The long and the skort of it

Clean lines and textured fabrics make the case for a mini-skirt,  a pair of shorts or a hybrid of  the two, says Naomi Attwood

Every summer, the rehash of a bunch of  tired trends is as inevitable as weeds in  the garden: florals and floaty fabrics  flourish. To borrow the term of one infamous fictional fashion editrix: “groundbreaking.” However, seasonal dressing-down is wholly unwelcome for those who feel undressed in anything unstructured or uncovered.

Fret not, because this summer there’s a clean, lean alternative option to ubiquitous wafty layers of diaphanous chiffon, without sweating it out in stretch denim or 80-denier tights. One of the best ways to eschew that sartorial armour is with a structured mini-skirt or “skort” – a fashionable portmanteau which loosely translates to “a nifty pair of shorts with pleasing skirt-like panel at front or rear”.

The skort even fits neatly into one of those rehashes fashion is so fond of  – they’re part of a rampant Nineties revival, a return to the spare minimalism originally advocated by Calvin Klein. We’ve seen A-line skirts and spaghetti-strap slip dresses populating the catwalks of Klein’s own protégé, Narciso Rodriguez, as well as New York wunderkind Alexander Wang and Nineties stalwart label Helmut Lang. Their skorts varied from Wang’s pleated poplin boxer-short styles to Lang’s structured,  geometric wrap-over. There are even skirts that imitate the skort’s bifurcated folds, and shorts with legs so brief they resemble skirts.

The modern way to wear the skort – or its many look-alikes – is with a simple vest, slouchy summer knit, or a print-detail sweatshirt. Keep the shape crisp with hyper-modern fabrics,  foam-backed synthetics, intricate laser-cut leather, or price-tag-friendly substitutes such as jacquard. Anything with enough starchiness to hold its structured shape will fit the bill. Think Le Corbusier, but with legs.

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