I don’t think there is anyone who still believes that we’ll ever go back to what it was like before the pandemic. Something has changed within us for good during the last two years, whether we like it or not. To assume that it’s possible to pick up our lives where we left off, and continue on the same track as before – is extremely naïve, if not foolish. If the disruptive events of the last two years taught us anything, it’s to rethink our old ways, question our values, and sift carefully through our social norms and codes, in order to embrace the change while preserving only what really matters. And one of the social codes irretrievably altered is precisely the one we feel most connected with (and deeply invested in following) – the dress code.
So, how will we be dressing for the new season? Certainly, coming out of such a dull, dark time (and I’m not talking about winter here), we want to experience again the lightness of being and spirit of renaissance traditionally brought about by springtime. All over the world, fashion designers have strived for months to create upbeat styles for these challenging times, and to keep fashion both in sync and relevant. Thus it comes as no surprise that the Spring/Summer 2022 fashion trends mirror our eager hopes for the future, brand-new commitments, and fully awakened social consciousness. This season breathes authenticity and playfulness, while it redefines the shape of style – experimenting with unexpected revivals and reinterpretations of classic wardrobe favorites.
First and foremost, we witness a remarkable resurrection of the miniskirt – undoubtedly the star of 2022. The fact is a little more than baffling if you believe in the fashion folklore’s hemline theory, which says that stock prices move in the same direction as the hemlines of women’s dresses, so when the good times roll, hemlines go up, and the other way around. Considering the economic and social situation worldwide in the last couple of years even before the Covid-19 crisis struck, a continuing trend for longer hemlines, reinforced by higher necklines, more substantial sleeves, and baggier waists, has proved the hemline theory right so far.
Now, look around. Do you see any improvement in the global political downturn or the tightening financial conditions? Are there, anywhere in the world, significant signs of returning economic confidence, reemergence, and optimism? Not from where I stand. Despite a belief (or, more accurately said, a pipe-dream) that the worst of the sanitary crisis is over, the international forecast is more on the doom-and-gloom side. Then where are the rising hemlines on the world’s catwalks coming from, all with their message that our life is about to get better? Add to this puzzlement the fact that the newly-revived miniskirt is actually a micro skirt verging on hip-bandeau, leaving almost nothing to the imagination. Either we should thrive on all counts worldwide, or this 2022 fashion trend breaks the hemline theory for the first time in history, sending out a loud cry of rebellion and revenge on fate.
When Mary Quant came up with the miniskirt in the 1960s, she thought that it “signaled great high spirits […], it celebrated youth and life and tremendous opportunity.” At the same time, the miniskirt embodied a fascinating social paradox: our struggle between manifesting independence vs. the instinctive desire to please, showing responsibility or vulnerability, between feeling liberated or exploited. Interviewed by Vogue in 1995, Quant reminisced that her miniskirts “had a kind of look at me quality. They said life is great”.
So I guess that nowadays we desperately need the upbeat energy of a miniskirt as a talisman of the belief that our life will get considerably better very soon. We seek comfort in revisiting the bouncy verve of the early 1960s and in reminiscing – through this playful and youthfully rebellious garment – the carefree assurance of the pre-pandemic, pre-climate crisis times. Most likely, the prevalence of the miniskirt trend for the Spring/Summer 2022 is a bold attempt at bending fate in our favor.
Too much analyzing aside, we get to wear and enjoy the mini or micro skirt this season in any context, be it casual, business, elegant, or even sporty. It’s a youthful style, no doubt, but it works for women over 30 as well, if it’s smartly paired. A classic look that works well for the office is the miniskirt with a shirt tucked-in paired with high-heels, lace-up boots, or ankle boots. A micro-jupe worn with a structured blazer or a leather jacket and tights is perfect even for a professional look.
A comfy combination is a miniskirt with an oversized sweater or cozy cardigan, as well as a flippy-hem mid-thigh skirt teamed with a crop top or a hoodie. The miniskirt can be body-hugging or pleated, A-line or tutu-style, bandeau micro or with zipped lateral slits; in denim, leather, floral-printed cotton, preppy plaid, or silky full-skirt.
The miniskirt’s greatest advantage is that it creates the illusion of long legs in combination with almost any shoe: stilettos, platforms, pumps, wedges, sneakers or classic trainers, ballet flats and flat sandals, low-heels with pointed-toe, ankle, or knee-high boots, even combat boots if you have the right attitude. Of course, like for any fashion style, there are a few rules to rock a miniskirt – the right length in proportion with your height and body shape; a proper balance in skin coverage (no cleavage, no bare shoulders, no open back); and the optimal pair of shoes to compliment your silhouette.
We could say that this spring-summer season is only for the young and the young-at-heart, that daring are its fashion trends. They don’t stop at the miniskirt, but feature also the low waist, visible lingerie, crochet and macramé, lace, or the obsessive fringes – almost all often assumed to be the prerogatives of youth.
Some of the season’s trends are carried over from last year and they betray lingering lockdown lackadaisicalness. Logo underwear worn like outerwear, with all lace detailing on show, appears proudly above low-waisted pants or skirts. Bras and lace bustier tops stand in for blouses, naughtily out in the open. Macramé and crochet, especially ones that look hand-made, bring onboard a bohemian flair and its DIY charm, as another after-effect of the pandemic and of the personal connections we all craved during the long stretches of social distancing.
The power blazer is a standalone piece in its own right, with a powerfully contoured shoulder line, a cinched waist, and worn directly on the skin. It is paired with high-waist flowy pants or stretch ones (close to leggings) or with – what else – a gorgeous miniskirt. Blazers may come in a length that grazes the upper thigh, worn as short dresses with tights and heels. The skirt suit is also coming back strong after a three-decade hiatus and this time around, the skirt is smaller than the jacket.
In direct association with the aspiration for reemergence and rebirth after two years of cocooning indoors – is the comeback of the butterfly motif, omnipresent as styling-cut in tops, photo prints on wrap skirts, lace-edged of slip dresses, or as a painterly pattern on a fluttery mini-dress.
The season favors color blocking in pastel, optimistic shades, from sorbet pink to mandarin orange, via precious tones of jade, sapphire, amethyst, and turquoise. Of course, the color of the year – lavender blue – is a rule absolute, and so is silver, which is enriching the spring-summer wardrobe with sci-fi accents, mirror-like effects, beaded fringes, and reflective eveningwear attires. Sheer and shiny textures add a festive look to both business and elegant clothing and showcase the underwear enough to keep the sexiness alive.
With that being said, there is still something worth mentioning. We are well aware of the current discourse about a political correctness often enforced upon us in each and every field, including fashion design and runways, all over the world. Every day new rules emerge, all choke-full of good intentions, aiming to be both true eye-openers and grand equalizers. Some work, some don’t. As for fashion – it has ever been and will ever be a very personal, intimate choice. Fashion influencers and stylists may project their visions, but it’s ultimately up to each one of us to decide what, when, why, and how to wear.
There are, though, a few common-sense rules in fashion that transcend seasonal trends and fads. One is that in terms of looks, our knees are the first to go and our shoulders the last. So we can go for bare shoulders long after we stopped sporting a bare midriff or a mini/micro skirt. Then, as guru Armani often said, once you are over 40, it’s wiser to wear a slightly below-the-knee length for class’s sake. Let’s face it, ladies. Clothes are not Botox. Wearing a miniskirt does not take ten years off our face. After 40, our eyes above the wrinkle-covering mask tell a certain indelible story. The golden style mantra says: if you wore a trend the first time it was fashionable, think twice about wearing it when it comes back. But if you feel you are young enough to do it anyway – by all means, rock thy miniskirt and love how it makes you feel.
As for me, I decided to opt out, trusting I won’t jinx the chance for my life to get better pronto, as subliminally promised by the youthful spring styles. After all, some things are ageless. Indeed, eternal. And chief among them is hope.
(Chanel * Givency * Versace * Saint Laurent * Balmain); Filippo Fior @ GoRunway.com (Dolce & Gabbana * Miu Miu); Daniele Oberrauch @ Gorunway.com (Alberta Ferretti).