The Origins of the Mini Skirt

Written By: Kayla Lazarovic

As fashion silhouettes evolve and new trends emerge, one garment in particular has remained consistent throughout: the miniskirt. The miniskirt is a classic piece and can be styled to fit the requirements of numerous aesthetics. Whether it’s the perfect y2k style, preppy vibe, or rockstar’s girlfriend aesthetic, the miniskirt is an essential component to achieving these trendy looks. That is not to be confused with the miniskirt itself. Although miniskirts play a key role in achieving new trendy looks, the miniskirt is a traditional piece for all fashion lovers. You can never go wrong with a classic black miniskirt, it’s timeless. 

Now you may be wondering, who is credited with creating this iconic piece? Well, the invention of the miniskirt dates back to the year 1963 when British fashion designer Mary Quant had the miniskirt placed on window display at London’s Bazaar shop. Mary Quant was known for her youthful and playful silhouettes that maintained an element of simplicity/class for the average working woman. Liberation was also a top priority for many designers during the 60’s, they wanted their clothes to share a common message…that things were looking brighter, and times were becoming more carefree than previous decades. 

Unlike other older garments, the miniskirt has maintained its intrigue and status of being “cool”. During the 60’s when the miniskirt was introduced, the fashion industry underwent massive change in mood and overall energy. Many of the first miniskirts were colourful, or graphic with geometric shapes/designs. These attributes specifically align with the times when the skirt was first produced. 

The 60’s is often associated with the Mod Look, which is comprised of brightly coloured stockings, bell bottoms, platform shoes and of course miniskirts. The Mod Look is short for modernist and is highly influenced by pop art, hence the geometric/contrasting patterns. Famous personalities that were seen rocking the Mod Look include iconic model Twiggy, former first lady Jackie Kennedy, and actress Brigitte Bardot. 

Although the miniskirt was revolutionary in women’s liberation and enhanced the spirit of the time, the garment obtained many critics including legendary and influential designer Coco Chanel. After decades of Chanel’s goal aiming to free women of tight/revealing clothing, she thought that the introduction of the mini skirt was a step back in time. Although many would disagree with Chanel’s opinion of the mini skirt, it makes perfect sense given that she was the first female designer to transform the fashion industry 40+ years before the creation of the miniskirt by putting women in jersey knits made from the same fabric as men’s underwear and defining a new era for women’s dressing with boyish silhouettes.

Today the miniskirt means something entirely different to consumers. In the 60’s, choosing to wear a miniskirt was an important statement in response to women’s clothing options of previous decades. It was both freeing yet fashionable. Nowadays, wearing a mini skirt is a simple decision in creating an outfit and represents something entirely different. Will it be leather? Will it be tweed? Who knows? The possibilities are absolutely endless. It is no longer a conscious statement about the environment we live in and what is happening around us politically, rather a simple yet always classic fashion choice.

Luxury fashion brands continue to enhance the miniskirt with their own unique touches. It’s extremely interesting to see how different fashion houses interpret and reinvent such a classic piece. Specifically, the incredibly low miniskirt from Miu Miu’s Spring Summer 2022 fashion show practically broke the internet with multiple celebs rocking the skirt, and almost every fast fashion retailer attempting to recreate the ultra-mini skirt. Another brand to showcase their take on the timeless piece was Diesel’s Fall Winter 22 collection. The runway featured everything from denim wraparound miniskirts paired with denim knee high boots to tiny, distressed leather miniskirts paired along leather moto style jackets.

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