When the clothing industry tried to end the reign of that 60s icon called the mini skirt by launching the Midi in 1968, opinion polls revealed that as many as 8 out of 10 women had no intention of ditching their minis. Girls liked the thigh-high mini to show off their shapely legs and celebrate their femininity, and the boys certainly weren’t complaining either.
But the mini skirt had dominated the market long enough, and the fashion world needed a change. And what could be more different from the mini than the mid-calf midi?
The lowering of hemlines created a stir that matched the protests of the Vietnam War. Demonstrators swarmed the major department stores and threatened to boycott any store that took the mini off the shelves.
A grassroots organisation called GAMS (“Girls Against More Skirt”) fought for their beloved mini and protested with signs like “Keep the Mini on the Market”. The youth revolution was ready to fight, and they were using the power of their voices and their wallets to make a difference.
The fashion world was in a quandary: the manufacturers made their money by changing over styles and keeping a constant stream of money in the apparel market, but no one was buying the new midi.
If girls were satisfied with their minis and weren’t spending on new styles (a new skirt length also meant new shoes and new coats to match the new length), business wouldn’t survive. So manufacturers returned to manufacturing the mini in addition to the midi on the shelves.
The midi skirt did receive some attention in the wake of the 1930s revival brought on by the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde. Faye Dunaway’s role as a sexy gangster’s moll decked out in 30s-era midi skirts, sweaters, and berets helped to hold off the midi’s imminent demise.
The sleek style of the midi was carried into the 70s when more of an “anything goes” attitude was adopted by the fashion-conscious. Minis, maxis, midis, and micros could be mixed up and worn any day of the week.
Mini or midi skirts overlaid with a flowing maxi-coat became a popular way to intermingle the different lengths and make everyone happy.