Wardrobe Legend: In Praise Of The Hardworking, Versatile Midi Skirt

Which, by the way, is absolutely nothing like the peasant skirt of 2007...
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Phoebe
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Which, by the way, is absolutely nothing like the peasant skirt of 2007...

For me, a midi skirt is the ultimate length because it reveals a few inches of lower leg – it’s very chic and restrained, it doesn’t sweep the ground like a melodramatic maxi or make you tug on it anxiously like a mini. It’ll keep you as cool as something skimpier but you’ll look and feel elegant and grown-up.

When I think of a midi skirt, I have visions of fragrant girls in romantic late ‘70s perfume ads wafting through flower meadows in sensible Dr Scholl sandals with their cool cotton skirts billowing around them. Think of something you’d have found in Laura Ashley or Liberty before they got funky – those were the days.

I found this pink cotton midi in TKMaxx two summers ago and I love it so much

I found this pink cotton midi in TKMaxx two summers ago and I love it so much

But I do not mean you can dig out that multi-tiered peasant skirt from 2007, no way Jose! Midis are not flouncy, they don’t require low-slung tassled belts or pirate boots. On the contrary – keep things minimal.

You can be a sexy ‘70s mom in a high-waisted denim version with buttons up the front (Swedish Hasbeens would be the perfect accompaniment to this, and a white tee with NO BRA omg risqué etc.) or go for something more Hamptons-y with a crisp white shirt tucked in and ballet flats – very Carolina Herrera. Or think of Brigitte Bardot on the Riviera wearing her plain cotton skirts with espadrilles, a simple cotton smock top and neckerchief.

The look we’re aiming for is somewhere around Raf Simons' last collection for Jil Sander – voluminous skirt, sleek top half, a reworking of Dior’s iconic New Look with a streamlined, almost sporty 21st century twist. And if that sounds too pretentious, just think, you won’t have to shave your legs half as much because they’ll be swathed in metres of fabric!

Now it was actually quite difficult to find a good selection of midi skirts on the high street – something about that cut and perhaps the amount of fabric it requires to look really flattering makes it an unpopular choice with retailers. More fool them, I’d be more than happy to spend a bit on a skirt that will never go out of style and will see me through the capricious British ‘summer’* in style and comfort.

Topshop full midi skirt by Boutique, £90 and pink double pleat calf skirt, £48, topshop.com

Topshop full midi skirt by Boutique, £90 and pink double pleat calf skirt, £48, topshop.com

Zara's denim midi takes us into proper '70s mom' territory - try it with a 'nice blouse' and sensible sandals (think Stella McCartney's summer 2010 collection which was inspired by her mum Linda.)

Zara mid skirt, £29.99, zara.com

Zara mid skirt, £29.99, zara.com

The denim skirts in Stella McCartney's SS10 collection were inspired by her mum Linda

The denim skirts in Stella McCartney's SS10 collection were inspired by her mum Linda

I love the combination of pink and red in this ASOS midi - it's so vibrant and reminds me of Fruit Salad sweets. That is all.

ASOS midi skirt in bold stripe, £24, asos.com

ASOS midi skirt in bold stripe, £24, asos.com

I'm so happy to be able to include Laura Ashley in this edit - I worked in good ol' LA throughout my teens and while I was a student and it will always have a special place in my heart. Some of my old uniform pieces are coming out of the attic now as fine examples of classic '90s 'vintage' (that my old clothes fall into this category now makes me want to weep but anyway.) Wear this navy linen midi with wedges, a red stripy tee and massive sunglasses.

Laura Ashley Navy Linen Panelled Longline Skirt, £55, lauraashley.com

Laura Ashley Navy Linen Panelled Longline Skirt, £55, lauraashley.com

So seeing as I'm apparently hurtling towards middle age with open arms, shall I look into skorts next? Stretch-velour pants? Those shoes with velcro straps that are advertised in the back of Sunday supplements? I'm open to suggestions!

*Until we actually get a proper one I shall be referring to this so-called season ironically.