Mini-skirt. Hard news?

Hot off the French (online) press… Mini-skirts are making news. Huh?

So why is debate heating up over the mini in the Midi? Um, isn’t France the land of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity?

It seems the drama is actually playing out in a middle school in the suburbs of Toulouse, where administrators are taking exception to the sheer shortage of fabric in flirty feminine fashion. Hmm. Might this be a boundary-crossing issue without national borders? I recall experiencing this phenomenon here in the US of A. Dress lengths rose to the dismay of adults in authority (yes, pants drooped below undies on the young men), and dress codes were imposed which became, themselves, divisive, distracting and virtually impossible to enforce.

Kids rebelled. Parents yelled. Dress code?


Hemlines and hemlock?

So what’s up with this outcry? Is this poison pen pouting over personal panache? Or legitimate concern for overly exposed girls? What about the 10 centimeter rule that is proposed? That’s about 4″ and I must say, that’s not a particularly mini or micro-mini hemline. Is it crazy to specify that 4″ above the knee is acceptable, but anything else means a coup de fil to a parent or a kid being sent home?

And 10 centimeters above the knee for a girl of five feet is a very different matter than the girl who is 5’8″ in height. That hardly seems fair. As for the teachers who are stating that students wear attire that is convenable (appropriate), isn’t that as much as we can do?

  • Does anyone have the right to tell you what to wear?
  • Do you have the right to tell your kids what to wear?
  • Do dress codes (for teens) ever work?
  • What wouldn’t you wear?

Youth and Fashion

Not only does this polemic remind me of the original debate over the mini (in the mid-sixties), but apparently reports in French media indicate that in some instances, appropriate dress has been an issue at the university level as well.

Isn’t it natural for the young to rebel through their fashion choices (whether we adults give them a thumbs up or not)? Aren’t they bound to express themselves in hip hop style, hippie style, grunge, emo, or whatever dress garners attention or illustrates individuality? And while Mary Quant is considered the mother of the mini and mod style, the British designer was actually inspired by an idea from French design house Courrges, in 1964.

Wouldn’t that make the French the originators of the modern mini-skirt?

The clothes make the man (or woman)

So is the mini a French faux-pas, or is this report one more indicator that parents anywhere have the same issues with teens? One can debate what is appropriate fashion for a given venue, but these aren’t adults, which is the point.

Does that call for being stricter? Or rolling our eyes and knowing that this behavior is a phase?

We all know that first impressions (and second, and so on) count. And while the clothes may not entirely make the man – or the woman – choices in attire in adolescence are part and parcel of growing up. And Toulouse is located in the South of France. Surely in warm territory, a short skirt is doubly cool?

My view? Let kids be kids. And I am certainly a fan of the mini-jupe, if you’ve got the legs and confidence to carry it off.

© D A Wolf