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The mini skirt became a mainstream fashion staple in the 1960s, (scandalous!) and has freed our legs ever since. The 1980s saw the mini skirt in all shapes, colors, textures, and ensembles.
Madonna wore the mini with her ¾ lace leggings, rockers wore it in leather with matching jackets, and tweens wore ruffled confections with leotards and leg warmers.
These days, the mini skirt is still going strong and can be seen trotting along city streets with 80s-inspired styles and accessories in tow. True to modern style, anything goes! From minimal white tees and ankle boots to frou-frou blouses and bright, textured coats.
Take a look through our favorite mini skirt looks (then and now), and get your sartorial juices flowing.
Pat Benatar’s red leather mini and tank
A simple black tank top or bodysuit worn with a high-waisted red leather miniskirt and stockings. Simple jewelry, unkempt hair, and dramatic 80s makeup with strong cheekbones and smokey eyes. Throw on a blazer and you’ve got a current portrayal of the 80s rocker aesthetic.
Tina Turner’s thigh-split mini with fishnets
Technically, this is a mini dress, but it may as well be a top and skirt! The skirt is cut ultra-high at the side to maximise those black fishnets. Worn-in denim with leather and legs, take note.
Madonna’s hip-slung mini with lace tights and a bulky jacket
Classic 80s Madonna “more is more” styling. A simple, fitted mini hugs the hips, accessorized with a low-slung belt, and lace ¾ stockings. Note the purple thread running form headscarf to tights, with glimpses in the ornate, oversized jacket.
The ‘Mini-Crini’ by Vivienne Westwood
A Vivienne Westwood classic, taking 1800s style and making it 80s-ready. Red velvet with platform ballet flats and ribbons winding up the leg. Take inspiration from the corset-style top contrasting the voluminous skirt, with a string of demure pearls.
High-waisted mini with layered belts and a plain tee
Another example of low-slung belts worn over a mini, and plenty of costume jewelry pearl necklaces. Try a high-waisted tweed mini with an off-shoulder white tee and blazer, with chain belts secured around the hips. Note the use of colored stockings and gloves.
A denim jacket, pink mini, and slouchy boots
80s party girls! Pink mini skirts with matching pink slouchy boots, with blue denim jackets, rolled at the sleeves. Note the pink skirt suit with a plain white tee and white leather belt and matching handbag. Break up the demureness of matchy-matchy with rolled-sleeves and low heels.
Double denim and bare midriffs
A tight denim mini with matching jacket worn over a white cropped tee. Accessorized with a black leather belt and layered gold cross chain necklaces.
Peplum ruffles and bustier tops
Check out this incredible shot from an old-school clothing brand promo. Add extra volume with a ruffle peplum at the hip, over a straight mini in rich velvet or high-shine metallic. Pair with a boned or ruched bustier, and accessorize with a matching earring and necklace or bracelet set. Black tights optional.
DIY studs and embellishment
Alyssa Milano in 1988 is our OTT miniskirt dream. A patchwork denim mini covered in metal studs, a metallic tank, and a denim jacket even more spangled than the skirt. Studded boots, a diamante bag, huge hair, dangly earrings, and glamour-shot makeup. Party clothes on overdrive, and what’s not to love?
A slouchy sweater and heels
Alexa Chung demonstrates the power of a slouchy sweater styled up with a tweed mini and fluff-embellished heels. Her dainty over-shoulder bag with gold chain strap polishes off this oh-so French look.
Catalog Color blocking brights
Another absolute gem from the depths of 1980s catalogs. This outfit proves that clashing colors are forever chic, even when you throw shoulder pads, ruching, and button details in the mix. Tuck a block color blouse into a bold mini and throw a blazer over top, either in contrast hues or plain black to tone it back.
Long-line blazer and turtleneck
The possibilities of a long, menswear-style blazer in neutral check are endless. Here, it’s thrown over a creamy turtleneck, under a high-waisted mini with a self-fabric belt. The black sunglasses and black leather clutch add discerning details and minimalist class. Chic, a little vintage, powerful.
Contrasting textures, colors, and plenty of leg
Fashion should be fun, and it can even be dramatic and over the top. Pair an uber-short wrap mini with knee-high boots, a high-neck blouson shirt, and an oversized coat in a bold shade and stand-out texture. Embrace colors and textures you wouldn’t usually think to pair.
Mysterious sunglasses, leather jacket, and a plain tee
A miniskirt lends itself perfectly to casual-cool, rockstar-ready ensembles such as this leather jacket and cowboy boot dream. A textured, neutral mini with a plain white tee, cropped leather biker jacket, statement fishnet stockings, and berry-toned boots. Add dark, winged sunglasses and a sweet little bag. Sexy, stylish, aloof.
Preppy plaid, gold jewelry, and blinding highlight
Go matchy-matchy and find a mini skirt with matching blazer in bold plaid. Pair with a demure turtleneck and layer with gold jewelry. Go 90s with tiny sunglasses, a boxy bag, and bring the modernity with a “blinding” highlight, groomed-yet-thick brows, and a deep nude lip.