Marco Zanini showed a straight, mint colored ankle length skirt for Rochas in 2012 that was festooned with white wild flowers. I can distinctly remember that it was paired with a light-weight, vaguely teal v-neck cable-knit sweater, an interesting-though-decidedly retro take on cat-eye sunglasses finished in lilac and a pair of sling back platforms, replete with gilded cork heels that I have spent the last three years contemplating. This contemplation likely only occurs because I still frequently consider the skirt that flash-lit them.
But see, this isn’t a textbook case of “One That Got Away” syndrome — as much as I wanted the skirt (consider the time it showed: the fall of 2011, when skirts were incredibly short, pants were equally tight and the modesty renaissance was only hazily on the fashion horizon), I couldn’t divorce the implications of my personal history that were unwittingly tethered to it.
Here I was, an Orthodox Jewish day school graduate who had spent the larger portion of her adolescence gearing up to fight vociferously (see: Seeking Love, Finding Overalls) against a dress code that impaired the concept of personal expression — chiefly with its stringent statute against pants, shorts, and skirts shorter than the knee. And now, five years out of high school, I not only wanted but fashion-lingo needed the silhouette that supported the conflict?
As is always the case with burgeoning fashion trends, the hem length trickled. From runway, the skirt attacked It-girls and from It-girls, it made its way into specialty stores which allowed room for the eventual and inevitable crawl into Zara.
But this didn’t happen before every other designing heavy-weight placed their stamp of approval in the form of straight skirts, tulip skirts, peplum skirts — even dresses — on the emphatically prudent length. And in the same way that running into an ex-boyfriend (who you loved but also kind of hated) is horrifying when he’s with someone new who for whatever reason seems like a superior version of you, so too was seeing the hem length third-party-interpreted spectacularly time and time again. It almost made the forced dress code of years yonder seem, dare I say, romantic.
It took time to move on. Six fashion week seasons to be exact. But I’m here (and I’m baring my midriff) and I feel good about it. So much so, that if you are to confuse me for a younger version of myself, I might even mistake it for a compliment.