The midi skirt, in the same way as a good pair of black trousers, is relaxed without being scruffy

Jess Cartner-Morley
‘The midi skirt ticks oodles of boxes.’
Photograph: David Newby for the Guardian

The midi skirt – by which I poor a loose skirt whose hem hits a little below the knee – make ited in my wardrobe as a seasonal visitor, granted a temporary visa by dint of being on incline. Silver, with a pleasing swishiness, it was meant to represent a short-term, unsure kind of hook-up, so I was surprised when this skirt settled itself indispensable and moved in on a permanent basis. Our happy relationship has hold up fruit: I now have five midi skirts, including a gal Friday silver one. (Yes, I do need both, thank you. The new one is pleated, so it’s quite rare.)

The midi skirt, which you would imagine to be an almost frozen opposite look to black trousers, has unexpectedly edged them out of my stock of clothing. Weirdly, despite its vaguely housewifely air, it ticks lots of the exact same boxes. Looking smart makes me feel more reliant up to the point where looking smart crosses into looking dolled-up, when it clears me feel more self-conscious. The midi skirt, like a merit pair of black trousers, is relaxed without being scruffy. Also, it runs with flat shoes as well as heels, both stylistically (there is something pleasingly modish about a loafer or trainers with a longish skirt) and from a self-image viewpoint (your legs don’t need to look longer if they are secret by your skirt). And you can walk fast in it (can’t stand anything I can’t parade in), and you don’t need to wear tights unless it is really cold.

But while we steer clear of off into the sunrise together happily of a morning, no relationship is accomplished. The midi is more fashionable than the pencil skirts I reach-me-down to wear to work, but lacks their crisp bossiness. A moronic crew neck works with a pencil skirt, but doesn’t cut it with a midi. You demand a statement neckline: a ribbed polo neck, for instance, has various drama than a crew neck. The blouse I’m wearing here is assumed to have a pussy bow, but I’ve reworked it as a necktie. Any collar works artistically, so you can’t go wrong with a white shirt. The midi skirt isn’t contemporary anywhere: the rest of my wardrobe is adjusting to fit.

Jess wears skirt, £220, Blouse, £69, Heels, £85,

Styling: Melanie Wilkinson. Hair and makeup: Laurence Put up the shutters seal for Carol Hayes Management.