Let’s do a little experiment, shall we? Place a piece of paper over the head of the woman pictured above and just look at the rest of her.
Fabulous, isn’t she? She looks slightly edgy, well put together and ready for anything — wolf whistles, even.
Remove the piece of paper. Has your verdict changed? Are you thinking that, given the model is 64, she should be in a droopy tweed skirt, flats and dreary M&S cardigan, hoping to remain invisible? That by wearing a mini, she is mutton dressed as foetus, and who on earth does she think she is? Well, I think she looks fantastic.
There is still much debate about whether Mary Quant invented the mini in 1964; the French believe André Courrèges got there first. Barbara Hulanicki, who founded the iconic Biba store in 1964, once told me: ‘The crucial difference is that, back then, we didn’t expect to stay young for ever. When you got married, there was no longer any pressure to look young.’
Jumper, £159, winserlondon. com; skirt, £81.75, karenmillen. com; shoes, £69, hobbs.com; earrings (worn throughout) £95, merola.co.uk
Jumper, £59.95, massimo dutti.com; leather skirt, £195, and check scarf, £85, reiss. com; shoes, £215, russelland bromley. co.uk
Polo-neck, £79, tedbaker.com; dress, £22.40, laredoute. co.uk; boots, £270, reiss.com
Jumper, £109, whistles.com; scarf, £10.20, asos.com; skirt, £27.99, zara.com; boots, £49.99, hm.com
Women were meant to settle down and become mums, which inevitably meant stopping having fun, and covering their knees.
The original mini died in 1968, after four short (literally) years, killed by the Pill (women grew hips) and feminism (women grew brains).
And now? We know full well we can wear what we choose.
Today, we 50 and 60somethings are a different species to our mums’ generation. We’ve had great nutrition, gyms, Pilates and careers. We’ve lived and laughed. No way in hell are we going to stop now. Just look at the preternaturally ageless Amanda Holden, 50, who braved a mini in January.
Jumper dress, £89, whistles. com; shoes, £135, ghbasseu. com; necklace, £110, jcrew. com; bangle, £12, oliver bonas.com
Cape, £149, winser london.com; skirt, £29.50, marksand spencer.com; boots, £345, russelland bromley.co.uk
Blazer, £89.99, zara. com; v-neck jumper, £14.99, hm.com; poloneck, £90, jigsawonline. com; skirt, £22, next.co.uk; shoes, £85, stories .com
The catwalks for spring/summer have unleashed a mini revival — notably Miu Miu, Chanel and Giambattista Valli, which all featured minis, from the preppy to tweed and even bright white. This green pleated version by Karen Millen (far left), and the brown pleated one from Zara (middle) are my favourites. And if you hate your knees, as I do, the Russell & Bromley boots (second from right) are just the ticket.
There is a trick to getting this look right. I never thought I would type this, as I always sport bare legs (even in snow). But with a mini, wear tights — and only black will do; you are not a royal, so avoid anything American Tan or shimmery. And 20-denier plus: you’ll feel more ‘dressed’.
Avoid super-high heels as you’ll come across a bit town-centre-on-a-Friday-night — and, yes, I’d say that to a woman aged 20, too. Have the hem hit the narrowest part of your thigh and, as in these photos, layer volume and coverage elsewhere: a cape, a roll-neck, mannish tailoring.
The best accessory of all, of course, is confidence. Remember, leggings and skinny jeans can be far less forgiving. So if you like your legs, just go for it!