How to Wear a Vintage Midi Skirt for 2011

July 5th, 2011
midi skirt runway

midi skirt protest button 1970

Button Photo Credit: Ruby Lane

Hello and happy Tuesday everyone!!!  [and FIFTH of July!]

Although it’s Tuesday, thanks to yesterday’s 4th of July day-off-from-work-holiday, it’s really a MONDAY … at least in our minds! But here on Sammy Davis Vintage, it’s also Monday because it’s time for another Modern Vintage Monday Style post!

Last week I showed you some ideas to style vintage palazzo pants, which were first popular in the ’30s and had a serious revival in the ’90s. Today I’m showing you how to wear a midi-length skirt, which falls anywhere along the leg from calf to ankle.

The “midi” skirt is most commonly associated with styles from the ’40s, when women wore midi-length skirts with wide shoulder blazers designed with masculine touches.

But what most women don’t know — including me, until researching for this blog post — is that 1970 was declared “Year of the Midi” by Women’s Wear Daily magazine, pushing clothing manufacturers to shift production emphasis from the ’60s mini length to this new ’70s midi skirt length, instead.

See that button above? Well, let’s just say women weren’t MAD about the midi … they were mad AT it!

The mini skirt revolution of the ’60s allowed women to feel feminine AND free. The midi? They viewed it as society’s attempt to popularize conservatism and in essence, “bring women back” to where they belong as fashionably-constrained beings. [thanks to The Vintage Ramble for this enlightenment!]

Fast forward to 2011: The midi is back in style … and there are no “buttons” protesting its popularity. But, when it comes to styling the midi you do need a few of your own unique “buttons” to push to make the look work for you.

Keep reading after the jump for more vintage fashion insight on the midi skirt and how I styled my own version from the ’90s — plus, the new “fish tail” skirt trend that I predict you’ll be seeing in mainstream stores VERY SOON!

I had a ton of fun styling this midi skirt with some seriously sexy touches! Just saying the word “midi” makes me excited for the style potential this skirts present … because you’re covering more on the bottom, I believe you have more style allowance to style skin exposure on top.

I hope you all had wonderful 4th of July weekends! July is going to be a fantastic month for all of us … especially with all the potential to incorporate vintage fashion into your summer wardrobes, like the 12 picks in my Shop Finds page that are beach-babe ready! Check it out here.

I’m also stoked for summer because I’m jumping feet first [literally!] into training for the NYC marathon on November 6th. To all my vintage lovers / runner enthusiasts out there, I’ll be updating on my progress periodically, as well as musing for my future “vintage-inspired” athletic line of sportswear. Get pumped! [and GO pump! LOL]

Vintage love to you all — please say hi on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr and email!

xx, SD



sammy davis vintage outfit

THE LOOK: Marvelous Midi Skirt [not to be confused with marvelous maxi dress!]

THE INSPIRATION: 1940s fashions … and with further research, its “revival” [despite the revolt!] in the ’70s


midi skirt runway


midi skirt 40s to 70s



midi skirt protest button 1970




fish tail skirts

Left, Nasty Gal Fish Tail skirt, $36 on

Right, my own “fish tail” invention: I took a vintage nightie/slip and cut a fishtail. Simple scissors work style wonders!

You may not be seeing them in H&M and Forever 21 stores yet … but I predict that this fall, you’ll be seeing the “fish tail” skirt in full swing. Er, swim. Er … you get what I mean ;-)


history of midi skirt



sammy davis vintage outfit

A lace slip that I’m wearing under the midi skirt and above as a very sensual, skin-baring top. The slip itself is midi length, so you don’t see it show from below the skirt.

sammy davis vintage hairbow

’80s hair bow with a bit of  porcupine-esque “fur” centered in between the ruffles. This hair bow looks like a rose with a creature in it, if you imagine it as so!

sammy davis vintage bag

A skinny fabric belt with gold buckle keeps the midi skirt from falling too low and exposing the slip beneath.

This woven “ball” bag is EPIC. Imagine your fist doubled — that’s its size. Perfect for the bare minimum accessories, and to truly help a girl prioritize her purse!

I found it while shopping the vintage wardrobe of a woman living on Long Island who needed some Sammy Davis Vintage assistance cleaning out her closet.


sammy davis vintage outfit

RE-CREATE THE LOOK: In this shot, I’ve added a vintage Lee jacket that’s children size from Market Publique. Look for vintage jean jackets in a size too small for that modern fitted look — in the era they were made, it was more popular to wear them loose and baggy, so buying a children’s size or a size smaller than what the tag denotes guarantees a better fit for 2011.

The pieces you need to re-create the look is a midi length skirt and a lace slip with a bustier-esque top. Look in the lingerie section of your local thrift store for the slip … trust me, they are a dime a dozen! And if you prefer, I recommend buying a few extra and seeing what scissor-snip-style-magic you can cut into them. Try the fish tail look by cutting a literal “rectangle” into the bottom of the slip.

Add your preferred accessories, jacket and shoes. I opted for the jean jacket in a light, stonewash denim shade because it coordinates well with the top of my slip. My necklace is a piece of costume jewelry from my Grandmother’s collection. And not shown are my shoes, which are wooden wedges by Nine West thrifted from my many adventures shopping at Goodwill.

WHERE TO WEAR: The outfit I’ve styled is the perfect look for casual date night. The lace is, dare I say it, both darling AND sexy. And I love that a denim jacket can just transform any look into understated cool, like a Marlboro Man ad or those vintage Calvin Klein ads with Kate Moss & Markie Mark.

Then there is always the “midi length” pencil skirt, which is fitted to your legs and gives your booty that “wiggle effect.” I’d style the midi length pencil skirt with a tucked in shell, heels and a bolero style jacket or light cotton sweater.

PLUS: How to Wear a Modern Midi Skirt by My Thrifty Chic! 

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Facebook Comments


  1. Marie says:

    Me likey fishtail skirt! Thanks for the recommendation :)


  2. Yikes – that’s a strongly-worded button! I love the midi, picked up two today at Goodwill. I like them best when they hit just at where the calf begins to flare out – any lower and it looks a little dowdy on me.

  3. Lwee says:

    Awesome look! I have a few vintage midi skirts, now I know how to rock them! ^^

  4. you look like a holiday!

  5. Lauren says:

    I adore your blog!!! I have my own online vintage store and have been obsessed with vintage my entire life, so it’s amazing to see someone so successful and knowledgeable. Thank you!!

    xo. Lauren at Gypsy Gamine Vintage

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