes Management.
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