FashionPhile: Try me: The A-line skirt

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Indy Lifestyle Online
THE LAST time I wore an A-line skirt on a regular basis was at school. And I hated it then. Apart from the odd reckless attempts at posh parties, I avoid skirts (and even at parties I pretend I'm borrowing someone else's thighs for the night and wear the short chic length).

What most designers do not appear to have realised, as they herald the new skirt length, is that school regulation A-line skirts were designed to encourage uniformity and clamp down on nubile sexuality. No one looks sexy in A-line. Even Linda Evangelista, wearing a Prada flared A-line in this month's Vogue, looks, well, frumpy.

When asked to try out the new skirt length I protested vociferously, but secretly saw this as my chance to look like Bette Midler for a day, all sassy hips, cruel heels and red, red lipstick.

The reality was disappointing. Although the long-line jacket was flattering - with a hint of decolletage and soft shoulders (barely a hint of shoulder pads) - I hated the way the slightly flared skirt rested on the knee. I looked at my steel-toecapped Doc Martens with regret and slipped on the Manolo Blahniks.

I looked like Bette Midler only from the ankles down; the skirt brought memories of school flooding back. I felt 13 again and horribly insecure. It bunched unattractively over the thighs rather than 'fluttering on the knee' as Vogue had promised, and made my calves look like a hockey player's. Elle called the new length the 'tongue-in-cheek Miss Moneypenny look'. Well, I always found Miss Moneypenny rather sexy, but this A-line skirt is more stern matron than restrained glamour.

I kept wanting to hitch it up, to pretend it wasn't just sitting there on my knees. I noticed other women on the Tube looking at me in a flattering 'Where did she get that jacket?' sort of way, until they got to the skirt, when the look changed to 'Oh, dear'.

As soon as I got to work I took the damn thing off and pulled on some leggings. Trouser-suits are sophisticated, long skirts have a satisfying swish and glamour about them, short skirts are for the brave but the new A-line is a fashion joke. Take my advice: if Linda Evangelista and Kate Moss look silly in them, don't kid yourself that you won't.

(Photographs omitted)