Just when you thought it couldn’t get any shorter, the mini maxed out at the micro. The micro skirt barely covered the wearer, and was as short as short could be without exposing any unmentionables. These tiny skirts were the product of pushing the limits of fashion far beyond the norm.
The 60’s built upon the idea of the teenager uniform, and instead of borrowing clothes from the workman’s closet as a sign of rebellion (like the rebels of the 50’s), a whole slew of young and adventurous entrepreneurs filled the fashion niche. Teenagers were a substantial market for manufacturers, but their clothes were either smaller versions of their parents’, or cookie cutter replicas of every other teen’s wardrobe. The true individual was a new concept, and fashion designers like Mary Quant catered to the teens seeking individuality and expression through clothes.
Mary’s boutique, Bazaar, featured one-of-a-kind garments, as well as small production runs of her own avant-garde designs. Teens were desperate to express themselves, and when the miniskirt hit the shelves, it freed more than the girl’s legs. Once girls got the taste of freedom from constriction and celebrated their femininity, they didn’t know where to stop. The original miniskirt, as shocking as it was, was scarcely above the knee. Hemlines continued to rise until they couldn’t rise any higher, and the micro skirt was born.
The micro skirt demanded the use of tights, specially created by Mary Quant for her miniskirts. The micro was so shy of fabric, that without the partial covering of tights, the wearer would be next to nude. The micro contradicted the new role of liberated woman: the ultra-short skirt actually prohibited the freedom touted of the mini skirt. The wearer couldn’t bend down to buckle a shoe strap, pick up a dropped book, or even reach up to the top shelf of the grocery store without exposing herself.
The micro skirt was only for the most adventurous, and the hemlines dropped to a more socially acceptable mid-thigh, where they remained for the following decade. The 80’s saw the revival of the micro, when the miracle fiber Lycra made it possible to wear the body-hugging micro skirt with minimal flash.