I know the 70s-inspired A-line skirt is all the rage, but it just doesn't look good on me! I saw a paparazzi picture of Alexa Chung in a mini version. Can I hem mine shorter and still look fashionable?
Make the Cut, Happy Valley

The Dictator rules: Ask yourself this, "Do I look like Alexa Chung?" If, by some miracle, you are impossibly skinny and beautiful, then by all means go ahead with your DIY job. Better still, get the Gove skirt in black suede with front buttons from the AG Adriano Goldschmied x Alexa Chung collection (HK$5,806; www.revolveclothing.com; or try the Kety skirt in denim (HK$1,382). Amazingly, you've awkwardly stumbled into a new trend. Designers seem to be moving backwards through time, from their obsession with 70s-style A-line midis to 60s-inspired A-line minis for autumn. The question is, how short will you go? JW Anderson's Mod mini skirt in thick black wool with front flap pockets (HK$4,499) will look fab with tights, boots and a turtleneck, but you'll have to wait for, or travel to, cold weather to wear it. Our choice bucks both trends in favour of flattering cuts; Céline's new skirts (HK$9,100 to HK$16,000) reach below the knee, but stop short of that difficult mid-calf area, and are beautifully cut with simple tailoring, one with a side split and contrasting white buttons, and one with a zip that runs the vertical length of the skirt, with a giant round hoop in place of the normal zip tab. Based on street fashion photos, though, I wouldn't toss that midi just yet.

 

I'd love one of those old-fashioned blouses with the ties or ruffles, but I'm not sure what I'd wear it with, especially at work. Help?
High Collar Crime, Central

The Dictator: What are you talking about? Actually, don't answer that. I doubt you even could. You might be eyeing the Victoriana trend from recent seasons, with its high collars, lace and ruffles. We love the drama of Givenchy's black, polka-dot tulle top with ruffles (HK$13,500). Altuzarra re-enacts the era in Chantilly lace and a high collar (HK$15,225; netaporter.com Take your cues for this look from Alexander McQueen, which has beautifully tailored, pleated and ruffled shirts (HK$10,800) with leather skirts, trousers, chunky boots or belts - but not all at once. Wait. Leather skirt and see-through lace tops might not meet your office dress code. Luckily, this season the brand also offers a gorgeous cream silk blouse (HK$8,100) that ties at the neck. Universally known as the pussy bow, unfortunately, said style has integrated strips to tie around the collar, and has been in and out of vogue since the 30s. It is, however, most closely associated with 70s fashion and therefore quite distant from the Victorian era, which ended in 1901. Call it what you like, but don't miss Jason Wu's cream silk cloque scarf blouse (HK$8,900; Lane Crawford), which ties at the neck. You don't even have to fuss with tying Stella McCartney's black silk shirt (HK$10,070); its bow is embroidered on. The high-street brands offer them, too, so you can pop your eyes back in your head.

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