The miniskirt has made a welcome comeback, says Phoebe Watt.
From transgender models landing major beauty campaigns to a greater variety of ethnicities represented on the catwalks, fashion has, in recent years, come a long way in addressing its deep-rooted diversity issues. If the SS18 shows were anything to go by, however, sizeism is still rampant; ‘plus-size’ models are still more novelty than norm. Generally speaking, we’re not here for it. There was, however, one teeny, tiny item we weren’t so saddened to see sashaying down the spring runways over and over again, and that’s the miniskirt.
Yes, short hemlines are back, and as the temperature has been rising and the office air con suddenly goes kaput, despite freezing us to death all winter, we couldn’t be more excited.
Let’s backtrack a minute though — miniskirts in the office, you say? I don’t work at a gentlemen’s club, or a sexually-charged law firm in the late 90s à la Ally McBeal. Nor do I have a gentlemen’s club-worthy bod, or look like late-90s Calista Flockhart. To which we say, get with the programme. Not only are there so many ways to style a mini that make it office appropriate, they are a billion times more flattering than that matronly midi-skirt you’ve been hiding under of late.
The new rules
It’s all about creating an optical illusion. Unlike the aforementioned midi, which tends to cut you off at the thickest part of the calf, the mini is probably going to end at the slimmest part of your thigh. Of course, if you’re less concerned with looks, and more with propriety, we hear you. But just because the last time you wore a miniskirt you paired it with a flimsy cami and called it a day (RIP toned teenage arms), doesn’t mean this is the only formula you can follow. If anything, you should forget everything you once associated with the item — including Nicole Richie, pre-makeover. The miniskirt might be back, but it comes with a few more rules.
Number one? Pay attention to proportions. You’re going to be showing a lot of leg, so keep things covered elsewhere. A loose, lightweight sweater, a perfectly pressed silk shirt, or a sleeveless top with a high neck are all on-point choices for work, as well as after work activities.
As far as fabrics, anything goes, but you’ll want to detour around Cheapsville. Our picks are leather (or a convincing pleather), collegiate-inspired textures like corduroy and houndstooth, or for a party-ready option, playful prints with fun embellishments (faux-snakeskin! Sequins!), as long as they look expensive — think Monte Carlo, not Vegas. The same goes for whatever you wear up top; luxe natural fibres like silk, cashmere and cotton are your best bets.
Still sounding too casual for your workplace? Consider then, taking a leaf from the Princess Diana fashion bible in a formal yet still feminine skirt suit. Hey, it was good enough for Buckingham Palace, and the dusky pink separates that local label Ruby has put forward for SS18 certainly get our royal seal of approval. Alternatively, channel your inner WASP in a boucle twinset that would have made Coco Chanel proud. You’ll score extra points with Coco’s successor, Karl Lagerfeld, for modernising this ensemble with Perspex footwear.
For the weekend, a denim mini is a fresh alternative to the distressed denim cut offs you’ve been defaulting to for far too long. Make yours high-waisted to avoid the skirt-belt look favoured by Paris and Nicole circa The Simple Life, and elevate the look with something elegant or edgy — think a well-cut blazer or statement sleeves.
The miniskirt’s revival is not about you reliving your glory days, after all. We don’t support ageism any more than we do sizeism, but the fact of the matter is you’ve evolved over the past 10-15 years, and so (we hope!) has your personal style. You’re no longer driving a Toyota Starlet and your coffee order is no longer a white chocolate mocha Frappuccino with an extra chocolate swirl. You’ve moved on to an organic cold drip coffee which sits nicely in the cup-holder of your Lexus (okay fine, Prius), and it looks a whole lot better on you — just as your miniskirt 2.0 will.
Which isn’t to say you can’t have fun with this trend. Remember that Supré ra-ra skirt you once loved so much? Zimmermann just put out the grown-up version, and if you take your styling cues from the Australian brand’s SS18 runway, you’ll be forgoing the boring, racer-back singlet that used to form a key part of this look in favour of a frill-overload. Flirty ain’t your thing? Try something sporty by Maggie Marilyn, sexy by Jacquemas, or grungy by Saint Laurent — brands whose current collections also prove that the miniskirt isn’t the only item on the rebound this season, with short shorts and mini dresses also having major moments. For the latter, a longline coat, cardigan or kimono will provide visual balance and trans-seasonal warmth, while the former paired with a matching jacket can make for a cute suit, or with a cropped cami, a more age-appropriate romper.
If such a thing exists, that is, but to be honest, if we were going to be ageist about any garment, this would be it. You were rocking minis when you were a teen but you wore a romper when you were two. Time to move on… mmkay?
Shop our miniskirt edit below: