Fashion Lifestyle The guardian

How to wear: a midi-length dress

From theguardian

Changing what you wear on the top half is easy; changing your whole silhouette requires more effort than changing what you wear on your bottom half. I mean, it is literally easier: if you want to try on a dress or trousers or a skirt, you must sit down, unlace your shoes and wrangle with your jeans or whatever you are wearing. If you are in a shop, you may have to deal with your knicker-clad image in an unfamiliar mirror, as well as the tediously loaded issue of whether the size you have picked out accommodates your waistline. So much easier to buy a pair of earrings or a new sweater, which you can try for size without having to strip off.

I get it. Except, the easy option is not even halfway effective. If you want to fundamentally update your outfit, you need a root and branch overhaul, because the wardrobe centre of gravity right now is a midi-length dress.

A few years ago, you got yourself a pair of flattering black trousers and you knew that they were the base of any number of effective, on-point, smart daytime outfits. The same trick works now – you can layer up blazers and knits – but you are going to need to get to grips with a longer-length dress.

This season’s most favoured length is a midi-maxi hybrid: just above the ankle. Handily, this seems to be the length most hemlines billed as midi-length actually are, on me, because clothes are still – mystifyingly – cut for a woman who is about 8cm (3in) taller than average. (I get that it is easier to shorten a skirt than lengthen it, but still.) Over the past few years, it is quite possible that you have found three versions of this type of dress that work for you and that getting dressed essentially involves rotating them depending on colour, mood and what is in the wash. If this is the case, go you. But if you have been ignoring this look and hoping it was going to go away, then now is a good time to face the fact that it is not. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

This is such an easy style to wear at this time of year. It bares the perfect amount of ankle, which is to say enough to remind the world that you have legs, but not so much that you have to think about what your legs look like. The longer hemline can be challenging with a proper coat, but it works neatly with a waist-length jacket or a blazer. There is nothing stopping you from wearing this dress. It will make your life easier, if you just give it a try.

Jess wears dress, £190, Mules, £149, Hair and makeup: Sam Cooper from Carole Hayes Management

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