THE NEW SKIRT LENGTH

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - Style -

TAre you ready to go longer?

here’s one thing I don’t wear in cold weather: Skirts. Wool pants, leather leggings, jeans – I stick to any­thing that (a) doesn’t re­quire tights and (b) can eas­ily be worn with an­kle boots or tucked into knee-high ones. But now I’m sud­denly crav­ing skirts, specif­i­cally longer, to-the-knee skirts that are fem­i­nine, fit­ted, and fairly dressed up.

I blame this de­sire on Jack McCol­lough and Lazaro Her­nan­dez of Proenza Schouler. It was the first look at their Au­tumn show that got me; I knew I had to have the boxy white coat over a black pen­cil skirt, paired with low d’Or­say pumps. The en­sem­ble had the ele­men­tal sil­hou­ette of the late-’50s and early-’60s clothes but also a stark ar­chi­tec­tural bent, com­bined with mod­ernist dense wool fab­rics, that placed it squarely in 2013.

In Paris, the Cé­line show in­ten­si­fied my grow­ing ob­ses­sion. Phoebe Philo’s cream stretch wool skirts – fit­ted at the waist and el­e­gantly flared just be­low the knee – of­fered a thor­oughly en­tic­ing pro­por­tion. I knew that I would have to fig­ure out how to work at least one Cé­line skirt into my closet.

But ro­tat­ing your wardrobe from be­ing pants-cen­tric to skirt-cen­tric opens a sar­to­rial can of worms. Ev­ery­thing has to change. My pants sil­hou­ette was like an up­side­down pyra­mid: loose on top (a blazer and an un­tucked blouse or a cashmere crew­neck), then skin­nier (jeans or leggings), and end­ing in a point with stiletto an­kle boots.

With the longer skirt, new rules ap­ply. First, it’s cru­cial that your hem hits your leg at just the right spot. Above the knee is not new and doesn’t count here. The sweet spot on ev­ery woman is just be­low the knee, where your leg curves in be­fore the calf be­gins. If you find a skirt that’s longer, hem it. I have seen A-list style set­ters go a cou­ple of inches longer but hon­estly, it doesn’t work. Even on them. Once you get the length right, you’ll have to re­pro­por­tion ev­ery­thing else. Start with a top that ei­ther tucks in or ends not too far be­low your waist. (You need the def­i­ni­tion un­less you are Gisele and look great in a po­tato sack.) A slim knit turtle­neck is my favourite, and once I find the right one I’m buy­ing it in black, white, grey, and navy.

Next, re­boot your coat op­tions. What looks new­est is a hip-length or an above-theknee coat that’s boxy or co­coon-like. I love the short, round-shoul­dered ver­sions that Alexan­der Wang pre­miered at Ba­len­ci­aga. The sexy cosi­ness of the en­velop­ing shapes at Cé­line, Rochas, and Marc Ja­cobs are also on my radar. They look par­tic­u­larly warm, and af­ter this past, never-end­ing win­ter, would be the per­fect an­ti­dote to chase away chills.

On to shoes. You can still work a clas­sic pump with a pen­cil skirt, or try to snag Proenza’s new, lower-heeled d’Or­says. I like the idea of men’s-style penny loafers with a pen­cil skirt, which is how my mum wore them in col­lege; Saint Lau­rent and Bot­tega Veneta make beau­ti­ful, last-for­ever ver­sions. Tights, how­ever, don’t work with loafers. So bun­dle up in your coat and flash some leg. Another no-no is wear­ing stilet­tos with a flared skirt. It’s too dated, too pre­cious. You’ll want the new bootie, which has a chunky, stacked-wood heel and cov­ers your an­kle. While the pale ce­ladon ones at Cé­line are grow­ing on me, I’m not sure what else I can pair them with. Chloé, though, has navy stacked-heel an­kle boots that are a dream. Plus, navy is the new black. Sold.

Cé­line Au­tumn/ Win­ter ’13 Proenza Schouler Au­tumn/ Win­ter ’13 Ba­len­ci­aga Au­tumn/ Win­ter ’13 Her­mès Au­tumn/ Win­ter ’13 Marni Au­tumn/ Win­ter ’13

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