It is hardly the rage it is in London, or the prevailing mode as in Milan. But the priority is about the same as in Paris. With many young women in Washington, the mini is back.
It was true in Georgetown this weekend. Some high-school and college-age girls were sporting the mini. Still, they were in the minority, with variations on prairie and preppie far more popular.
Even those wearing the mini said it is not what they always wear, but that they like the comfort and ease, the fun of wearing something they haven't worn before, and the response they get.
Nancy Emanuelson and Debby Tucker, both 16, just started wearing minis to school as well as on weekends. "You have to be a little careful," said Emanuelson, who was wearing a black flounced Rah-Rah skirt and striped sweater.
The short Rah-Rah skirts, particularly those by Norma Kamali, are favorites at a number of clubs like Whispers, where college kids go to dance. Vickie Fitzgerald, 18, occasionally wears a mini to discos, she said, but likes the short skirt as much for work at Garfinckel's. She's been told not to hike up the mini too short on the job. For now, she wears tights, but expects that once she has a tan she'll go barelegged.
Sahara Woodell, 18, manager of a Swensen's Ice Cream Factory, where she wears a uniform, said she could never wear a mini when she was a student at Springfield High School. "I was the only one wearing them and I'd get hassled by the teachers and the boys." Saturday she was wearing a lace-trimmed cotton miniskirt with a jean jacket and combat boots. Occasionally she's in jeans, but minis are clearly her preference.
"You can wear anything you want at Wellesley College ," said Dana Seymour, 20, who sticks to designer minis, like the Jag jean miniskirt she was wearing while shopping in Georgetown or the Norma Kamali sweat-shirt variety.
Sasha Cutter, 13, a student at Georgetown Day School and the Washington School of the Ballet, was wearing a Kamali Rah-Rah skirt in sweat-shirt fabric with a Polo sweater over her leotard. She's just as happy in a long Lauren prairie skirt, she said, or jeans.
Having the miniskirt as an option is one of the big contrasts with the late 1960s, when minis were de rigueur and lots of grown women as well as kids followed the fashion and shortened their hems several inches above the knee. In its original incarnation, the mini was different in cut, often narrow and structured with stiff seams a la Andre' Courre ges. Short white "go-go" boots or natural-colored leg hose and low-heeled shoes were the thing to wear with minis.
Kenzo from Paris and Kamali from New York have popularized the flounced-skirt variety, while the tight, black leather skirt is a spinoff from Yves Saint Laurent, and the long, low-belted variety is a successor to the shift and the tunic, but worn without skirt or trousers.
Farah Naim, 18, a student at Georgetown University's School of Languages and Linguistics, said she remembers being carried to protest marches in Chicago by her mother who was wearing a miniskirt. Saturday she was wearing a black leather zip-front miniskirt (from Commander Salamander), dark hose and salmon-pink satin bridesmaid's pumps from a thrift shop. She likes the reaction she gets when she wears a miniskirt, particularly in black leather: "I turned a few heads this morning in the college cafeteria."