Mary Quant is credited as the first to reveal the ultra-short miniskirt which became one of the defining fashions of the swinging 60s. Quant named the miniskirt after her favourite make of car, the Mini.
The miniskirt was developed separately by Andre Courrèges and there is disagreement as to who came up with the idea first. the French referred to it as la mini-jupe. Either way, the mini was shocking, and not since the 1920s flapper had exposing your knees caused such a stir.
Respectable ladies wore skirts at knee length, and young girls were supposed to follow the respectable path, but something happened when the daring Quant shortened skirts, and the world went mod while mothers across the free world were united in shrieking “You’re not going out wearing THAT!” at long-legged daughters who saw the Sixties mini as a symbol of women’s liberation.
The all-too-revealing mini skirt coincided with the birth of the sexual revolution and exposed more than legs.
The birth control pill hit the market in 1960, and in 1962, feminist and future Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown published Sex and the Single Girl, a support manual for young women who refused marriage but didn’t want to sacrifice the most primal urge.
Sex was everywhere, and even more shocking than girls enjoying sex was that they were talking about it. And the mini skirt was the best advertisement for the sexual revolution.
Girls could strut their stuff, free to expose their sensuality, and men were just going to have to deal with it. No more covering up, keeping flesh under wraps because of the consequences of temptation.
The miniskirt boldly stated the new confidence of a woman’s body and her place in the feminine world. The 60s girl called the shots, and in her sexy new mini skirt, she got what she wanted!