Micro mini skirts have made a resurgence, as evidenced across social media feeds, in large part due to Miu Miu, which featured the itty bitty skirt and a similarly small top in its runway show in Paris back in October. But as the spring trend has gained popularity off the catwalk and been seen on models, celebrities and influencers alike, plus-size consumers are left wondering where they fit in. The short answer is that they don’t.
While the trend is reminiscent of early 2000’s fashion, Gianluca Russo, co-founder of the Power of Plus, tells Yahoo Life that he isn’t surprised it has made a comeback amongst the other Y2K styles seeing popularity again. The issue with micro mini skirts, however, is the idealization of thin body types that it’s returned with.
“You would hope it would come back in a new inventive way and I think the way it came back was so reminiscent of the way it started, and that’s kind of on this exclusionary model,” Russo says, pointing to the straight size women sporting the look. “It’s just disappointing to see that, despite the fact that so much work has been done in the size inclusive space in the past 20 plus years, as these trends are being brought back they’re not being done so in a way that is more inclusive and more welcoming of all. They’re kind of revisiting those same antiquated ideas of who can wear what.”
The exclusionary nature of the clothing item is two-part, according to Russo, as it relates to the actual size of the garment and how it would or wouldn’t function on larger bodies. It also triggers memories of a time when fashion was less inclusive and more unhealthy overall.
“Part of it is the fact that this set is created with this very thin body in mind. It’s not created for plus and so that in and of itself is frustrating,” he explains. “A lot of it too feels very glorifying of a body type that we’ve been working against actively for many years now. The body type is very reminiscent of the early 2000s, when we had all these big conversations around anorexia and fashion and bulimia and how these models were treated back in the day, which is not great. And for a lot of people it feels kind of triggering.”
While the build of many of the people wearing the micro mini skirt may be natural, it’s the standard that it puts in place that has the potential to trigger consumers. As Tyler McCall, editor-in-chief of Fashionista.com, put it while analyzing the trend on social media“everything reminds me of the thin-at-any-cost mentality of the aughts.”
McCall continued, “I find it deeply suspect, not to mention troubling, that in returning to this aesthetic, there’s only one body type represented in it, and that is one of extreme thinness. That’s strong messaging and I’m against it.”
The messaging is then reinforced by the fact that no iteration of the skirt has been made accessible to plus-size women. TikTok creator Jessica Blair did her part to highlight the exclusivity of the garment by trying the micro mini skirt look on herself. The immediate issue she found was that it doesn’t come in “size fat.”
“Regardless of how I feel about my body, some trends are so obviously only meant for thin people,” Blair tells Yahoo Life. “For my own video, I had to hem a skirt I already owned with safety pins because I knew I wouldn’t be able to find a micro mini in my size anywhere.”
She continues, “Of course it’s not the skirt’s fault alone, but the micro mini perfectly coincides with the fatphobia of the fashion industry to showcase the idea that only thin people with flat or smaller tummies are worthy enough to show off their stomachs. Especially when these skirts, again, don’t even come in plus sizes.”
An image of model Paloma Elsesser wearing a Miu Miu micro mini skirt on the cover of ID magazine seemingly opposes this stance, as it shows a plus-size woman in the very piece that seems to challenge size inclusivity. Russo explains, however, that the image and the conversation around it points to the issue of confusing representation and availability.
“We haven’t talked enough about availability and actually making these clothes in these sizes. We have said we want to see these images because we’ve had so many studies and statistics and information on the impact that these images have on us on a personal level. So we focused on that,” he explains. “So brands have figured out that they can appease a large portion of the most community, really, by solely showing us representation, which is why they will make custom for someone like Paloma to wear on the cover of a magazine, but not offer it . Because they know that that’s just enough to where it’s not too much on them but it’s just enough to make a little noise in the inclusivity space. I don’t think it does much anymore.”
And although the micro trend may feel like it represents the fashion industry taking a few steps back from the progress that’s been made, Russo says it’s not a “threat” but instead a “reminder” of what work still needs to be done.
“It’s still operating on the same model, which is to let trends be dictated by people who are thin and then let it trickle down until it reaches size inclusivity rather than letting a plus-size body like Paloma or Precious [Lee] and Ashley [Graham] and all of them help to lead the trends,” Russo says. “I don’t think it’s necessarily working against us because I think it’s just a reality check in a lot of ways of where we’re at. It’s an unfortunate reality.”
Blair hopes that any uproar surrounding the trend can shed light on the true meaning of inclusivity in fashion.
“I genuinely do hope the creators of these designs realize that exclusivity doesn’t equal fashion,” she says. “Fashion does not have to be inherently exclusive and exclusivity does not inherently make pieces or micro trends cool.”
She adds: “Just because people have a fat stomach or are bigger than a size 12, doesn’t mean they can’t rock a low rise mini skirt.”
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