The fashion pendulum is swinging once again from short to long. And as usual when any style is revived, there will be differences in the look. The long skirt of the '90s will not be worn like the long skirt of decades past..
Of course, you may not be ready to give up short skirts, and no one says you must. No one can dictate fashion anymore, but the momentum for change is building.
Back in the 1950s, the New Look was worn with ballerina flats or pointy-toed stiletto pumps and flesh-colored stockings. In the '70s, midiskirts were worn with boots. The current revival of long skirts calls for dark opaque hosiery and platform-sole shoes with high chunky heels.
"The key to wearing the new long length is what you do with the leg and foot," said Joan Kaner, the fashion director of Neiman Marcus. "The color of the leg should be coordinated to the color of the skirt and the shoe to elongate the total look. And the shoe should be bulkier, with a platform or an extended sole and a thicker heel."
That bulky shoe may not sound pretty, but it's what makes the effect modern, said Stephanie Solomon, Bloomingdale's fashion director for accessories. And it is selling well.
"The Lagerfeld platform pump with a high platform and a high heel sold out very early," she said, "and we sold 11 out of 12 of Chanel's lace-up-the-leg platform shoes in three days. At $775 a clip."
The first delivery of the lace-up Chanel also sold out at Bergdorf Goodman, said Ellin Saltzman, the store's fashion director.
"The look of that platform with the strippy thing around the leg is great over opaque black tights," she said. "The most important thing is a totally matte look. An opaque leg and a suede shoe make for a continuous smooth line. Another style I like is a perfectly plain suede pump with a platform."
Kalman Ruttenstein, Bloomingdale's senior vice president for fashion direction, said he was surprised by customers' positive reactions to platform soles.
"I don't think anybody expected platforms to be taken seriously," he said. "The Lagerfeld and Chanel are extreme versions that we bought as frosting on the cake, but they've been our best sellers."
For women who want to feel taller but don't want to go to extremes, all the stores have basic pumps with platform soles. The heels range from mid-high to high, and the platforms may be barely discernible or highlighted by a contrasting material.
Anne Klein Couture has a black suede pump with black patent platform sole and heel ($195 at Neiman Marcus ), and Yves Saint Laurent has a similar style in black suede with a calf platform ($200 at Bergdorf Goodman). No doubt there will soon be less expensive versions.
A more adventurous woman might go for a lace-up shoe or an ankle-high bootee, but always with a fairly high heel and always in suede. Anne Klein Couture has a high-heeled lace-up suede bootee ($290 at Saks Fifth Avenue) and Bis Charles Jourdan has a zip-up version ($160 at Bloomingdale's). Donna Karan's suede bootee has a ribbed knit cuff and a thick ribbed rubber sole ($335 at Neiman Marcus).
Another form of adventure is to go for animal spots instead of solid black. Calvin Klein makes a high-heeled platform-sole pump in a spotted cat pattern ($350 at Bloomingdale's later this month). "It's kind of wild," Ms. Solomon said. "But one thing is for sure: you won't feel dowdy."