Middling length

Stop the presses, ladies, the new skirts are here. The spring 2011 fashions have arrived just in time to put an end to that confounding dilemma: mini or maxi?

Chloe, from Style.com

Past seasons have sat with extremes: the mini skirt, ranging between above the knee to dangerously short, and the maxi skirt, an ankle-grazing option that can swing elegant, bohemian or even punk. There was a mild flirtation with full, swingy fifties/early sixties-style knee-length skirts, but just like that time I fell for “The Leader of the Pack,” it wasn’t meant to last.

These new midi skirts range from just below the knee to mid calf. They are fitted and Pink-Ladies-style sexy, pleated and flowy or alarmingly sheer and paired with granny panties. Which only works on the runway, and sometimes not even then.

Though this new length can be quite difficult to pull off – mid-calf length is not the most flattering to women or legs – the number of options makes me think this is a challenge that can be won. Some, like Chloé’s pleated, cocoa-colored option, call to mind an extremely elegant ballerina. And the movement of the skirt would prevent the hemline from cutting the wearer in half and making her resemble some sort of mushroom.

Chanel, from Style.com

Others, however, are less flattering. Chanel’s petal-pink dress with ruffled sleeves and underskirt evokes a baby’s christening gown rather than couture. The trapezoidal silhouette doesn’t do anyone any favors either. Seems this middle length would be most flattering if worn with something fitted up top, just to remind others that you do, indeed, have a figure under there.

Multiple spring runways also paired these skirts with ballet flats, again emphasizing the ballerina look. But unless you are six feet tall or have ankles like popsicle sticks, you are in danger of doing the mushroom. Heels might be better – like Tyra always says, best to look tall, even if you aren’t. The resulting look would make Audrey Hepburn proud.

So, rather than swing from long to short, let’s settle for somewhere in the middle. Perhaps this new length will bring balance to things other than just our fluctuating hemlines.

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