Saturday, September 12, 2009

Fashion Trends This Autumn--- Black and Short For Your Legs

You would think, would you not, that now, more than ever, fashion would be straining its every muscle, sinew and tendon to produce wearable, irresistible clothes. But what do we find? Black, black and short. At least no one can say the message isn’t clear.

But honestly, black and short? Brevity, as Dorothy Parker famously wrote, is the soul of lingerie. We’re not talking about lingerie, however, we’re talking about skirts and dresses and an entire industry that appears, commercially, to have signed a collective suicide pact. Christian Dior said that a woman’s knees were the least appealing part of her anatomy. And he knew more about fashion than Parker. Or was it Coco Chanel who said it? Sources conflict, which just shows how true the sentiment is. She knew more about fashion than either of them.

Do not misread me. I like black. I like short. But this is blackness and shortness reductio ad absurdum. Retail therapy in autumn 2009 is not really therapy at all, but an exercise in ingenuity.

I get it, though. I think we all do. Black is back in fashion (it never really goes away, but lurks in the shadows, waiting to engulf your wardrobe), short is youthful. But there are other kinds of fashion, as there are other kinds of youthfulness. So go easy on the black and seek out some of the other shades that are mounting a counter-assault (or, to be more accurate, a gentle remonstration) on the Master Colour. Teal, purple, berry shades and camels are out there if you look. Mixing them with chocolate, tan and grey looks especially strong and modern.

Short is trickier, especially since a lot of it is also shapeless. This is contrariness taken to a new level. If you’re small, curvy and your legs aren’t your best feature (roughly 70 per cent of us), it’s insanity.

So here’s what you do. First, keep reminding yourself that short is not an obligatory route to looking younger. Short only makes you look younger if your legs are up to the job. Second, don’t buy short because you’ve had it with traipsing around the stores for something that covers your knees, and you can always wear your shortie as a top. You can wear it as a top, but you weren’t looking for a top, you were looking for a dress or a skirt, which you may find in Marks & Spencer (one of the few places that offers an option on lengths), or by spending north of £900 on an RM by Roland Mouret.

With that thought dangling tantalisingly, let’s proceed to minidresses worn as tops. There’s nothing wrong with the idea in principle (provided they’re skinny trousers), but it’s an effect you may not want to replicate every day, particularly on those occasions when you want to look pin-sharp.

You could buy a skirt in a large size (for the extra length) and get it taken in, but that doesn’t work with all cuts. Alternatively, you can fall back in love with trousers.

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