If you’re anything like me, you pretty much live out of trousers in autumn and winter.
That’s why for spring it’s so refreshing to wear something a bit different. Skirts are always a useful wardrobe staple – the ability to mix up your top and shoes means they offer so much versatility.
But which skirt style has dominated the catwalks this year – midi or mini? And can you wear a shorter hemline at any age, or should you swiftly relegate yourself to a mid calf hemline as soon as you pass 25?
Read my guide to midis vs. minis before you stock up on your new season skirt buys. You might just be tempted to try something out of the ordinary from your usual style…
Midi vs. mini skirts – what’s the difference?
Mini is a bit more straightforward a concept that you’ll no doubt be familiar with. This is a short skirt which could fall anywhere from hips to the top of the knee, but I would argue to strictly be classed as a mini skirt the hemline should fall to mid thigh at most. If more of your leg is exposed than covered then you’ve got yourself a mini skirt.
The mini skirt is largely considered to have been invented by Mary Quant in 1964, which is why this style is so closely associated with vintage, 60s style. The Quant mini skirts were usually styled with opaque, coloured tights, and therefore not as revealing as we often consider this look to be nowadays. While this new look was adored by young people, the mini skirt was worn by women of all ages in the 60s to great effect.
Interesting fact: because the hems of 1960s mini skirts were so high, these garments were classed as children’s clothes, and therefore tax free. This could explain why this style was so widespread. That and the fact a good mini is faaabulous, of course!
Another fascinating mini skirt tidbit: the mini isn’t actually shorthand for the word ‘miniature’, but in fact takes its name from the Mini Cooper car. Quant loved the vehicle (same!) and decided it was a fitting moniker for her new style as they were both “optimistic, exuberant, young, flirty”. Proceed with caution exiting a Mini whilst wear a mini, however (and make sure you’re wearing underwear!).
Midi skirts are a little more complex, trend-wise. Arguably women have been wearing midi skirts since after the first world war, where the ankle-length skirts that had been de rigueur for centuries were finally considered to be too restrictive to be practical. Think of the A-line shape of the 1930s, the pencil skirts of the 1940s, calf-skimming, circle skirts of the 1950s, and the pleated style of the 1980s. That’s the thing with midi skirts: they are less of a trend and more a staple piece for women in one form or another for the past 100 years.
A midi is technically anything from mid-calf, but I think a skirt that’s knee-skimming or below fits the bill. Once your hemline hovers just above the ankle (as is SO in fashion right now!) you’re technically wearing a midaxi skirt. That’s in between a midi and maxi skirt. Makes sense, right?
Midis first rocked into my world around 2013, when the longer length pencil skirt was the key look. I’ve found myself having a real love of them ever since. A bold, bright, beaded or otherwise beautiful midi has an instant outfit-creating power unlike any other garment.
How to wear a mini skirt at all ages
The mini is one of those items I took for granted as a teenager – it wasn’t a trend, it simply was the only shape of skirt I’d ever wear. I loved showing off my legs – partly because it made me look taller! However, for the past few years I’ve run and hid any time mini skirts re-entered the fashion sphere. I felt like I was too old and my legs were too chunky to wear anything short.
I now know that’s total nonsense.
You can rock a mini at any (yes, any) age. It’s all about styling your short skirt for the most flattering look.
Unless you are in your teens and have legs for daaaaays and a full body tan to match (I hate you) then the key to working a midi skirt is all about balance. The easiest way to do this is to off-set the short hemline with a high neckline. 1960s styling was all about this: think babydoll swing dresses, Twiggy wearing itty bitty shift dresses etc. Save the strappy vests for another look… such as with your midi skirts!
For this outfit I’ve opted for a high-neck, long sleeved blouse to balance out my short hem. I love the Victoriana feel to this one. If you are a little older (I.e. over 21) then a smart blouse will keep the look classy whilst also making the outfit suitable for work or a smart evening out. Win win, right?
Still scared to bare some skin? Tights are your friend. I’m finding white tights particularly fun right now when worn with a matching white ankle boot for a properly 60s vibe. Knee-high boots also work to recreate a Mod/ Go Go-inspired look that is fun at any age. Alternatively, opt for a mini in a primary colour with black tights and boots for a colourblock outfit that is figure flattering and eye-catching.
What style of mini skirt should I shop for?
First up is the utility trend, which is hard to miss. What is it? I hear you ask. Well, we’re talking anything ‘practical’ (read: has pockets) and inspired by workwear and army gear.
With floaty city shorts also dominating runways, your new season mini skirt doesn’t need to be skin tight like the ones you likely wore in the 90s and early 00s. Something more A-line in shape is flattering and comfortable. It’s also great for any shape. Full hips? You’ll have plenty of space for them in an A-line skirt. No hips? Well, an A-line mini will create the illusion that you’ve got curves for daaays. Just make sure your skirt sits at your waist and not any lower for the most figure-enhancing profile.
Tailored co-ords are one of the biggest looks for spring. Invest in anything bouclé for a look Coco Chanel would be proud of. Traditional mini skirt suits usually feature a cropped, boxy jacket, but for a new season update look for a longline blazer that meets the hem of your skirt. A leg-lengthening nude pump or pointed-toe slingback will complete this classy look.
How to style a midi skirt
Midis aren’t just for grandmas: in fact, this cut is incredibly flattering and sophisticated on all body shapes (and ages!).
Often the key to wearing these jazzy skirts is a simple tee or lacy cami. Unless you’re me of course, in which case choose the most clashing animal print top possible. #nailedit
Midis are a go-to smart look, perfect for garden parties and nights out. However, your fave long-line skirt doesn’t have to be saved for special occasions: try teaming it with chunky trainers and a simple tee for ultimate blogger style. A few years ago the midi of choice for daytime casual would have been a pleated number, but a silky bias skirt will work just as well and provides a new season update.
My ultimate midi skirt styling tip? Invest in some big pants. Seriously. If you opt for a pencil or bias-cut skirt there is a chance they’ll cling to your stomach and butt, and a good pair of Spanx-type undies will prevent messy pantlines and unflattering bulges.
What style of midi skirt should I buy for spring?
If you haven’t seen the plethora of silky bias cut midis that infiltrated the High Street in 2019 then where have you been, girl?! Bias skirts give me the fear only because they are proof that fashions from my childhood are now BACK. IN. STYLE. <scream> but other than that, I’m aaaaallll over them.
However, the real style superstar for spring 2020 is a denim midi skirt. Right now the look is a soft A-line silhouette (so not super fitted) in a thick, quality denim. A front slit makes this style easier to move in. A smart denim midi skirt is a great buy as it offers plenty of dressed-up and casual outfit potential.
While these quirky cuts are the look du jour, other more timeless styles can be a better investment if you’re aiming to build a wardrobe with longevity. Personally I love a tulle ballerina skirt dressed up or down, or a figure-hugging pencil skirt for evening wear with the WOW factor.
So, what’s it to be for you? A midi or a mini? Share your outfit snaps with me on Instagram, @styledbyalicex
Keep rocking it, ladies!