Thursday, August 05, 2010

The Midi Skirt: Birth Of A Bad Idea


midi

Above: (Top) Today show host Barbara Walters advocates on behalf of the midi while a mini-skirted midi detractor and James Brady of Women's Wear Daily look on. (Bottom Left) A soap star issues her silent protest against the new skirt length sweeping the nation--and her wardrobe department (Bottom Reft) A woman in the formerly fashionable mini holds up a midi-length skirt in the mirror. (via Life, 1970)

1970 was a big year. Angela Davis was fired from UCLA for being a communist, bicycles were finally permitted to cross the Golden Gate Bridge, and the mini skirt was declared totally and utterly dead by the editors of Women's Wear Daily. In its place emerged what would become known as the 'midi' (or, as many would have it, 'the worst thing to happen to women's legs since the Birkenstock'). Despite the appearance of such anti-midi groups as GAMS (Girls/Guys Against More Skirt) and FADD (Fight Against Dictating Designers), designers and department stores pushed forward with the trend, secure (apparently) in the knowledge that desperately fashionable women would help them weather the storm of resentment. As Marshall Field President Charles W. Folds condescendingly put it in a 1970 Life interview, "There'll always be that strange woman, God bless her, who wants to be the first out of the hen coop with the latest oddity. She'll go to any length to be au courant and we make a lot of money because of her."

(Kinda makes you crave a Virginia Slim, don't it?)

7 comments:

Lauren Bordelon said...

I have my mom's midis from the late 70's and still wear the today! With boots during the winter mostly, considering NOLA is hot as balls except for the months of December and January. I'd like to think that since she was only born in 1960, her mom made her wear midis. I'll send you a pic.

I've always preferred Capris over Virginia Slims. I feel skinnier.

Karen/Small Earth Vintage said...

I am having problems considering the mini vs. midi question as the Today show carpeting is making me itch all over.

Amanda / Rust Belt Threads said...

Barabra Walters outfit looks like it would catch on fire if someone smoked near it.

Side note: It's rumored Beyonce is to play Angela Davis in an upcoming film.....

Vanessa Mala/HeightofVintage said...

Oh I'm a mini all the way...midi's make me look frumpy-er!

Ashley Jennings said...

Dude, you are so right. What were they thinking? even the tiniest figure looks wretched

Mother Midnight Vintage said...

more of a Lucky Strike girl myself.
also, that Today Show rug makes my throat itchy - it looks like dirt.
dirt that smells like diapers.
also, i have no skirt preference; i enjoy a good pantsuit.

Huzzah! Vintage said...

according to the LIFE story I quoted from, dept. store saleswomen were instructed to not only wear midis, but to wear them with knee-high boots since that was just about the only way to make the midi look flattering!