The 13 Best Mini Skirts, According to Stylists

And did you know the style has played a powerful role in feminist history?

woman wearing a mini skirt overlayed with white text the essentials
(Image credit: Getty)

Welcome to The Essentials, our weekly series highlighting a must-have classic, key to building a timeless, pulled-together closet.

The mini skirt has always been a contentious fashion trend. Look to the viral micro-mini from Miu Miu, for instance, which sparked a ferocious online debate within days of its Fall/Winter 2022 debut and left many perplexed on how to style the skirt in real life without getting ticketed for public indecency. And while some buzzy mini moments are mere flashes in the sartorial pan, the best mini skirts stand the test of time and serve a much more profound purpose than just being a clickbait gimmick.

An abridged history lesson on the controversial piece: "The mini skirt is associated with designer Mary Quant, who was the first to show it on the runway in the '60s. However, this was not so much a high-fashion trend but one that began in the streets," explains fashion historian Einav Rabinovitch-Fox. "Popularized by young women who sought to change the political and cultural discourse, the mini was connected to the 1960s sexual revolution and the rise of youth culture. As such, it was conceived as a radical fashion, symbolizing women's growing public visibility and their insistence on claiming a space for themselves."

"In the '70s," the historian details, "the fashion industry sought to push the midi skirt, but women rebelled, organized protests, boycotts, and even 'clip-ins' (where you would cut your midis to a mini length). The industry backed down, and the mini skirt remained a staple in women's wardrobes. It was a reclamation of women's sexiness and bodily autonomy—a statement of more assertive femininity and empowerment."

women in the 1960s protesting for the mini skirt

(Image credit: Kent Gavin/Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)

Rabinovitch-Fox says it's no coincidence that the liberated silhouette is popping up on recent runways and igniting discourse again. "Women feel a need to reclaim their sexuality and body autonomy in the face of attacks on their rights [in 2023], and the mini, with its history and connotations, is a useful way to do it." The historian adds, however, that she perceives another layer of symbolism to be at play with today's mini skirts. "There is more to it than just a response to the current restrictions: I see the return of the mini skirt as part of a broader trend of showing skin and emphasizing the body that is more to do with people feeling safe to appear in public after the pandemic." After years of lockdowns and isolation, of hunkering down indoors and being perceived solely through a screen, there's a collective itch to show up and show out—a 'look at me!' need that perfectly lends itself to the leggy skirt.

Ahead, two fashion stylists round up the best mini skirts for women in 2023 and highlight a few specific details worth keeping in mind while you shop. Honor the style's origins as a symbol of female empowerment and invite a new piece into your wardrobe—a win-win shopping decision!

What to Look for in a Mini Skirt

  • Fit

"If you're shopping for a mini skirt online, knowing your measurements (especially waist and hips) will help determine how it will fit you," says fashion stylist Olivia Rose. "When in doubt, tailoring can help you get the perfect length and fit."

  • Silhouette

"Knowing what style and cut you feel best in is super helpful," Rose shares. "A-line is a universally flattering style because of how it accentuates the waist. I also often opt for a higher waistline, which is more elongating than anything lower rise."

Fashion stylist Mickey Freeman echoes Rose, pointing out that you want to be mindful of how the skirt can skew quite sultry due to its leg-baring cut. "Whether a first-time buy or another addition to your collection, a mini skirt should be tastefully constructed. For example, in most cases, a skirt having too long of a split could transform an already organically sexy garment into an obvious appearance of overkill," he cautions. 

  • Textiles

The material of your mini can also dictate your outfit's overall vibe, explains Freeman. If you want a more formal and dressed-up look, "try to find mini skirts made of something other than denim, such as leather, which can be the catalyst needed to bring texture into the overall look."

The Best Mini Skirts

Meet the Fashion Experts

 Einav Rabinovitch-Fox
Einav Rabinovitch-Fox

A historian and public scholar, Einav writes about the intersections between fashion, politics, and modernity, particularly the role of visual and material culture in social movements. Her new book is Dressed For Freedom: The Fashionable Politics of American Feminism, and she also appeared in The Washington PostNew York Times, Elle, Teen Vogue, and W Magazine

Olivia Rose
Olivia Rose

Olivia got her start as a stylist through assistant celebrity styling in Nashville and New York. After learning from many experienced stylists in the game, she went on to build my business working with musical artists, celebrities, commercial brands and personal styling clients. Whether it’s dressing her clients for red carpet events, doing wardrobe on set for music videos or helping her personal clients find their true style, she enjoys being a part of the creative process that is finding self expression through fashion to feel your best.

Mickey Freeman
Mickey Freeman

Mitchell Freeman, also known as Mickey, is a fashion stylist born and raised in Philadelphia. Mickey currently works with the likes of Peyton List, McKenna Grace, Landry Bender, Aldis Hodge, Tobias Harris, Sinqua Walls, Dylan Sprouse, Azealia Banks, Keke Palmer, and Dascha Polanco. His work has been featured in publications such as GQ, Vogue, Marie Claire, Grazia, and L'Officiel. 

Emma Childs
Fashion Features Editor

Emma is the fashion features editor at Marie Claire, who writes everything from trend reports to fashion featurettes and long-form profiles. Previously, she was Marie Claire's style editor, writing shopping e-commerce guides, assisting with market for fashion photo shoots, and assigning and editing fashion celebrity news.

Emma also wrote for The Zoe Report, Editorialist, Elite Daily, Bustle, and Mission Magazine. She studied Fashion Studies and New Media at Fordham University Lincoln Center. When she's not writing fashion deep-dives, you'll find her stalking eBay for designer vintage, reading literary fiction on her Kindle, and baking in her tiny NYC kitchen.