Ah, mini skirts… Who would have thought that a small piece of cloth shaped into a skirt could revolutionize the way women dressed and how they thought of themselves and its status in the world of fashion continues to be reinvented through the years? It was called a mini skirt specifically due to the fact that it was shorter, about six to eight inches above the knee, than the skirts that women had been used to. The popularity of mini skirts hit its highest point in what was known as the “swinging sixties” but they continue to remain popularity, especially with young girls and younger women.
Prior to the 1960s, short tunics were only worn by Roman slaves, especially the gladiators who were made to battle in the Colosseum. They also made their debut on the big screen via the science fiction films “Devil Girl from Mars”, made in 1954 and worn by Patricia Laffan in her role as Nyah, and “Forbidden Planet”, made in 1956 and worn by Anne Francis in her role as Altaira Morbius. Both films were about outer space and the far future, thus making the shorter skirts worn by Patricia Laffan’s and Anne Francis’ characters “futuristic” in nature.
By the time the 1960s rolled in, two designers would forever etch their names in the fashion history books by claiming ownership over the creation of the mini skirt, British born Mary Quant and French born André Courrèges. Mary Quant had tried her hand in designing shorter skirts and finally, in 1965, her mini skirt was born and this newest star of street fashion was considered to be part of what made London “swinging” in the mid-60s. On the other hand, André Courrèges’ mini skirts were more A-line in design, considered more haute couture compared to Quant’s “street fashion” mini skirt, and were to be worn with trademark white go-go boots that he originated. While both Mary Quant and André Courrèges led the way in making mini skirts a household name in the fashion industry, other designers like Yves St. Laurent and Rudi Gernreich began including shorter skirts in their collections and offering them in their clothing boutiques.
The following decade saw the return to skirts whose lengths were longer. These skirts were called the midi skirt, which were about mid-calf in length, and the maxi skirt, which fell to one’s ankles. Even though these longer skirts gained in popularity in the 1970s, the mini skirt was still very much in the picture and was still frequently worn by celebrities and regular civilians alike. It was in the 1980s that the shorter skirts would return to prominence but with varying designs, such as the “puffball”, the “rah-rahs”, and the shorter version of the pencil cut skirt that completed a woman’s business attire, that made them fresher two decades after they first appeared.
In the 21st century, mini skirts are still very much around though they are considered more of a belt skirt, meaning that they were worn over jeans, leggings, or tights.
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