Eva Bradley: How much higher can those skirts go?

By Eva Bradley

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Fashion is a fickle thing and, like a loose and unfaithful lover, is always on the prowl for something new, relentlessly pursuing change for change's sake only and bugger the hurt feelings of last year's jeggings tossed nonchalantly into a dusty corner.

It has always amazed me how designers manage to reinvent the wheel each season to create a tweak on tradition that is twisted just enough to prevent the hauling out of last season's clothes or - as we all tried during the 60s revival - Mum's beaten up old knee-high boots and mini skirts.

Throughout my youth and into adulthood, I have seen many of last century's decades revisited briefly in one short year of fashion trending, and (much to my dismay on looking back), I embraced them all.

At 16 I was on-point with flares and skull caps made from crochet doilies. By 18 I was sporting teeny-weeny A-line minis along with bouffant hair and I've revisited the 80s more times than I care to remember at drunken dress-up parties and I'll no doubt continue to do so.

So where to for threads and duds now all the cool fashion flavours have been rehashed and we have seen black become the new black for more seasons that we care to remember?

I'll tell you what is in: skank. Yes, people, that's where we're at. After Coco and Karl and generations of cool couture, we have arrived at what must surely be the end of the fashion line.

If you are not nocturnal, you may be bewildered by what I mean. Although what I like to call the "bandage skirt" (a thin, cheaply produced, stretchy piece of fabric wrapped tightly around the bottom of a girl usually aged between 18 and 23) does sometimes make a cameo appearance during daylight hours, its natural habitat is long after dark in nightclubs, bars and (later still) the gutters of neighbourhoods up and down the country.

While colour and style has dominated past fashion trends, the only thing "in" right now is having everything out.

Skankage among young women has become a national sport. Highest honours go to the highest hemlines and plunging necklines are the preserve of every girl, regardless of girth.

Thanks to a colliding penchant for fast food and inflated self-esteem, skankage among young people is made all the more unbearable by the enthusiasm with which the "style" is embraced by those who would have benefited more from the tracksuit obsession of the 1990s.

Tight clothing that looks like it might have been made for Barbie is instead squeezed over bulges and bumps as though by doing so it renders the wearer a mirror image of the scantily-clad pop tarts that dominate today's music videos and (bad) reality television.

The most alarming thing is that, just like their dirty little hero Rihanna warned, even the good girls have gone bad and after 11pm on a Saturday night it is impossible to distinguish well-brought up teenage girls from bog-standard street walkers.

If good girls still exist, their hemlines are telling a different story. Which is a grumble that older women have been making about younger women ever since ankles (gasp!) started peeking out below crinoline skits.

I know I sound like my mother used to when I tried to sneak past her wearing skirts halfway up my thigh. But when you look at the direction fashion is heading, I can only ask myself ... just how much higher can we go before hitting new lows?

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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