How to Dress Like a Grown With Shane Watson: Your Back-to-Office Savior? A long skirt
Let’s not wear jeans all the time this year. We’re going to look back, and of all the looks regrets we have, the only one that will make us cringe (apart from spending the better part of a decade in black, not stepping out the longer legs as long as we had the chance and not having worn large slicks of creamy eyeshadow when we had smooth eyelids) will be the endless wearing of jeans and nothing but jeans.
What a waste, if you think about it. So many clothes and so often we get stuck in denim.
It will be hard to break the habit. I’m not looking forward to it too much. But even if we have a dedicated jeans-free day — like Meatless Friday — it will open up a whole world of options. So, yes, that means any other pants – wide, straight or slightly flared, long or short – and it can mean a long skirt.
Shane Watson shares tips for rocking this season’s maxi skirt trend for any occasion. Pictured: Victoria Beckham
I know. The suggestion seems not just left, but positively self-sabotaging: all the effort of a skirt – finding the right top, the right tights, the right shoes or boots – plus a new layer of impracticality. But this isn’t a joke dreamed up by fashionistas in ivory towers who never need to go to the office. Rather the opposite.
The idea is that the new long skirt (it’s not long, more like a long midi) could be an alternative to smart work pants, only – and that’s why you would bother – more attractive, less boring and different in a cool and unpretentious way.
One glimpse of the Matches Raey pencil skirt (£225, matches fashion.com) and I was sold on the look. This skirt ends just above the ankle; it’s straight, fitted, comfortable on the hips in a navy wool blend, so nothing like a Summer-of-Love maxi in other words, more like something Jil Sander would be happy to put her name to .
This is a simple, almost long skirt for a modern, active woman. It might not be easier than pants – it certainly isn’t – but whatever; we make an effort to get out of a rut, and that has something.
Actresses Nathalie Emmanuel (pictured left) and Emilia Fox (pictured right) were spotted wearing ankle-skimming skirts
I’ve always loved long skirts in the summer; I love their 1970s holiday romance (take me to Mamma Mia! Greece) and their unexpected elegance, as long as they’re lean and not too floaty. I also agree that most maxis should be left to the generations who wear flower crowns, especially the tiered variety.
But there are always exceptions to the rule, and this hybrid skirt looks like one of those times. OK, you’re not cycling to work, but worn with chunky boots and a tailored sweater, you can wear it to the office every day. If you want to dress it up, add some neater boots with a medium heel, a three-quarter sleeve top, a faux fur collar coat (they have four or five styles at Zara) and it looks a lot chic 2022.
If navy seems like a step backwards, try a midi knit skirt in a dusty ginger (£18, monki.com), or Vince does a wrap effect style in camel (£48, net-a-porter.com) .
LONG SKIRTS: THE RULES
- Wear it skimming the ankle.
- Try an enveloping effect.
- Choose gray over black.
- To wear with boots.
Shawls are fine, as long as there are no fancy fastenings – it’s important to keep the look clean – but avoid asymmetric hems, pleats, buttons or prints: the simpler the better. ‘is.
If you don’t go along with the straighter silhouette, for a similar effect try Me + Em’s flared slim maxi in ponte jersey with an elasticated waist (£125, menandem.com) or Cos’ slightly flared style (£ 69, costores.com), but be aware that it has an off-center front slit that ends at the mid-thigh. Fine until you sit down.
What you wear with your maxi skirt depends on where you’re going, but with so much coverage below the waist (remember the longer midi requires a boot) you’re going to want to show some flesh. Exposed forearms are a good bet. Wear either shorter sleeves – a cashmere t-shirt (£95, boden.co.uk) is a good option – or a silky three-quarter sleeve top or an open-necked shirt with the sleeves rolled up.
Once we have mastered this, we can move on to the everyday midi dress. They’re already flying out of Me+Em, so keep an open mind.