Looking for something to wear last night to go out to dinner on a hot night, I glanced once more at a very beautiful sea green long dress I have had since 1999 for godsake. Long has been out of style for fashion decades, even fashion centuries. I could still wear that dress, but where to? As Lisa Armstrong points out,
For years now we've all been wearing short cocktail dresses in the evening, on the assumption that only Swedish royalty and Oscar nominees still wear long.But the return of the maxi dress may presage the return of long. Here's how to do it:
Where the maxi dress blazed a trail, the long dress now floats along in reflected glory. Far from looking stiff and formal, the long dresses that guests wore at the Wood-Macdonald wedding looked fresh and uncontrived. Suddenly, asking friends if they are going long or short for an event sounds like a sensible question rather than satire. After years of being force fed acres of over-bronzed, over-plucked, overexposed, punishingly high-maintenance flesh, covering up looks neither oppressive nor puritanical, but chic and - paradoxically - simple.
Inevitably, there are a few tricks to making it all look effortless. Pale colours are fine, but not sickly pastels. Dirty pinks, faded greens or a retro print are the ideal. The right kind of cover-up is another trigger to achieving the desired effect - nothing too bulky, or too coat-like. A vintagey lacy cardigan is a sweet option, but a velvet wrap or a pashmina works too. Outsize shoulder bags are hopeless - this is a look made for clutches, or something antique on a chain. Hair should be simple and uncontrived - a loose ponytail or chignon would work well, the better to show off those big dangly earrings. Shoes don't have to be clumpy or aggressive-looking, although a platform keeps the look from being too early-Nineties.