The mini skirt turns 50!

The mini skirt is 50 this year and is surely one of British fashion’s most iconic inventions. Mary Quant is widely credit with popularising the mini skirt, believed to have been named after her favourite car – the Mini Cooper.

The shortest skirt of them all created some stir when it was first seen in Scottish streets. In 1968, Glasgow gynaecologist Ian MacGillivray blamed the skirts for “Britain’s immorality and population explosion”!

Mary Quant believed the skirt was an obvious and natural fashion progression. “I had myself in mind when I designed it, “ she has said. “I liked my skirts short because I wanted to run and catch the bus to get to work. It was that feeling of freedom and liberation.”

The designer began experimenting with shorter hemlines in the late 1950s, culminating in the mini skirt creation in 1964. Customers fell in love with Mary Quant’s mini skirt and encouraged her to go shorter and shorter. Who hasn’t worn a skirt at some point that their parents have called a ‘pelmet’ after that bit of fabric at the top of curtains?!

“It was the girls on London’s King’s Road who invented the mini,” says Quant. “I was making clothes which would let you run and dance, and we would make them the length the customer wanted. I wore them very short and the customers would say, ‘shorter, shorter’.”

Celebrities loved the mini skirt – Jean Shrimpton, Audrey Hepburn back in the day – Kylie, Beyonce and the Spice Girls in more recent times. And every schoolgirl must remember the first time she roiled up the waistband of her skirt to make it into a mini!

Mary Quant is now 80, and admits that she doesn’t think any woman is too old to wear a mini – as long as they have the legs for it! “It depends on your legs – it’s as simple as that.”

There are loads of mini skirts on the high street – flared, skater style, cargo style, tube, micro, and more.

mini skirts oneClockwise, from top left: Leather skirt, £99.99, H&M, red skater skirt, £20, JOY, floral mini, £17.99, New Look, white flared mini, £70, French Connection, pink flared skirt, £9.99, H&M

Mary Quant is right – a mini skirt looks best short as it can be, with great legs. If you’re not that confident about your legs, you can still indulge your mini skirt love – just be clever with it. Wear opaque tights when the weather’s a bit cooler; try a monochrome skirt, with a patterned top, shifting the outfit focus slightly.

mini skirts twoClockwise, from top left: Floral skirt, £65, French Connection, black skirt, £17.99, New Look, pockets skirt, £14.99, monochrome striped skirt, yellow flared skirt, £29.99, all H&M, floral skirt, £14.99, New Look

A mini skirt does give you liberation in skirt form – so embrace one of the most iconic skirts of all this summer, show off those legs, and fall in love with a piece of fashion history.

mini skirts threeClockwise, from top left: lace skirt, £49.99, Superdry, pineapple tube skirt, £7.99, gold wrap skirt, £19.99, both H&M, green Cargo Lite skirt, £39.99, Superdry, tribal print tube skirt, £9.99, New Look, black skirt, £37.92 (was £48), Crew Clothing

Please note that we always endeavour to feature items that are available in Ocean Terminal, however sometimes items featured may be out of stock, and prices may vary due to seasonal reduction