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  • basically reinvented in the ’70s for the woman who was too wimpy to wear a mini. (And then again in the ’80s for mums who weren’t imaginative enough to wear anything else). Then there is the other deep-rooted issue I have – those old school rules kicking back in – that there is no skirt length that can be improved upon than that which falls exactly at the knee. Well. Wrong on all accounts, but I guess one lives and learns.

    The Midi Skirt. It has been making a somewhat timid appearance on the runway for three seasons now, but this time around it makes no apologies whatsoever. The reason it has finally seduced? It taps in perfectly to the whole ‘cool-prim’ trend, as showcased on the likes of Keira Knightley, Marion Cotillard and Alexa Chung. The look has two variations. Included in the first is the pencil, or “hobble” as it was called around the turn of the last century, when a hem was so narrow it actually impeded walking. Worn with a long, fine-knit sweater (by

    Equipment or Theory) on top, it really is the easiest look for those of us who might not have the perfect waist.

    The first designer I am heading to is L’Wren Scott, who you would think – because she is so tall – doesn’t really design for shorties like me. But not true, not true at all. There is also Stella McCartney’s midnight-blue peplum dress, which perfectly balances out the pencil-ness of the hem. If a pencil feels too restricting, there is also the A-line midi, which I agree couldn’t sound less appealing on paper, but you should see the way Lily Aldridge rocked Michael Kors’ baby-pink-trimmed beige one with a matching baby-pink sweater. So ladylike, yet so cool. The other
    midi myth is that this look is so hard on the calves it needs a high

    “The MIDI makes no apologies whatsoever... It taps PERFECTLY into the ‘COOL-PRIM’ trend”

    heel. Not so: a pointy flat shoe (see Tabitha Simmons) will actually lengthen your legs.

    The second way to do it is with a full skirt teamed with a fitted top or shirt tucked into the waistband (marvelous if you have a waist, a little trickier if you don’t). The person in my mind who does this look best is Laura Bailey. I am thinking of her in a baby-blue sweater with a sugar-almond-pink dirndl midi-skirt and white platform sandals. But she wears this look just as well with stockier heels and ankle socks. I love an ankle sock and a slightly orthopedic sandal (such as Jil Sander’s) with a midi skirt, though you might have to look like Bailey to carry it off.

    Oh, Lord, if only I went in at the middle, the flared midi skirts I would wear. The black leather one from The Row; the navy-edged black one by Michael van der Ham; and what about the dipped-hem style by Vionnet? More than anything, though, I am missing that white silk kilt. Silly me. I do hope you benefit from my mistake.

    How to


    long tops, cool shapes and LOW HEELS are the new way to wear


    Don’t be fooled: this midi shape is very flattering.


    A dipped hem adds effortless ease to a midi pencil skirt.


    Lengthen your legs by teaming with chic flats.

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