In the 1970s, women had several choices when it came to the length of their skirts or dresses. In the early 70s, the mini skirt was still quite popular - left over from the 60s and still a hit with the younger set.
But the more mature woman who might not have wanted to show off her less-than-perfect legs was looking for something a little different. Enter the midi skirt.
Technically, the midi skirt had been around for quite some time. In the years before the 60s, the hem of women’s skirts fell to the mid-calf, the same length of the new midi skirt or dress, which would start appearing on runways at the beginning of the decade.
As a matter of fact, Women’s Wear Daily declared that 1970 would be the “year of the midi.” When high-end department store Bonwit Teller declared that it would purchase a large amount of midi-length clothing for its 1970 fall season, people began to pay attention to the new trend.
At the same time, many women decided that they would rebel against the new style and when the New York Daily News did a poll on skirt lengths that same year, 83 percent of women surveyed said they’d continue to wear mini skirts in defiance of the new trend.
Nonetheless, there were plenty of others who did indeed embrace the midi skirt, feeling it was a more flattering length. Midi skirts and dresses appeared everywhere on women of all ages.
Appropriately, they began to be considered more proper for the business woman than the mini skirt and they became the standard length for the skirt portion of a business suit.
Teens and young women wore gauzy midi length skirts as casual attire, a pretty, comfortable look that became quite popular and was appropriate for any number of occasions.
When the midi skirt became popular, designers had to come up with a coat that would look good when worn over that particular length. Hence, midi coats appeared.
Just like the dresses, these coats reached mid thigh and were long enough to cover the skirt or dress underneath.
But despite the support from some women, the midi was essentially a flop. Many say it was because the midi was simply boring. Its typical shape was an a-line style generally worn at the waist or just below.
Many were made of the polyester double-knit fabrics that were so popular in 1970 and were fashioned in plaids or other prints, which were not very flattering.
The length stopped appearing on the runways just a year or so after being introduced, returning in the 1990s with a little more flair. The length is still popular today.