There’s a concept in fashion called “skirt theory”—the idea that hemlines rise and fall with the tides of the economy. This isn’t exactly rooted in science, though its general acceptance (the roaring ‘80s ushered in the micro mini, the more austere ‘90s saw ankle-skimming slip dresses become all the rage) speaks to the ways in which fashion is informed by, and informs, the broader culture. So what does it say about our cultural moment that microscopic minis are back? Perhaps nothing more than the fact that after a strange and unparalleled year we are currently looking for clothes that are playful, fantastical, and fun.
Few pieces fit that brief like super-short hemlines, which is perhaps why mini dresses, mini skirts, and mini shorts have all been playing on designers’ minds this last year. At Armani, Giorgio showed flashy minidresses and micro shorts over sheer tights with towering heels. At Miu Miu, Miuccia Prada showed sporty knitted shorts and teeny tiny embellished mini skirts (including a particularly ravishing final look, worn by emerging fashion star Lila Grace Moss, daughter of Kate).
In this new iteration, the ‘mini’ trend is paired with demure silhouettes, colours, and cuts to make for a more compelling final look. For example, take a micro houndstooth printed dress by Maje, then layer it over a bohemian-style puffy-sleeved white blouse. Or pair a tweed mini skirt with a matching suit jacket, for a final ensemble that reads like an homage to ‘90s-era Versace (or Cher Horowitz’s timeless Clueless ensemble). Country Road’s bold, Victorian-inspired statement blouses are equally balanced out with A-line mini skirts, just add semi-sheer tights and an embellished clutch.
The trick to this trend is proportion play. Balance out minimalist minis with volume and structure up top—be it a boxy statement blazer or oversized shirting. Ultimately, this look is about accentuating the leg, and on that front sheer tights are a perennial winner. Experiment with delicate embroidery and prints (polka dots are a winner for evening; bright white for daywear), looking to style star Alexa Chung for inspiration on this front. We recommend adding a heel for added height where possible, be it one of the season’s hyper on-trend kitten heels, or a more glamorous towering stiletto. All that’s left to do is brave the cooler weather—but when you look this good, why wouldn’t you?
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