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Maximum Impact: The Miniskirt

No other fashion trend quite represents the “swinging sixties” like the miniskirt!

Hemlines had started to creep up as we moved from the fifties into a new decade, moving up above the knee for the first time since the Roaring Twenties. But it wasn’t until the British Invasion moved the center of fashion from Paris and New York to London that skirt lengths shortened radically and the miniskirt was born.

There is some debate over who really started the trend. Carnaby Street designer Mary Quant gets credit, but there is evidence that she wasn’t the first designer in London to come up with the idea. Regardless, young girls all over the world quickly embraced the design.

Here in the U.S.A., the miniskirt gave school principals fits. Schools across the country broke out yardsticks and spent many a morning measuring skirt lengths and sending home those hussies. Of course, many smart girls would begin by wearing a somewhat longer skirt to get by their parents and school officials at the start of the day. Then, they would head to the girl’s bathroom and readjust the length of their skirts to be as short as they thought they could get away with.

(it will seem totally strange to people under the age of 60, but during that decade most schools did not allow girls to wear slacks to school – dresses and skirts only.)

Despite their length, true sixties’ miniskirts were not tight or form-fitting. Instead, they looked like the simply flared, A-line skirts of the 1950s, just cut shorter.

As this style was not conducive to wearing stockings with garters, the miniskirt also helped popularize the recently introduced pantyhose as well as a variety of colored tights.

Of course, a few designers tried going even shorter with the micromini, and skirt lengths continue to go up and down with each new fashion season, but the miniskirt has never really disappeared from the fashion scene.

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