How The Mini Skirt Shook Up 1960s Style


Left: Raquel Welch dances on stage with a group of soldiers during a Bob Hope USO show at Da Nang, Vietnam. Right: Poster for the 1968 movie 'The Mini-Skirt Mob.' Source: Getty/Bettman; IMDB

When we ponder the great inventions of the '60s -- lasers, computers, kevlar, the pill -- let's not neglect the miniskirt, which started a fashion avalanche. Risque clothing was to be avoided in the '40s and '50s; if you weren't a ballerina or at the beach, above-the-knee displays were scandalous. But then came the miniskirt, thanks to Mary Quant, and the minidress, and then the micromini, and -- well, without the miniskirt we never would have had hot pants. Would you want to live in a world where hot pants and short shorts had never been a thing? Exactly.

For many women, especially teens, fashion was never really a choice. In this day and age a woman can easily shop in a variety of departments such as misses, petite, plus, and juniors. This is a luxury women of all ages did not have in the 60s. It’s safe to say teens suffered the most when it came to fashion. It’s bad enough that you are forced to wear clothing that you don’t want to wear when you’re a kid but having to wear threads like your mom when you're old enough to have voice completely sucks.

Introducing the miniskirt. It’s kind of hard to believe that a piece of clothing could have such a big impact on youth culture and society in general. The miniskirt was more than just a skirt that laid a few inches above the knee, it was symbol of youth, sexuality, and power. At the time young people were sick of not having their voices heard and having to fit into a certain mold. 

Problem: Young Women Who Felt Like Old Ladies

For young women fashion was boring and made you feel like an old lady instead of like a fox. The miniskirt was a statement to society and "the man" that they could no longer be in a sense controlled giving women the power to express themselves. The miniskirt also allowed women to embrace their sexuality. For once women got to show a little more skin and was embraced by their culture for it.

We have fashion designer Mary Quant to thank for for bringing us the the Mod era and more importantly the miniskirt. As made up as this may sound the miniskirt was actually named after Mary's favorite car, the Mini Cooper. The shortened hemline made the girls go crazy for these threads and the guys go crazy for the girls, I mean who could keep their eyes off of some foxes walking down the street showing leg? Certainly not the hunks in the 60s.

Legs As A Fashion Statement, A Personal Statement, And A Political Statement

Now you may be thinking, how did a skirt become a symbol of sexuality? Well besides showing more skin than usual the miniskirt came about at a time when the birth control pill was first invented. The hanky panky was less problematic so why not dress a little more promiscuous you had protection. Not to say that wearing a miniskirt made you promiscuous (because yes it was also a fashion statement) but it sure didn’t mean you were a saint. Let’s not forget putting on a miniskirt meant you were making a statement to the world that you can dress however you want, and show as much skin as you want all because you were young and legitimately could do whatever the heck you want.

The beauty of fashion is that it can embody so many things. While the miniskirt was very “political” it also took the couture houses by storm. The trendiest shops and the biggest runways were home of the miniskirt. This piece of clothing could be spotted on the streets and on the runways leaving its mark on history for stirring up some real...