Who's ready for the long skirts? Designers start downward trend

October 23, 1991|By Elaine Louie | Elaine Louie,N.Y. Times

In an era of short skirts, who, then, will wear long ones?

Designers and retailers suspect the first women to embrace the newer long skirts, which are being shown side by side with short ones, tumble into four categories:

* The ones without gorgeous legs, who have been hiding in pants.

* The ones who think they are cutting-edge fashion plates.

* The ones who are long-skirt die-hards, despite the momentary trends.

* "People in my age group," said designer Norma Kamali, who is 46.

The trick in wearing a long skirt is to avoid a feeling of dowdiness when other women dart by in their snug little short skirts, flashing their legs. To make a long, straight skirt sexy and easy to move in, some designers put in slits.

A woman in a long skirt must tell herself that she is neither a fashion victim nor a Victorian prude. She can say she is avant-garde. The long skirt has to be perceived as sophisticated or "directional," said Barbara Weiser, a vice president of Charivari, which has stores in Manhattan and Tokyo.

"Proportion is the key to wearing the long skirt," said Harriet Love, who owns a clothing shop in Manhattan. "With a long skirt, one can wear a very close-to-the-body jacket or sweater and look slim and slender."

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