Oh my goodness! On a whim I googled Mini Skirts and saw one for sale that’s $1950.00 including tax. You’d hope it included tax! Who in the world pays that much for a Mini Skirt? No one I know, for sure.
But where did this most iconic item of clothing come from and what is the secret of its enduring popularity? Well, here’s everything you ever wanted to know about Mini Skirts but were afraid to ask!
One of the oldest surviving garments resembling a Mini Skirt is the short woolen skirt with bronze ornaments worn by the Egtved Girl for her burial in the Nordic Bronze Age (c. 1390–1370 BCE).
And an ancient Egyptian fresco shows a female acrobatic dancer wearing a “Mini Skirt” seemingly made out of cotton that shows off both her hips and her legs. She’s the central character below.
Another of the earliest known cultures where women regularly wore clothing resembling Mini Skirts was a subgroup of the Miao people of China.
During the Qing dynasty (1644–1912) from the early eighteenth century onwards to illustrate the various types of Miao, the Duan Qun Miao women were depicted wearing “mini skirts that barely cover the buttocks when standing”. Now that’s a miniskirt. I think we’d call that a ‘micromini’ today.
The dancer Josephine Baker‘s famously outrageous banana skirt that she wore for her mid-1920s performances in the Folies Bergère in Paris was subsequently likened to a miniskirt. Decide for yourself. As a side note, I’ll be writing a future blog about the amazing Josephine Baker very soon … she’s fascinating.
20 years after Josephine donned her bananas, Pinup images by artists like Earle K. Bergey often included Mini Skirts. But by the 1950s, they were reserved mainly for “women of the future,” meaning women who starred in sci-fi scenarios, in comics and on the silver screen. They were famously common amongst the Star Trek crew in the 60s and 70s of course!
Notably, in a 1950 TV series called Space Patrol, (shown above) the women wore micro Mini Skirts, in complete contrast to the real style of the majority of women in the 50’s. Quelle horreur!
In the 1960s, wearing a short skirt switched from being an individual fashion decision to a political act.
Mary Quant had started experimenting with shorter skirts in the late 1950s. Among her inspirations was the memory of seeing a young tap-dancer wearing a “tiny skirt over thick black tights”, influencing her designs for young, active women who did not wish to resemble their mothers. Quant said: “It was the girls on the King’s Road [during the “Swinging London” scene] who invented the mini.”
She went on to say “I was making easy, youthful, simple clothes, in which you could move, in which you could run and jump and we would make them the length the customer wanted. I wore them very short and the customers would say, ‘Shorter, shorter.’ Freedom of movement, freedom to demonstrate that you are forward thinking and not going to behave the way women before them behaved.”
As young women gained a heightened awareness of how society treated them differently than their male peers, they came together to fight for their right to wear a skirt as short as they wanted. It was their decision and no one else’s decision. All while the general atmosphere around women’s liberation began to shift.
Women like Gloria Steinem continued to hold on to the idea that the miniskirt was a transgressive act, wearing them to rallies and speeches, proving that you can be strong and wear feminine clothing at once. According to the Washington Post, she was the “the miniskirted pinup girl of the intelligentsia.”
Since the early 1960s, Mini Skirts have existed as a symbol of women’s liberation. It is no coincidence that designers like Mary Quant, André Courrèges, and Yves Saint Laurent all began to raise hemlines, (and some eyebrows), during the early days of the feminist movement. In “Swinging London,” models like Twiggy sported mod miniskirts with white tights and go-go boots; in Paris, the look became part of the Space Age trend; and in America, activists like Germaine Greer and Gloria Steinem sported them on the front lines.
In fact, Mini Skirts became so politicized that when designers like Dior failed to show them on the runway, a group of women who called themselves the “British Society for the Protection of Mini Skirts,” protested outside of the show with signs that read, “Mini Skirts forever.”
In just one garment, one could feel the cultural zing of women’s rights, feminism and liberation alongside the fight for female birth control. Mostly worn by young women who were taking part in those debates themselves, the skirt encapsulated the movement.
In 1965 model Jean Shrimpton wore a mini length shift dress with no stockings, hat or gloves to the Melbourne Cup Carnival in Australia, causing an international stir. The blue-rinsed ladies of Melbourne were absolutely scandalised – young women loved it.
Mini Skirts never quite faded from the public consciousness—with icons like Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, The Spice Girls and so many others, all keeping the trend alive.
Paris Hilton raised hemlines even further with denim Mini Skirts, increasing the popularity of what we now call the “micro mini.” As Hilton herself told W this year, “Skirts should be the size of a belt. Life’s short; take risks.”
I wanted to know what the Mini Skirt was going to look like in 2021 so I went to Vogue Magazine and found these images for the “Street View for 2021”. I’m going to add some tartan Mini Skirts to my Redbubble shop, that’s for sure.
You can wear them with long knee high boots or short calf height boots or pale heels. Paris Hilton chose “over the knee” boots – but I’m thinking very few of us would get away with that look!
In September 2020 the Chanel Womenswear Runway fashion show went ahead in Paris and here are some unusually thin women wearing Mini Skirts suggestions for us in 2021!
Some good advice about how to wear your skirt and what footwear to pair it with comes from Imogen Lamport’s amazing Insideoutstyleblog blog which you can read here.
I found some images of “normal” sized women here thankfully so you can see how we can wear our new miniskirts in 2020 and 2021 whatever size you are.
I’ve loved finding out about Mini Skirts and hope you have too.
These are some of the Mini Skirt designs I have available in my RedBubble shop skirts today. Enjoy browsing and remember that they are ready to send right now and new design suggestions are always welcome.
I hope you enjoy browsing through our Mini Skirts designs.
Here’s where they all are. I do hope you’ve enjoyed ‘everything you ever wanted to know about Mini Skirts but were afraid to ask’ and wonder if you’ve learnt anything about miniskirts today?
Please let me know if you have.
Jenie x2020 fashion boots Chanel Fashion Week comics designers Earle Bergey fashion fashion week Gloria Steinem heels https://www.redbubble.com/people/jenieyolland/shop?artistUserName=jenieyolland&iaCode=w-skirt-mini insideoutstyleblog jenieyolland Josephine Baker liberation Louis Vuitton micro miniskirt mini mini skirt miniskirt my shop Paris Hilton redbubble redbubbleshop Vogue Australia womens liberation