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STYLE : The Long and Short of Spring

Followers of international fashion may be wondering what designers were thinking when they recently unveiled ankle-length skirts for spring, 1992. The idea of all that cumbersome yardage doesn’t seem to fit the image of the active, fashion-savvy modern woman. But take a closer look. A designer’s job is to suggest new options, and the long silhouette represents the freshest, most unexpected alternative for the season.

Top names in fashion from Italy and Paris to New York recommend longer lengths primarily for special occasions. Most of the mid-calf and ankle-grazing skirts in their spring collections are for weekend shopping, entertaining at home or evenings out. Short skirts that bare the knees still dominate daytime wear.

Spring’s most striking version of the long look is an ankle-length skirt topping a mini-dress or short shorts. This preserves freedom of movement while creating the new, elongated profile. Another option in many collections is the long skirt made of sheer fabric. This veiling effect appeals to women who want to wear the new style and still show off their legs. Gossamer skirts become even more versatile when paired with a hip-length jacket.

Whatever the hem length, though, the long and short of fashion these days is a matter of personal choice.

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