The only wardrobe item tinier than our party dresses, short shorts, and cardigans in 2021 are our skirts, which, over the course of the pandemic, have dwindled to near-nonexistent proportions. For proof, see Bella Hadid, twirling in a pleated, low-rise mini on Instagram, and Dua Lipa donning a Thom Browne crop top and a school-dress-code-violating plaid skirt in NYC. After more than a year of lockdown, most of which was spent indoors, wrapped in a sartorial blanket (read: Pangaia sweatsuits), fashion as a whole went through the shrink ray.
The first signs of a micro mini comeback arrived on the catwalks at Saint Laurent, Miu Miu, and Blumarine’s fall ’21 shows last winter. The absence of maxi skirts and midi skirts meant that hemlines were a thing of the past. Reminiscent of the Y2K-era silhouettes beloved by Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, and Rihanna in the early ’00s, the 2021 version of the micro mini is often low-rise, fitted, and cropped short.
It’s not surprising that one of their early supporters was the first to walk off-the-runway in a micro-mini in 2021. Rihanna was seen wearing a denim cutoff skirt with visible boxers and a tropical shirt. She also wore sky-high sandals that were strappy for a trip to the grocery store. The photos of the singer-designer quickly went viral, prompting us to question our possibly ill-advised decision not to donate many of our jean skirts dating back to the early aughts.
Maryam Nassir Zadeh introduced a mini skirt with a crotch similar to a resort ’22 top in July. Miami-based label Gimaguas ran with it, styling its now-sold-out selection of boob tubes as micro minis, and vice versa. Indie labels like 1xblue, Tank Air, Miaou, and Gauge81, most of which were designing mini skirts before they were ranked on fashion’s “hot” list, saw spikes in popularity on Instagram, showing up on A-listers like Paloma Elsesser, Emma Chamberlain, Willow Smith, and Olivia Rodrigo, resulting in frequent sell-outs and impressive waitlists.
Also in July, buy-now-pay-later platform Klarna reported a 67% increase in searches for mini skirts, compared to just a month prior in June – a number likely to grow as sold-out styles are restocked and more and more designers ditch the modest hem-lengths they frequented pre-pandemic.
Fashion Month seemed to indicate that this was the case. In addition to visible underwear and low-rise jeans, micro mini skirts circa the early ’00s were in heavy rotation during New York Fashion Week. Models at Theophilio donned minis made of striped knitwear and red leather, while at Kim Shui, the brand paired leather skirts with TikTok-approved scarf tops. Sandy Liang styled tiny cardigans with pleated mini skirts, and Saint Sintra put tin-foil-esque skirts with see-through tops and destroyed stockings. Their support helped to extend the trend’s reach well into next year.
Six months of wearing mini skirts with leg-baring hemlines feels like the right thing for our wardrobes, considering how much time we spent in sweats during lockdown. It will also allow us to finally get rid of all the logo and pattern-clad tights we bought before the pandemic. If that isn’t enough to make you want to cut your skirt collection, there are plenty more.