Since the 1960s, mini skirts have either been ‘in’ or ‘out’. Whether that meant Alaïa-style 80s bandage minis or 60s homage A-lines, there was a definite line drawn as to whether it was on-trend enough to deserve a place in your wardrobe.
But 50-plus years after its invention, the mini is a classic, which means it’s always in and for AW16 there’s a lot of choice.
Of course the biggest choice for my ‘elevated’ age group is whether to take the plunge at all. Years ago, fashion editors used to say “never wear a mini over 35”. Then that became over 40 and later over 50.
It doesn’t seem to have moved on from there though so I ignored the rule last autumn with a loden green boiled wool mini from Jigsaw and didn’t feel like I’d offended the fashion gods (no lightning bolts or ghostly warnings whenever I put it on). I just had to remember not to team it with the beloved over-knee boots of my youth. Hooker chic really isn’t my thing these days. A pair of ankle boots and some opaque tights were enough to disguise my advanced old age, even if it did make me feel like I was compromising.
So, will I be taking the plunge again this year? I hope so as the mini options have widened given us some great colour choices, cool embellishment, and interesting edge details. Think leather with appliqué, with suede panels or wrap details. Think lace and embroidery. Think draping, sheen, zips, studding, frills, flares, and power patterns.
And with Anthony Vaccarello (a lover of slashed, laced and sexed-up minis) now taking over at YSL, expect even more of the same at the SS17 shows in the next few weeks.
For now though, you may need to get in quick for the best pieces. & Other Stories has already sold out of its starburst leather skirt and it’s only September 5.
What can you expect to pay? Anything from a few quid on the high street up to around £200 for the best leather pieces. But prices hit the stratosphere when you get to the online luxury stores with £1,000-plus not being a rarity for labels like Vita Kin. Yet Vivienne Westwood’s Anglomania and MSGM are more affordable at £245 and £165 for the skirts featured here.
Of course, mini skirts being so small, what you wear with them is important (especially if, like me, you’re trying not to draw too much attention to your legs).
Zara has done this well with its current crop of minis styled with sweaters, bombers and high profile shirts (including one Gucci-influenced option that almost makes me want to break the habit of a lifetime and buy a checked shirt). The boots count too – without wanting to be ageist, over-knee is fine if you’re young. But for the rest of us, they can look a bit desperate (unless you’re one of those women who insists she wants to “grow old disgracefully,” in which case, feel free.)
Ankle boots, laced shoes or chunky flats are probably a better choice, and nothing too tight on top – a slouchy sweater, bomber, and casual shirt or tee all work for minis whether plain and basic or dressed up with studding, contrast panels and luxe materials.
But if you’ve been lured by one of the statement frill-trimmed minis or a high-profile patterned piece, keep whatever you wear on top more fitted.
And then there are the new tweed minis. In lookbooks and ad campaigns these often come with tweedy co-ordinates. But that could mean you end up looking like a young Princess Anne. Maybe you can carry that off if you’re under 25. As for me, I’ll keep it a bit more casual.