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The mullet dress: ‘80s hair reincarnated in modern fashion

So who would have thought that an ‘80s hairstyle would mirror a current red-carpet trend?

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By Nadine Moedt (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: May 21, 2014

This Flickr user models a tamed-down, campus-friendly version of the high-low dress. (Image: Jamie/Flickr)

This Flickr user models a tamed-down, campus-friendly version of the high-low dress. (Image: Jamie/Flickr)

The term “mullet” was popularized, if not coined, by the Beastie Boys in 1994. Since then it has moved from cool to a good signifier of the likelihood that you’ll appear on Jerry Springer.  

So who would have thought that an ‘80s hairstyle would mirror a current red-carpet trend? As summer approaches, the mullet dress reigns, giving a welcome alternative to the now-outdated miniskirt. The mullet dress, less derisively known as a high-low or asymmetrical skirt, goes as far back as the Victorian era, where ankles were scandalously displayed by formal gowns with fishtail hems.

The mullet dress has its critics, sometimes for good reason. Like its namesake, it can easily come across as less-than-classy if worn improperly.

Unless you are on the runway or red carpet, or wish to sweep bat-like down the halls of UFV, avoid wearing overly significant heels with a floor-grazing mullet dress. The cut highlights your legs and shoes, so choose wisely. The dress is flowy and feminine, so pair it with strappy gladiators or bright kitten heels; chunky wedges or boots will interrupt your stride, and unless you want to channel Avril Lavigne or your average 13-year-old, avoid Converse sneakers at all costs.

By choosing a cropped dress that is less dramatically mullet-like — not as long in the back — you can domesticate the look while keeping the style. A shorter dress with floral prints and simple shoes won’t be out of place on campus. Stick to the full-circle hem and avoid the awkward, boxy cut of some H&M designs.

While the dress is meant to flow — an airy design is perfect for summer heat — add a belt to avoid shapelessness. A belt, worn just beneath the ribs, grounds the hippie flavour of the dress without taking away from its whimsical nature.

The mullet dress is incredibly versatile; depending on its specific cut and your own touch, the dress is wearable everywhere, from the classroom to a formal event.  

If you decide you want the floor-length Diane Von Furstenberg high-low style in all its glory, and you have occasion to wear it, avoid looking like you’re off to high school prom by choosing more discreet colours. Solid colours like deep green and navy allow for strappy heels without complicating the look.

No matter what the situation, the cut of the dress should be the focal point, so take care to accessorize lightly.

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