History of the Mini Skirt

Miniskirts have now become a common sight in developed countries, especially the United States of America. While this garment might have created controversy at several points, many women insist on wearing it in order to maintain a fashionable look. Of course, the wearing of the miniskirt has also been a rebellious statement for several folks.

Among the fashion trends of the 1960s, the miniskirt is the one that has remained popular up to the present. Here are just a few of the interesting facts about this classic clothing garment and what you can wear on your first date:

The Rah-Rah or Ra-Ra Skirt

The rah-rah skirt was a hot fashion trend during the 1980s and was derived from regular cheerleading uniforms. According to the Oxford Dictionary, the rah-rah skirt was a successful attempt to bring back the miniskirt.

Madonna at the MTV Awards

At the 1984 MTV Video Music Awards, pop icon Madonna literally rolled around the stage wearing a white tulle skirt that resembled a wedding dress.  While the star has reinvented her look countless times, she remains a fashion icon in every way.

Miniskirts in the 2000s

In the 2000s, celebrities such as pop sensation Britney Spears and hotel heiress Paris Hilton started to wear midriff-baring tops. In the eyes of young fashionistas who idol-worshipped these celebrities, such tops went well with the miniskirt.

It was hence not surprising that this look soon became the rage during that time. This was also the decade when celebrities such as Christina Aguilera made miniskirts the predominant garment of choice at the red carpet.

Miniskirts in the 1990s

Just like the 1980s, miniskirts during the 1990s continued to be the “power suit” for most of the female race in the United States. Miniskirts were no longer just for girls and teenagers, but they also became a power statement for high-flying, career-oriented adult women.  

TV shows such as Ally McBeal and Melrose Place largely influenced the incorporation of miniskirts into office wardrobes. The sleek, neat look of business suit miniskirts paired well with blazers and blouses, giving women a feminine yet professional look. Needless to say, many ambitious women found inspiration with such combinations.

Miniskirts in the 1980s

With the popularity of rah-rah skirts, the miniskirt successfully made a comeback and has been in vogue since. Although miniskirts during the 1980s were initially worn for leisure, we’ve already discussed how women also began to wear short skirts as part of their office attire.

Miniskirts in the 1970s

Miniskirts took a backseat during the 1970s, but Blondie lead singer Debbie Harry helped revive them by wearing them often when she performed on the stage. It initially became popular again among punk music acts during that time, and the spread to other demographics.

Miniskirts in the 1960s

British designer Mary Quant is credited for inventing the modern miniskirt in 1964. Her revolutionary garment became an instant hit among young women. This is because it paved the way for them to express their sexual freedom as well as their taste in fashion.


Miniskirts in the 1950s

Full skirts with the hemline reaching way below the knees were all the rage during this decade. Miniskirts during the 1950s were mostly reserved for science fiction, making appearances on films like Flight to Mars and the TV series Space Patrol.


Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman

The then-newcomer Julia Roberts became an overnight star with the success of the now-classic movie ‘Pretty Woman’. This was released back around 1990 and was an instant trendsetter with Roberts’ iconic short skirt and thigh high boots

Josephine Baker’s Banana Costume

Long hemlines were popular among the “flappers” during the 1920s, but it looks like Josephine Baker stunned them all by wearing a miniskirt made from fake bananas while performing the “Danse Sauvage” at the Folies Bergere in Paris.

This performance was iconic for several reasons, but the glaring display of the primitiveness and subverted stereotypes are among the most powerful messages. This dance and the miniskirt gave rise to an unprecedented revolution. Pictures of the dancer wearing the skirt became highly popular, with people even looking for ways to make their skin darker to resemble hers.  Beyonce paid tribute to Baker by wearing a similar outfit a few years back, so we know that this was no ordinary miniskirt.

In fact, the 1920s as a decade that boasted one of the most iconic fashion scenes we’ve ever known. If you’re up for it, we’ve covered this in more detail here.


While not everyone might agree about the miniskirt being the best garment one can wear, we have to understand the dichotomies and stories behind this item. It’s not just a matter of women exposing their skin or choosing to be restricted by a tight piece of clothing. It’s also about breaking free, defying the mainstream, or just looking good in your own way!

As we’ve learned above, miniskirts come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, fabrics, and designs. There are longer and shorter versions as well, so one can pick and choose as they see fit. One thing is for sure; it’s definitely worth reading up on the miniskirt in some detail, as this can give us several interesting historical insights into society itself.