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Thanks to brands like Miaou and Miu Miu, the micro mini skirt is one of the defining trends of 2022. Ever since the Y2K trend appeared on the spring 2022 runways though, the main question has been: “How do you wear a skirt so short off the runway?” As a conservative dresser who has asked this herself on several occasions, I set out to find out.
I knew it wouldn’t be an easy feat. (Even Refinery29’s fashion director seemed shocked when I pitched the story a few weeks ago.) I’ve always preferred wide-leg pants, blazers, and maxi dresses to crop tops, shorts, and mini skirts. Throughout college, I’d often find myself arguing with my mum over my outfit before a night out. It went something like this: “You’re young, wear a short skirt to the club,” she would say, to which I’d respond with a serious face asking her to respect my choice to wear a button-up blouse that (looking back) was more suited for a corporate meeting than a night out.
This wasn’t always the case, though. Back in the early 2000s, when I was a cheerleader in school, mini skirts were my thing. I adored wearing the flouncy style with crop tops to dance in my school’s volleyball tournaments, and wore the skort counterparts to practice our choreography and stunts every day after class. But after quitting cheerleading at the age of 12, the mini skirt fell out of my everyday routine, and eventually out of my wardrobe. But if there was a moment to time travel to my cheerleading days, 2022 seems like the perfect time.
Fittingly, I got to test the Miaou micro mini skirt for my cousin’s week-long wedding festivities in Las Vegas in March. I decided to wear it to her hen do, which was more of a tame dinner than a crazy night out, but still merited the obligatory “ready to party” outfit. When I told my cousin that I’d planned to sport a mini skirt, she didn’t take me seriously. “Oh, you were not kidding,” she said a few hours later when I walked up to her outside the hotel.
For the rest of the night, I wished it had been a joke. Even though I wore sheer tights underneath, I kept tugging my skirt down, trying to cover my derriere, aware of the looks I got from the men at the casino. Later, when we met up with the rest of the family, I was met with a different set of looks. “Did you ask your boyfriend permission to wear that?” my aunt asked.
At this point, I realised that my initial reservations over the micro mini skirt were not unfounded. Back in October, when the now-viral Miu Miu set debuted, I was sceptical of just how much we had progressed in our society to allow for this trend to come back in a healthier, freer way. The body standards set by the early 2000s diet culture and the popularity of the ultra-thin celebrities largely responsible for the trend’s fame hadn’t changed much. Neither did the politics attached to a woman wearing a short skirt without being questioned or, worse, shamed for it. “I don’t need anyone’s permission to wear whatever I want,” I responded to my aunt’s question. Still, later that night, I packed the Miaou skirt back into my suitcase feeling conflicted.
Back home, I felt the need to go back to a time when I loved wearing the mini skirt to try understand what had appealed so much to me about it. I unearthed some of my cheerleading tapes from the early 2000s. There I was: sporting pigtails, carrying pom-poms, and dancing confidently without a care in the world. While arbitrary fashion rules tell us to let go of our inner children — baby tees, twee silhouettes, tutu skirts — to step into adulthood, I refuse to think that I had fully let go of the fashion that used to make me feel happy. It was enough for me to give the trend a second try.
This time, I opted for a skirt that mimicked my cheerleading uniform: a white pleated mini skirt from ASOS. Although I didn’t wear any tights underneath, I chose to go more modest on the top with a striped long-sleeve shirt and a black blazer. It was the perfect mash-up of my personality — an adult with a conservative aesthetic and an inner child willing to have fun with fashion. I strutted around Manhattan confidently, listening to Rosalía’s Motomami album, one that celebrates the power of contradiction and transformation — embracing the juxtaposing nature of my outfit.
The micro mini skirt might not be my look ever again (who knows?). But, as I attempted to squeeze it into my closet, I discovered that there is a way to welcome back this trend, even if you didn’t agree with it the first time around and still have conflicted feelings about it. And that's by doing it your way.