It’s another day at Vogue House and the editorial team are in the throes of a highly contentious debate, namely: which is the best outfit from The Devil Wears Prada? It was quickly deduced that, while we will always have a soft spot for the classic movie makeover montage, it’s actually the underdog looks that feel the most timely this season.
For example, acting associate European fashion features director, Laura Hawkins, pointed out that the infamous cerulean-blue-jumper-and-check-skirt outfit feels really quite Prada, no? And the more I looked, the more that I realised that this particular “awkward” skirt length was everywhere on the autumn/winter 2023 runways.
Not quite a mini, not quite a maxi – yet “midi” doesn’t seem to cover it either – this style could be regarded as the Goldilocks of hemlines. Hovering somewhere between the top and bottom of the kneecap, this throwback favourite will be familiar to anyone who fangirled over late-’90s and early-Noughties romantic comedies and teen TV shows, such as Everything I Hate About You, Gilmore Girls, She’s All That, Dawson’s Creek and 13 Going On 30, to name but a few. Typically rendered in a stretch fabric in a floral or checked print, it was the sort of skirt love interests would wear with a cropped white tee, chunky mules and shy smile. Cue the – gasp – “she’s pretty after all!” glasses removal scene.
Thankfully, this season’s iterations are less “wallflower” and more “leading lady”, with brands such as Miu Miu, 16Arlington, Gucci and Saint Laurent sending sophisticated knee-grazing skirts down the runway, rendered in everything from tough leather and high-shine sequins, to tin-foil silvers and serious pinstripes. With the odd concession to a pencil skirt silhouette, these “awkward” skirts tend to sit on the hips and then taper out into a subtle A-line, making them the perfect accompaniment to this season’s second-skin tops and close-fitting knitwear.
When it comes to accessories, however, things can get a little trickier – fellow editors have confessed to forgoing this skirt length due to the risk of cutting off their leg at an unflattering point. Our top tip? Consider skipping flats, and instead opting for an elegant pointed kitten heel or a knee-high heeled boot that skims the bottom of the skirt. This style also looks great with a 20 denier tight, à la Saint Laurent, so is ideal for the colder months of the year.
This article was originally published on Vogue UK.