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Ups and downs of spring's hemlines

The new season offers long and short skirts, but sarah davidson finds both have their problems

The most visible trend so far this season has been short, be it mini dresses, short shorts or micro mini skirts. The glossy magazines have been full of pictures of models in tiny outfits, and celebrities have been falling out of cars leaving little to the imagination. I tried on some outfits from the Kate Moss collection for Topshop and the dresses didn't cover my bum. But real women, we were told, can wear these short fashions too, albeit tunic-style over trousers.

Well, I tried to do short. I hired a personal trainer, body brushed twice a day and slapped on some fake tan body lotion, then I braved a super-mini shift dress. It was an easy look to wear earlier on in the season with comforting opaque black tights, but a terrifying look to pull off with bare legs.

Did I feel like a super-fashionable up-to-the-minute boutique owner channelling a hot trend? Well, no. I felt like a 30-something trying to be oh-so trendy but not quite pulling it off. Feeling over-exposed, I was ill at ease when I ventured along the high street. It was completely inappropriate on the train to London, and in a nightclub men leered at me and women threw disapproving glances.

So I was delighted when the maxi dress emerged as an in-season trend. I've sourced extra stock and I'm eagerly awaiting its arrival from Los Angeles.

The maxi dress is more flattering than the mini on us mere mortals. The fitted empire line or halterneck shape accentuates the narrowest part of the body and there is no need for fake tan. Flats or heels - the choice is yours. It doesn't seem so try-hard as a short dress. It doesn't scream 'look at me'. I can be elegant, sophisticated and just a little bohemian. With giant shades and a headscarf I could almost be Paris Hilton or Nicole Richie (albeit an older, slightly larger brunette version).

But after catching sight of myself side-on in a mirror, I realised there may be a drawback to the empire line dress. Having just returned from honeymoon, my maxi dress makes me look just a tiny bit pregnant, and that's a rumour I really don't want to start. Roll on autumn 07 and bring on the tailored trousers...

- Sarah Davidson is the owner of designer womenswear retailer Jane Davidson in Edinburgh.

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