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What are Midi Skirts?

Matthew F.
Matthew F.

Midi skirts are mid-calf length skirts, first made popular in the 1970s. The midi skirt developed as a response to the short mini skirts popular in the 1960s and pre-dated the maxiskirts that would emerge at the end of the 1970s. Midis allowed women a sporty look that did not sacrifice a covered-up look.

Midi skirts entered mainstream fashion at a time when the youth of the 1960s was maturing away from the revealing length of the mini skirt. Midi skirts offered a sleek fit down to the mid-calf. They featured a typical A-line design, worn around the waist just at or below the belly-button. Midi skirts, though, would maintain the liberated and youthful look inspired by the mini skirt, but less restricting than the ankle-length maxiskirt.

Woman posing
Woman posing

Midi skirts were made of many of the typical fabrics of the time, cotton among the most popular. Midis were also made from polyester “doubleknit” fabrics, first popular at this time, and Indian fabrics from 1960s fashion. Midi skirts incorporated many bleach and tie-dye techniques developed by the 1960s-70s generation. They were worn by many with thick platform shoes or with a long coat worn to the mid-calf as well.

Midi skirts shared the market at about an equal rate with the mini skirt and the maxiskirt, and the three would compliment each other within the wardrobe of one person. A typical, fashion-savvy 1970s woman could be seen wearing the mini skirt to a beach or out on a day-date. The next day, the same woman might be seen wearing a maxiskirt to a business meeting, and a midi skirt relaxing at home, or out dancing.

Midi skirts received attention from the hugely popular 1967 movie, Bonnie and Clyde. Faye Dunaway’s role as the provocative, historical gangster, in a sexy midi skirt, brought a popular culture success to the midi, and encouraged young, rebellious girls across the United States to try out the look.

The revival of the midi skirt was the article's first major movement since the 1930s, though the skirt did gain a following among high school-aged girls in the 1950s. A midi-like skirt was first seen in the 1930s as a response to the short skirts popular in the 1920s. The beginning of the Depression, and a toning down of out-going 1920s styles found the mid-calf length popular across the United States, and became a length popular in dance clubs of the 1930s.

Discussion Comments


A skirt like this would look great on high school girls, in my (male teen-aged) mind.


@sapphire I do think that this article probably would benefit from more mention of how flattering the styles are. Mini skirts can also be a challenge, since while the expose leg to add height, they also risk making your legs look wider than they are; I agree, just above the knee is best; if you have to wear below the knee, stick to styles that are just above the knee; pencil skirts are good if you want to hug your curves, and A-lines if you want something that is looser and more billowy, but still with a fitted waist.


The trouble with midi skirts is that they tend to fall right at the widest part of the calf, and therefore tend to be one of the most unflattering skirt cuts imaginable. On most women, especially those who are shorter, a just-above-the-knee look will be much more flattering, and exposing your knee automatically makes you look taller.

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