The History Of Miniskirts
I love miniskirts and I have gathered quite a good collection of them over the years, and they are definitely my go-to item when going out, or when I’m stuck on what to wear. I have always found the history of miniskirts quite interesting.
The History of Miniskirts:
Hemlines of skirts started noticeably rising in the 1920s. And believe it or not, there were 1920s miniskirts.
Skirts varied in length from the 1930s to 50s, and they only really significantly changed when the miniskirt came about.
There are a few people who can be seen as the first designers of the miniskirt:
John Bates, Mary Quant, André Courrège and Jean Varon.
Mary Quant, who I believe is the most popular and well known of the miniskirt bunch, is seen as one of the first people to design miniskirts. However, French designer André Courrège, started creating skirts above the knee at around the same time, so there is a bit of confusion over who actually started the miniskirt trend.
Mary Quant claimed that it wasn’t her, or Courrège, who started the craze, it was the girls on the streets.
Here is a video of her at work and one of her fashion shows:
More on the History of Miniskirts:
“The miniskirt was an extraordinary phenomenon and had a big impact because it was part of the emerging youth culture of the 1960s and it was very much an expression of that youth culture and also of the beginnings of the sexual liberation movement due to the invention of the birth control pill. So it was kind of a historic moment,” – Valerie Steele.
I didn’t actually know this before, but the miniskirt was named by Quant. Mini – for her favourite car the Mini Cooper.
Not everybody liked miniskirts though, as Coco Chanel claimed that they were ‘just awful’.
“Middle age business men would beat on the window and shout ‘It’s obscene, it’s disgusting.’ Extraordinary, isn’t it!” -Mary Quant.
I’m sure we all know who Twiggy is. She was one of the most popular models in the 60s and really popularised the miniskirt, mod look. I really love her style! I actually found one of the Twiggy design minidresses at a vintage shop in London, but it wasn’t in my size. It was probably one of the most beautiful minidresses I’d seen from that era.
Jean Shrimpton wore this dress to Melbourne Cup with no stockings, gloves or hat. At that time a lot of women still wore gloves, stockings and hats to outings. I think it’s great that she stepped outside the box!
Mary Quant wore her own designs, which is a great thing for a designer to do. I love it when designers wear their own designs!
The above shot is one of my favourite true vintage minidresses from the 60s. Sorry about the lighting.
This next dress is actually from Topshop – although it is new, it has quite a 60s look to it:
And, it is also super easy to find old patterns at op-shops or charity shops that are from the 60s. You can also find reproduced patterns at craft stores (in NZ the best shop to go to is Spotlight). This dress is made from a reproduced Simplicity pattern from the 60s:
Mod-dresses are super easy to make because they are pretty much just a tunic or a piece of material with arm holes. I sometimes cinch them in at the waist, just for a bit of shape. I have 2 more of these dresses. One white with black polka-dots and another white one with multicoloured polka-dots. I’m thinking of making one that is just for winter, because the ones I have already are not suitable for winter.
The next dress I bought at Portobello Market. They have a tonne of these sorts of dresses there. They are also at Spitalfields Market. If not this identical one, ones that are pretty similar in terms of length and style:
And last but not least:
Asos usually has great miniskirts. I bought this one a few years ago and it is great for summer and winter.