My first encounter with the power of the mini skirt was when a science teacher at school forbade me to sit any of his subjects at O Level. OK, I was 14 and a bit of a jerk (I once handed him an empty piece of paper entitled "Scotch mist" for a homework assignment), but ban me from physics, chemistry AND biology? I wanted to study textiles at the Glasgow School of Art, so needed a science subject to apply. Upon seeing my tear-stained cheeks, my mum did what any mother would do – she stomped straight to school to have a word.
Faced with my mother marching into that science lab, wearing a red mini skirt, my poor science teacher didn’t stand a chance. My mum wore mini skirts throughout my teenage years, which I didn’t find embarrassing – quite the opposite in fact; I was proud of her. My first mini was a vintage thing from the 60s that sat high enough on the thigh to upset the neighbours. Aged 15, it was the beginning a very long relationship with the short skirt.
For many years, mini skirts were the most comfortable thing in my wardrobe. They fit my body shape and were the perfect yin to my baggy-jumper yang. With a wine-paunch tum, chunky upper arms and DD-cup boobs, a mini skirt balanced out my top-heaviness. And that’s how I dressed for two decades. Job done. Up until the age of 36, my best nights out were those involving a mini skirt, thick black tights and ankle boots. Then, BAM! – I fell pregnant, gained 6st, left my job, lost my mojo and took up wearing maternity jeans on a permanent basis. When my youngest was around 18 months, I opened my wardrobe and my collection of mini skirts seemed as small as a set of men’s hankies. "Sigh," I thought, "my mini-skirt days are over…"
I wore ‘The Skirt’, as it’s known in our household, to work and then out that same evening, at which point I drank loads of wine, got home at 1.30am and woke up to an Instagram feed full of pictures I don’t remember taking
If, like me, you live and die by the mantra "you are what you wear", and what you’re wearing happens to be an old pyjama top caked in snot and poo, please know one day it will soon pass and you’ll feel like you again. For me, that was three weeks ago, when my 42-year-old ass wandered into Zara during the January sales and thought, "Hell, yeah, I could rock that black PVC mini skirt.” Possibly hormonal, possibly because it was 12 quid, who cares? I bought it, I wore it, I rocked it.
I wore "The Skirt", as it’s known in our household, to work and then out that same evening, at which point I drank loads of wine, got home at 1.30am and woke up to an Instagram feed full of pictures I don’t remember taking. I blame the skirt. So does my boyfriend. I wear my new wipe-clean mini with thick black tights and block heels for added man-repeller factor and something “innocent”-looking on top, like a white blouse to balance out the sexiness (not that I’m saying I’m sexy – I’m not; I genuinely don’t care, but that’s a whole other column). I also think minis, PVC or otherwise, look great with round-neck jumpers or something very plain on top, like a roll neck.
I think normal service is now resumed. I think I’m 100 per cent back in the room after a whirlwind six years of rabid hormones and baby blues. So, regardless of what society may think of women over the age of 40 wearing mini skirts, I plan to channel my mum in my fourth decade – she would have been around my age now, when she stormed the science lab in her red mini. I got an A in biology, by the way. Just shows what you can do when you’re determined enough. Thanks, Mum; thanks, red mini skirt.