Is Shorter Better?
One Vogue Editor Reveals Her 10 Rules for Minidress Lovers
To be sure, Vogue.com has a very fashion-forward dress code. We’re encouraged—nay, challenged—to wear the boldest and riskiest trends on any given day. Kimonos, mall goth platform creepers, stripper heels? That’s called a Monday in our office. But there is one piece of clothing that seems to provoke an unparalleled sense of hesitation among my stylish colleagues, one forbidden separate that feels like a step too far: the daytime minidress.
A sassy and fun alternative to ho-hum jeans or a been-there-done-that frock, the swatch of fabric is hard terrain to mitigate. Is it unprofessional? How short is too short? Can you really sit around all day in one without constantly shifting nervously in fear that your underpinnings are on display? And then Vogue.com’s Market Editor, Chelsea Zalopany, comes flouncing into a conference room dressed in a thigh-skimming plaid minidress and tube socks that feels like a cross between Clueless and a ’70s babysitter, and you’re reminded this sartorial feat can be done. As Zalopany explains here, it really boils down to being prepared and following some simple rules.
1. Think carefully about what you wear underneath your dress.
It goes without saying that the proper underpinnings are necessary to avoid the biggest of wardrobe malfunctions. Instead of a thong, slip on something pretty with the kind of coverage that will keep your modesty intact should you encounter any unexpected breezes. In that same breath, avoid subway grates. You will thank us later.
2. Grab for your flats rather than stilettos.
Funnily enough, with minis it’s not stilettos that lengthen your legs, but rather flats—well, at least flats that keep your ankle exposed. An exposed ankle will create a longer, more flattering line. But if you still want to elevate your look a bit, try a 2-inch block heel that feels more casual. Another leg-lengthening accessory? Sassy, throwback knee-socks that are as cheeky as your dress.
3. Minis are all about proportions.
According to Zalopany, if you’re baring your legs sans tights, covering your arms always helps to balance the look up top. A long-sleeved version works to make you feel less exposed, than say a deep-plunging neckline.
4. A mini handbag works best with your minidress.
Although we’re often checking the length of our dress hem, the drop of our bag should also be taken into consideration. A bag that hits your lower back can slowly but surely make your dress ride up, leaving you feeling stripped bare. Instead, consider a mini handbag to pair with your mini. They are a match made in heaven.
5. Fit is king!
As Zalopany reminds us, the last thing you want to be doing is tugging and fussing to keep your mini in place. A touch too big is just as dangerous as a touch too small, so avoid ill-fitting styles.
6. Experiment with silhouettes and fabrications.
From your classic A-line to your attention-grabbing body-con, the minidress comes in any number of variations. Finding the silhouette that works best for your body is key.
7. The minidress isn’t made for the “bend and snap.”
Master the subtle but core-strengthening Playboy Bunny tip of bending straight down to pick up any miscellaneous items that may have fallen from your grasp. And when exiting a car, keep Britney Spears’s and Paris Hilton’s thong-exposing early-aughts blunders at the forefront of your mind.
8. Check for a panty line!
Always remember to step into the sunlight before venturing out. You want to make sure your piece isn’t see-through in the most important of spots. If so, time to explore the slip.
9. Your iPhone weather app is your best friend.
Check the weather forecast to ensure it’s a calm and relatively windless day. Otherwise, blustery conditions could turn your morning commute into a Marilyn moment.
10. Enjoy the positive attention.