How low will you go?

Maxi skirts the Guardian
Fashion, as you know, is a very strange thing, we try not to take it too seriously and have often been heard to say 'Its only fashion, no ones going to die', especially when called to an 'emergency trend meeting' or asked to work ridiculous hours as its catwalk season. But if it didn't occasionally get us excited or surprise us some way, we would probably have given up long ago and be doing something real or worthy (God forbid) by now. Actually I have toyed with that very idea many times, but better the devil, etc etc!!

Anyway as usual, I digress. The problem is, working in fashion the older you get, the more times you have encountered a look or a trend, reworked in varying new guises. This of course, also has its advantages as one is able to impress younger colleagues with a vast knowledge of the key designers of the 80's, influential bands of the 90's and style icons you used to hang out with at clubs (god forbid I ever actually meet any of them now, as they sure as Hell wouldn't know who I am!). 

One cant help feeling a little jaded when the nautical/tea dress/ethnic look is 'on trend' yet again. Putting together colour palettes and trend boards can sometimes feel like ground hog day as you try to pull together yet another take on 'classic tailoring with a twist'. 

When it comes to wearing the trends, I have more than once been heard to say, 'well I certainly wont be wearing anything that looks vaguely 80's, Crystal Carrington wasn't fashionable in 1982 and she certainly isn't now'! Only to find myself a couple of weeks later, strangely drawn to a nipped in waist dress with epaulets and shoulder pads. 

I may not always actually buy into the look or even wear it, but I get it, and would certainly be embracing it on all levels if I were 10 or even 20 years younger. Here lies the problem. How do you wear a trend, or should you even attempt to, if you are over 40?

One such trend which is bubbling under and about to hit the shops big time, is long length maxi skirts and dresses. You may have noticed, the young and the hip floating about in full length sun dresses and flip flops last summer. But beware, long printed cotton dresses with shoestring straps and no bra are defiantly only for the under 30's and should not be attempted by any of us (sorry to be so strict) unless you want to end up looking like Margot Leadbetter going to a summer garden party with Miss Mounshaft! You may love the look and be consumed with envy at the sheer simplicity of popping on a dress and some sandals and floating around, but leave it to you daughters ladies, (I know its hard). Also do not attempt the longer length Laura Ashleyesque printed prairie skirt look either. It is wrong on all levels and you will look like an extra from Jam and Jerusalem. Not a good look.

There is however another way to 'do' the longer length skirt, and after you have got over the ' I used to wear tube skirts in the 80's issue' you will remember that actually you used to love wearing tube skirts and it might be quite nice to try them again. The All Ages, fashion pages in Saturdays Guardian featured longer length skirts and dresses and they looked great. 

I did however fell they were were a little too long, if like me you are somewhat lacking in height, there is a danger of looking out of proportion. It was ok in the 80's when we had the stomachs to wear cropped tops with our tube skirts, but the key to wearing them now, is to hide the lumpy bits at the top and focus on the long slim silhouette that a longer skirt can create.

So if you fancy trying the maxi length, there are a few simple rules. 

Avoid big garish prints and stick to classic colours, black and navy are best.

To compliment a tube skirt,wear a jacket, boyfriend or blazer, maybe with a belt (if you have a waist) and a simple t shirt.  Or try a simple longer length tunic shirt. 

Wear a shorter length jacket or statement cardigan with a dress. If you are very slim you can get away with wearing a dress on its own, but avoid anything too clingy.

Keep the bottom bit simple, a long length skirt and simple sandals. Don't wear heels, always flats, or the proportion is all wrong and you will feel overdressed. Heels are only ok if its an evening event and you are wearing a long floaty dress.

A baggy t shirt can also look good over a long tube skirt but again, be careful, you are not trying to recreate a night out at a Human League gig. Think tube skirts 2010!

And last of all don't ask your husband, partner or son, what they think. They will not get it, and you will end up running upstairs to change, no matter how confident you are. It is not a look for men!

Here are a few of our favourites.

Maxi skirts and dresses
 Monsoon, Net-a-Porter, ASOS

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