Seldom sighted since the late '60s, the miniskirt once again has male and female hearts beating faster—for very different reasons. Male hearts are going pitter-patter because the thigh-high numbers are great to look at, females' because of panic attacks brought on by the thought of wearing one.

The awful truth is minis look best on perfect legs, defined by model Claire Estep—who is paid to know—as those that are "not too fat or too thin and are free of hairs, scars, varicose veins and other blemishes." Women who fall short of perfection, i.e., just about everyone except models, should wear dark panty hose, advises designer Adrienne Vittadini, "to slim and camouflage the leg." Beyond that, warns fashion maverick Betsey Johnson, "remember what your underwear looks like when you're wearing short."

In short, what you wear is not as important as how you wear it. As a favor to the new crop of mini wearers (and as a refresher course for their moms), we offer this primer for maneuvering through the day-to-day mini minefield. You'll thank us for this someday.