For three years in a row, midi length skirts and dresses have appeared on the runways of fashion week in New York, London, Paris and Milan. Fall 2014 fashion shows are currently in full swing, and as far as skirts and dresses go, midis are dominating the catwalks, both in pencil and flared silhouettes.
Note that midi skirts and dresses can be as short as just over the knee (knee-cap-covering), or as long as lengths that cover the calf muscle.
I have been pinning NYFW looks to my Fall and Winter 2014 inspiration pinboard. Lets take a peek at the catwalk:
- Asymmetrical colour block with oversized moto.
- Long loose layers.
- Flared midi with short oversized coat.
- Fit-and-flare frock with longer jacket.
- Avant-garde layers with cropped tailored jacket.
- Front vent pencil with oversized pullover.
- Arty, loose and oversized.
- Tailored top and pleated midi with messenger.
- Volume with flare and beanie.
- ‘70s Boho with a sporty touch.
- Modern boho.
- Fashionably frumpy.
- Kilted and graphic.
- Chartreuse tailoring.
- Gold bubble with preppy pinstripe.
- Sporty pencil and haute hiking boots.
- Hard-edge volume.
- Pleated midi with cropped and oversized round-shouldered jacket.
- Paneled midi with oversized cropped jacket.
- Tailored sweater dress.
- A-line with boxy top.
- Pinafore and a newsboy.
- Round-shouldered shell top with a wrap midi and mid-calf boots.
- Sack midi.
- Vented with slouch and texture.
- Swooshing full skirt with fuzzy crop top.
- Retro with leather.
- Swooshing black drama.
- Pencil with high-low pullover, flat mid-calf boots, and lace boot liners.
- Hooded wrap pencil.
- Paneled with a bomber.
- Trumpet with round-shouldered jacket.
- Glorious colour.
- Sleeved frock with inverted pleat.
- Graphic preppy with a sporty and romantic touch.
- Bad fit is cool.
Despite all this catwalk action, midi lengths are still awfully scarce in retail stores. At best you will find the odd midi pencil skirt and a few very expensive designer pieces. Minis and just-above-the-knee lengths rule retail.
When slim-fit cropped pants appeared on catwalks a few years ago, retail made the style mainstream right away. So some trends do filter down at the speed of light. Others take a while, and some don’t filter down at all.
I would love to know why retail is keeping midis a fringe trend. On some level, it seems that the powers that be believe consumers — and that means you and me — won’t like the length. That would mean plenty of markdowns, less revenue and lower profits. If this assumption is correct, then they’re making an excellent business decision by NOT allowing one of the largest catwalk trends to filter down to retail. But if their assumption is wrong, it’s a huge missed opportunity.
Granted, I do think that midi lengths are harder to style because of the potential frump factor, and they often require heeled footwear. And many of the fits and proportions shown on the runways this season are challenging, conventionally unflattering, and in some cases quite dowdy. Yet I believe that midis can look extremely elegant. And at the moment they look ultra fresh and “new” amidst a sea of short skirts and dresses. Minis are fine for leisure time, but they seldom work in an office environment. At least you can shorten the length of a midi, but you can’t lengthen a skirt that is already too short.
It’s anyone’s guess as to whether midis will gain popularity in this and future seasons. Perhaps the trend will trickle down slowly, just like wearing booties and flat oxfords with skirts and dresses took years to become a mainstream look. Or perhaps midis will stay fringe. Either way, I support the idea of having a variety of skirt and dress lengths in stores. Providing minis and maxis without the in-between length is not variety.