The arrival of the miniskirt is a defining moment in fashion history and yet it has also divided opinion, as women ask themselves: 'How short is too short?'
We may all have a view on when a stylish miniskirt becomes a fashion faux-pas and, during the rise of the miniskirt in the 1960s, those very same conversations were taking place. The emergence of new youth culture meant teenagers no longer wanted to wear the same clothes as their parents. It was time for a change and Mary Quant, who owned a shop on London's Kings Road, was instrumental in bringing this look from the street to the mainstream.
Recognising this shift, M&S introduced fashion ranges specifically designed for younger customers. In 1967 one of the early advertising campaigns for M&S clothing was launched featuring model-of-the-moment Twiggy wearing mini-dresses. A fashion commentator at the time wrote: 'Women are beginning to reveal inches of leg that haven't seen public admiration since before the New Look'.
From the Archive
The Miniskirt at M&S
Below left: An internal magazine, 1966
Below right: Twiggy models for M&S
M&S stayed true to its customers, though, and introduced fashionable miniskirts with a slightly longer hemline ensuring women who wanted to wear the latest trend in a flattering way could do just that. In fact, M&S miniskirts weren't short enough for some customers who opted to buy wrap-around children's kilts to achieve that ultra-short look. M&S customer Jackie, from Hastings, told me: "I remember when skirts were dry cleaned the cleaners priced it by the inch so the shorter the better financially!" Shorter skirts also led to a successful trial of tights which M&S declared 'the best and only way to bridge the mini-gap'.
The Trend On
For spring/summer 2013 the catwalk saw countless references to the ‘60s silhouette with miniskirts hitting the catwalks at Chanel (pictured right), Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton and Moschino (pictured left).
Your Style Adviser
Create your style profile and receive personalised recommendations for your body shape
Seasonal style ideas and our edit of the catwalk trends that work for your modern life.
If you love the miniskirt and '60s-inspired style, take a look at our shorter lengths edit to shop now.